Abstract How does the social environment influence the evolution of social behaviours? Gregarious living means that individuals have to interact with each other. Social interactions are used to cooperate, compete, or convey information. Social behaviours can vary widely within and between individuals, and also incur fitness consequences. Interestingly, social behaviours are influenced by the social partners they are expressed with, which can have a genetic component. This means that the genes of social partners can influence the evolution of social behaviours. Nevertheless few studies of the evolution of social behaviour account for these social genetic effects. This project will examine how social environment can influence the phenotypic and genetic variation in social traits. We study this in wild bird populations, which are exposed to a natural range of variation. This project combines field and lab work, and is very team-oriented. Applicants should be dedicated field workers, able to work independently in remote areas, wanting to learn or apply molecular genetic skills and have strong analytical skills.
Keywords Behavioural ecology, molecular ecology, evolutionary biology
Main advisor Julia Schroeder, MPIO Seewiesen