Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS: http://ethos.bl.uk/OrderDetails.do?uin=uk.bl.ethos.730506
Title: The evolutionary ecology of animal information use and social dominance
Author: Lee, Alexander
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2015
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Abstract:
Organisms are frequently faced with uncertainty regarding how best to exploit vital resources, and may benefit from collecting information about their distribution through space and time. However, the ways in which competition over resources might systematically facilitate or constrain an individual's ability to use information has been largely overlooked. In this thesis, I develop a conceptual framework for considering how the distribution of limited resources might underpin interdependencies between competition and information use. I focus on the evolutionary ecology of relationships between social dominance and social information use. I begin with an observational study of wild chacma baboons (Papio ursinus) suggesting that, when resources can be monopolised, individuals with low competitive ability are limited in their ability to use social information. Building on these findings, I then develop a general model exploring selection on social information use in a competitive context across three axes of 'resource ecology' (scarcity, depletion rate, monopolisability). This study makes predictions regarding the resource conditions under which competitive ability might constrain social information use, and the potential importance of social information use in the evolution of social dominance. I go on to test these predictions in chacma baboons using a field experiment. This experiment also explores whether the predictability of resource distribution might facilitate the decoupling of social information use from the competitive context in which it was collected. Taken together, these findings provide general insights into the combinations of ecological conditions and behavioural mechanisms that should underpin the benefits of social dominance. I end by building a simple population matrix model to study social dominance using an eco-evolutionary approach, in which feedback loops between ecological and evolutionary processes are considered. By modelling relationships between dominance rank and survival, reproduction, inheritance, and development, I am able to derive estimates of long-term fitness associated with dominance. Using these estimates, I generate predictions regarding how dominance hierarchies should impact the dynamics of group stability, viability, and fission.
Supervisor: Cowlishaw, Guy ; Rowcliffe, Marcus ; Coulson, Tim Sponsor: Natural Environment Research Council
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID: uk.bl.ethos.730506  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Social evolution ; Animal behaviour ; Evolution (Biology) ; Ecology ; information use ; individual differences ; competition ; social behaviour ; exploitation ; evolutionary demography ; inequality ; game theory ; evolutionary ecology ; social dominance ; social evolution
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