Symposia Sessions

Symposium 1

How social behaviour can impact individual health and fitness

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Organizer(s): Katja Rudolph (Department of Sociobiology, German Primate Center, Göttingen, Germanyand  Céline Bret (Liverpool John Moores University, UK)

Symposium abstract
Living in groups comes with benefits – such as reduction of predation risk and protection of resources against competitors – as well as costs, including within-group competition for shared resources and increased pathogen transmission. Over the last 30 years, an increasing number of publications show that both quality and quantity of social relationships have impacts on physical body condition, which in turn affects individual reproductive success and fitness in humans and animals alike. The physiological stress response constitutes an important indicator for individual health condition and can serve as a mediator between sociality and fitness. On one hand, living in groups can be a source of stress for individuals depending on dominance hierarchy and unpredictable changes in social relationships. On the other hand, the social buffering hypothesis suggests that the adverse effects of stress are reduced by strong social bonds and social support. Another important indicator for the physical condition of an animal can be the degree of parasitic infection. Exposure and susceptibility to certain parasites can considerably affect individual fitness and are often influenced by social factors. In this symposium, we aim to provide a more general framework on the central role of social behaviour on health and fitness at the individual- and group-level across several taxa. We will present studies connecting social variables (e.g. rank, group size, social interactions) with physical body condition (cortisol levels, parasite infection) and discuss the overall consequences of sociality for individual survival and reproductive success.

Katja Rudolph (German Primate Center, Germany)
Céline Bret (Liverpool John Moores University,UK)
Kelly Robinson (University of St. Andrews)
Ian Barber (University of Leicester, UK)

Symposium 2

Animal welfare and conservation breeding: synergies and challenges

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Organizer(s): María Díez-León (Animal Biosciences, University of Guelph, Canada), Kairi Kiik (Department of Zoology, University of Tartu, Estonia) and  Tiit Maran (Institute of Mathematics and Natural Sciences, Tallinn University and Tallinn Zoo)

Symposium abstract
Due to human-induced rapid environmental change (e.g. climate change, landscape fragmentation), an increasing number of endangered species require supplementation from ex-situ conservation breeding programs. However, for some species, these programs can be inefficient because of refusals to mate and poor maternal care, which can be attributed to negative welfare states experienced in captivity. In addition, when released into the wild, captive-bred individuals are less likely to survive for reasons consistent with impoverished captive rearing (e.g. poor navigation skills, inability to locate food resources). Improving welfare in captivity would thus seem desirable for conservation breeding, yet managers are faced with the challenge of optimizing captive welfare and the welfare of released animals, as individuals that adapt well to captivity are likely to suffer poor welfare if released into the wild and vice versa. This symposium aims to bridge the fields of applied ethology, animal welfare and conservation by highlighting the effects that early environments have on adult behaviour, welfare and fitness, and what are the implications for conservation breeding programmes. Potential topics for the symposium include:
• Mate choice, animal welfare and fitness
• Maternal behaviour and offspring temperament and health
• Development of cognitive and social skills
• Species differences in stress reactivity and adaptation to captivity

Meghan Martin (Institute for Conservation Research, San Diego Zoo Global & PDXWildlife)
Elsbeth McPhee (University of Wisconsin Oshkosh)
Victoria Braithwaite (Department of Biology, Penn State University, USA)
Lisa Collins (School of Life Sciences, University of Lincoln, UK)

Symposium 3

Art as a Human Behaviour: Challenges and Prospects Forty Years On

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Organizer(s): Larissa Mendoza Straffon (Leiden University Centre for the Arts in Society, Netherlands) and  Alejandra Wah (Arts, Culture and Media Studies, Faculty of Arts, University of Groningen, Netherlands)

Symposium abstract
In 1980, Ellen Dissanayake published “Art as a Human Behavior: Toward an Ethological View of Art”. This seminal paper put forward the, by then, novel hypothesis that art may be understood and studied as a human evolved behaviour: adaptive, functional, unique to our species, and deeply rooted in our phylogeny. Nearly forty years since its publication, ethological and evolutionary approaches to art and culture have become commonplace, and nowadays constitute a thriving multidisciplinary field of research. However, some commentators from the humanities still argue that studying the arts as behaviours means reducing them to mere biological mechanisms, whereas critics from biology often argue that the arts are purely cultural phenomena that cannot be explained in evolutionary terms. These issues need to be clarified and addressed, and it seems to us that the time is ripe to do so in light of recent advances in our knowledge about the origins, neurology, and development of the arts.
The symposium aims at exploring relevant themes related to the evolution of artistic behaviour. Guest speaker Ellen Dissanayake will look back at the main developments in the field and give an account of her ‘artification hypothesis’. Alejandra Wah will present a new cognitive explanation of the uniqueness of human artistic experience. Larissa Mendoza Straffon will talk about the relationship between art and emotion. Piotr Podliniak will address singing as an adaptive behavior of Homo sapiens.
In sum, this symposium will reflect on four decades of work on art as behaviour; it will analyse the current state of the field, examine its most pressing challenges, and assess its prospects for the future.
We invite participation from biologists, art scholars, archaeologists, psychologists, neuroscientists, philosophers, and anthropologists, who follow Dissanayake in putting the arts in their rightful place as part of the spectrum of human behaviours.

