Colby Tanner

Research interests | Curriculum Vitae | Publications

Research interests

I am interested in how a collection of individual behaviors plays a part in group dynamics. Sometimes the group behaves like the sum of many smaller parts (i.e., individuals). But other times, groups display more complex dynamics, not predicted by summing across individuals. These interactions are of particular interest to me. Whether it be in colonies of ants fighting to defend localized resources from interspecific competitors, crabs shoving their way into well defined groups, or queenless ants (my new favorite) sorting within- and among-colony conflicts, my main objective is to determine how individuals make decisions, and how these decisions affect the group. Of course, effects on the group feed back to affect individuals, and the process starts again. Such complexity is the perfect place for me to combine field studies, lab experiments, computer simulations (including social network analysis), more complicated statistics like mixed-effects models, and a bit of proper modeling now and then.


Curriculum Vitae

Research Fellow, Université de Lausanne, Department of Ecology and Evolution. INSPIRE: IRCSET-Marie Curie International Mobility Fellow.

Postdoctoral Fellow, Trinity College Dublin, Department of Zoology. Irish Research Council for Science, Engineering and Technology

Ph.D. Biology, University of Utah, 12/2008. Advisor: Frederick R. Adler.

M.S. Biology, DePaul University, 11/2001. Advisor: Donn K. Branstrator.

B.A. Biology, The University of Montana, 5/1997.



(* denotes student author)

*McNally, L. & Tanner, C.J. Flexible strategies, forgiveness, and the evolution of generosity in one-shot encounters. Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. (Letter), In Press.

Tanner, C.J. & Jackson, A.L. 2011. A combination of social and personal contexts affects dominance hierarchy development in shore crabs (Carcinus maenas). Animal Behaviour, Published online 25 September, DOI: 10.1016/j.anbehav.2011.09.004.

*Dermody, B., Tanner, C.J. & Jackson, A.L. 2011. The evolutionary pathway to obligate scavenging in Gyps vultures. PLoS ONE 6: e24635.

Tanner, C.J. & Jackson, A.L. 2011. Social structure emerges via the interaction between local ecology and individual behavior. Journal of Animal Ecology, Published online 13 June, DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2656.2011.01879.x.

Tanner, C.J.,*Salali, G.D.& Jackson, A.L. 2011. The ghost of social environments past: dominance relationships include current interactions and experience carried over from previous groups. Biology Letters, Published online 11 May, DOI: 10.1098/rsbl.2011.0325.

O'Dwyer, L., Lamberton, F., Bokde, A.L.W., Ewers, M., Faluyi, Y.O., Tanner, C.J., Mazoyer, B., O'Neill, D., Bartley, M., Collins, D.R., Coughlan, T., Prvulovic, D. & Hampel, H. 2011. Multiple indices of diffusion identifies white matter damage in mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer's disease. PLoS ONE, 6: e21745.

O'Dwyer, L., Lamberton, F., Bokde, A.L.W., Ewers, M. Faluyi, Y.O., Tanner, C.J., Mazoyer, B., O'Neill, D., Bartley, M., Collin, R. Coughlan, T., Prvulovic, D. & Hampel, H. 2011. Using diffusion tensor imaging and mixed-effects models to investigate primary and secondary white matter degeneration in Alzheimer's disease and mild cognitive impairment. Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, 26: In Press.

Tanner, C.J., *Salali, G.D. & Jackson, A.L. 2011. Feeding and non-feeding aggression can be induced in invasive shore crabs by altering food distribution. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 65: 249-256.

*Molloy, S., Tanner, C.J., Kirwan, P., Asaolu, S.O., Smith, H.V., Nichols, R.A.B., Connelly, L. & Holland, C. 2011. Sporadic Cryptosporidium infection in Nigerian children: risk factors with species identification. Epidemiology and Infection, 139: 946-54.

Tanner, C.J. & Adler, F.R. 2009. To fight or not to fight: how context affects interspecific aggression for competing ants. Animal Behaviour, 77: 297-305. Editor’s featured article.

Tanner, C.J. 2009. Individual experience-based foraging can generate community territorial structure for competing ant species. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 63: 591-603.

Tanner, C.J. 2009. Chill Out: Cold-induced narcosis promotes aggressive behavior in the ant Formica xerophila. Insectes Sociaux, 56: 64-69.

Tanner, C.J. 2008. Aggressive group behavior in the ant Formica xerophila is coordinated by direct nestmate contact. Animal Behaviour, 76: 1335-1341.

Tanner, C.J. 2008. Resource characteristics and competition affect colony and individual foraging strategies of the wood ant Formica integroides. Ecological Entomology, 33: 127-136.

Tanner, C.J. 2006. Numerical assessment affects aggression and competitive ability: a team-fighting strategy for the ant Formica xerophila. Proceedings of the Royal Society London B, 273: 2737-2742.

Tanner, C.J. & Branstrator, D.K. 2006. Generational and dual-species exposures to invertebrate predators influence relative head size in Daphnia mendotae. Journal of Plankton Research, 28: 793-802.



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Biophore - CH-1015 Lausanne
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