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Title: Communication, cooperation and conflict in banded mongooses
Author: Bell, M. B. V.
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2007
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The peculiarities of the banded mongoose social system provide an opportunity to investigate questions that are fundamental to understanding the evolution of relationships between individuals in a broader social and ecological context. I start by investigating the communication between dependent pups and their carers (Chapters 3 and 4), asking three questions: (a) what information does pup begging provide about the internal state of pups; (b) how does begging influence the behaviour of carers; and (c) do pups change they way they beg based on differences in the way carers respond? I show that the response of individual cares to begging is influenced by the costs and benefits of investing in pups, and I show that pups adjust their begging in relation to the responsiveness of carers. Having determined how individual variation in pups and carers influence the way they interact with each other, I then investigate how the broader social environment influences the relationship (Chapter 5). I show that pups derive direct benefits from begging by their companions. Finally, I investigate how the social structure of banded mongooses influences the intensity of intrasexual competition for reproductive opportunity (Chapter 6), and I ask whether this influences the allocation of resources to male and female pups. I show that reproductive conflict is more intense among females, and that juvenile condition has a stronger effect on female reproductive success. Ultimately, large scale details of the social structure and life history of banded mongooses feed back to influence the fine scale interactions between pups and carers.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available