Ellen Dissnayake (School of Music, University of Washington, USA)
Alejandra Wah (Arts, Culture and Media Studies, Faculty of Arts, University of Groningen, Netherlands)
Larissa Mendoza Straffon (Leiden University Centre for the Arts in Society, Leiden University, Netherlands)
Piotr Podlipniak (Department of Musicology, Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan)

Symposium 4

Integrating Male Mate Choice, Female Competition and Female Ornaments

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Organizer(s): Ingo Schlupp (Department of Biology, University of Oklahoma, USA)

Symposium abstract
Male Mate Choice and Female Competition may be one of the most overlooked important and interesting phenomena in modern sexual selection theory. The symposium will shed light on the evolution and ecology of male mate choice, evaluate the role of female aggression, and reflect on female ornaments. Many interesting novel questions arise from including male mate choice, and female – female aggression into the traditional framework of Sexual Selection Theory.

Courtney Fitzpatrick (Duke University, USA.)
Katja Heubel (University of Cologne, Germany)
Trond Amundsen (Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Norway)
Ingo Schlupp (University of Oklahoma, USA)

Symposium 5

Learning to avoid: What do the studies on aposematism and mimicry tell us about cognition of predators?

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Organizer(s): Alice Exnerova (Department of Zoology, Charles University, Faculty of Science, Czech Republicand  Johanna Mappes (University of Jyvaskyla, Finlan)

Symposium abstract
The studies of aposematism and mimicry belong to traditional fields of behavioural ecology and evolutionary biology. In recent years a considerable amount of studies have been focused on interaction between prey antipredatory strategies and cognitive mechanisms of predators revealing an importance of predator psychology and cognition for an evolution and function of antipredatory defences and warning signals. We believe that the studies of cognitive mechanisms involved in coping with diversity of prey antipredatory strategies offer an excellent framework for asking general questions on comparative cognition of predators both on the interspecific and intraspecific levels. The topics of symposium talks are selected to encompass various cognitive mechanisms including perception, avoidance and discrimination learning, memory, generalisation and observational learning. They cover the results of both field and laboratory experiments with real insect prey as well as with precisely manipulated stimuli of artificial prey.

Rose Thorogood (University of Cambridge, UK)
Hannah Rowland (University of Cambridge, UK)
John Skelhorn (Newcastle University, UK)
Ossi Nokelainen (University of Jyvaskyla, Finland)

Symposium 6

Comparative cognition across avian taxa

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Organizer(s): Anders Brodin (Department of Biology, Lund University, Swedenand  Mathias Osvath (Department of Philosophy, Lund University)

Symposium abstract

Symposium abstract
The study of the evolution of cognition has traditionally revolved around the mammalian lineage, but in recent years increasing interest has been devoted to birds. In this symposium we will compare cognitive abilities in avian taxa that have branched at different times in the avian phylogenetic tree. We believe that such a comparison may provide general insights into the evolution of cognitive abilities. In this symposium we will present cognitive profiles of birds from taxa considered to be both primitive and advanced: corvids, parrots, tits, domesticated jungle fowls and ratites. So far, corvids and parrots have received a lot of attention due to their cognitive sophistication, while other birds have not yet been as intensively studied. Some parids (titmice), which are passerines just as corvids, are known for their flexible behaviour and good learning ability. Jungle fowls are a basal form of neognaths, and as precocials they show an impressive cognitive repertoire already from hatching. Ratites (ostriches and relatives) belong to the infraorder palaeognaths which to date has never been studied cognitively, but data is currently building. The palaeognaths arose tens of million years before the neognaths, deep into the Cretaceous. Such a phylogenetic approach make a cognitive overview of each group informative for understanding trends in avian cognitive evolution. It is of particular interest to correlate cognitive ability with the recent findings on neuronal density in the bird pallium. Passerines and parrots have twice as high neuronal density as galliformes and ratites, but the latter still have a density comparable to primates.

Auguste von Bayern (Max Planck Institute for Ornithology, Germany)
Giorgio Vallortigara (University of Trento, Italy)
Utku Urhan (Lund University, Sweden)
Ivo Jacobs (Lund University, Sweden)

Symposium 7

Evolvability and plasticity of behaviour: using cichlid fishes as model systems

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Organizer(s): Michael Taborsky (Behavioural Ecology Department, Institute of Ecology and Evolution, University of Bern, Switzerland)

Symposium abstract
Extraordinarily phenotypically variable, the 1650 described cichlid fish species provide arguably the best and most powerful models available to help understanding the evolutionary mechanisms responsible for behavioural diversity. These tropical fresh water fishes have been well studied behaviourally and genetically and are known to represent a wide variety of foraging guilds, mating, breeding and social systems. The great interest in this group stems from both their well-documented adaptive radiations and their exceptional behavioural diversity. We shall discuss how this diversity can be explained by interactions among evolvability, plasticity, and behavioural capacities. Likely the outcome of these discussions will include the identification of knowledge gaps and research opportunities for collaborative applications and publications.

