Cooperative breeding systems are characterized by complex interactions between individuals, cooperative behavior and reproductive competition that may result in unequal distribution of reproduction between group members (reproductive skew). The particular reproductive strategy of an animal may depend on the ecological environment and on different aspects of an animal's life history. I am investigating how the physiological structure of a population may cause reproductive strategies to be polymorphic. I aim to predict the conditions for the coexistence of pure alloparental brood care without reproduction, reproductive parasitism, and breeding in an own territory and to analyze the effect of predation pressure on the evolutionarily stable polymorphism. Specifically, I am studying the evolutionary dynamics of breeders and reproductive parasites in populations of social African cichlids. The results of this study may help us in understanding reproductive skew and the evolution of cooperative breeders in the context of life history theory.
Last edited: 09 May 2016
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