Walter Salzburger (University of Basel, Switzerland)
Kristina Sefc (University of Graz, Austria)
Barbara Taborsky (University of Bern, Switzerland)
Nadia Aubin-Horth (Laval University, Canada)

Symposium 8

Mental time travel in non-human animals

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Organizer(s): Christelle Jozet-Alves (EthoS laboratory, University of Caen-University of Rennes 1-CNRS, Franceand  Nicola Clayton (Department of Psychology, University of Cambridge, UK)

Symposium abstract
The ability to remember the past and imagine the future has been argued to be a uniquely human cognitive characteristic. This is mainly due to the difficulty in devising tests of the phenomenological aspects that accompany human mental time travel, namely an awareness of being the author of one’s thoughts about the past and the future (autonoesis) and an awareness of the subjective passage of time (chronesthesia), which accompany the ability to mentally re-experienced past events (episodic recollection) and pre-experience future events (future planning). To explore mental time travel in non-human animals, purely behavioural criteria have been defined allowing research to expand rapidly over the past two decades. Thanks to carefully designed behavioural experiments, evidence is now accumulating on mental time travel ability in a select but wide range of distantly related non-human animals from corvids to cephalopods. From an evolutionary perspective, comparative studies provide a promising avenue for future studies to understand the emergence of mental time travel in the animal kingdom and the similarities and differences in this cognitive ability that inevitably evolve through the process of convergent evolution.

Nicola Clayton (Department of Psychology, University of Cambridge, UK)
Christelle Jozet-Alves (EthoS laboratory, University of Caen-University of Rennes 1-CNRS, France)
J. Crystal (Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, Indiana University, Bloomington, US)
M. Osvath (Lund University The Cognitive Zoology Group, Sweden)

Symposium 9

How to survive in extreme environments? Behavioral and physiological adjustments of mammals living in arid and semiarid habitats

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Organizer(s): Filipa Abreu (Department of Biology, Federal Rural University of Pernambuco, Braziland  María Fernanda De la Fuente (Department of Biology, Federal Rural University of Pernambuco, Brazil)

Symposium abstract
Arid and semiarid environments are characterized by extreme weather conditions, such as high temperatures, low humidity and precipitation, and apparent resource scarcity. This imposes significant challenges for mammals, in terms of heat and water stress, thermoregulation, and obtaining sufficient resources for reproduction and infant survivorship. Some animals possess physiological adaptations to survive in these environments (e.g. the ability of certain desert rodents to concentrate urine to reduce water loss or Thomson’s gazelle, which exhibits carotid rete for efficient brain cooling). Other mammals can exploit hot and dry environments through a series of behavioral adjustments (e.g. capuchin monkeys living in the semiarid use tools to access hard to process food items or the rodent, Trinomys yonenagae, that digs holes in dunes to cool itself during the hottest hours of the day). The aim of this symposium is to bring together researchers who study mammals living in arid and semiarid environments in order to better understand the set of behavioral and physiological solutions mammals have evolved to cope with these environmental constraints.

Stacy Lindshield (Department of World Languages and Cultures, Anthropology Program, Iowa State University, USA)
María Fernanda de la Fuente (Laboratory of Theoretical and Applied Ethology, Department of Biology, Federal Rural University of Pernambuco, Brazil)
Burt P. Kotler (Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research, Mitrani Department of Desert Ecology)
Jan Randall (Department of Biology, San Francisco State University, USA)

Symposium 10

When (if ever) do signals need to be costly to be honest?

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Organizer(s): Szabolcs Számadó (Department of Plant Taxonomy and Ecology, MTA-ELTE Theoretical Biology and Evolutionary Ecology Research Group, Eötvös Loránd University, Hungaryand  Dustin J. Penn (Konrad Lorenz Institute of Ethology, Department of Integrative Biology and Evolution University of Veterinary Medicine)

Symposium abstract
Animal signals are at the heart of the behavioral biology. They play a crucial role in sexual and mating behavior (sexual selection), parent-offspring conflict and conflict behaviour just to name a few contexts. The proposals that the costs of signalling enforces honest communication is widely accepted in biology. Yet the position of this proposal is not as solid as it might seem. On the one hand, theoretical models question whether honesty needs signal cost at the equilibrium; on the other hand, the lack of meaningful empirical predictions make it difficult to ground this proposal with empirical work. The aim of this symposium is to identify when signal costs do (and do not) influence the evolution of honest signals. Furthermore, this symposium will bring together both theoretical and empirical researchers to address the differences in perspectives on this issue. There are important implications of these issues for other fields, including social sciences and human communication.

Alan Grafen (Department of Zoology, University of Oxford, England)
Ismael Galvan (Department of Evolutionary Ecology, Estación Biológica de Doñana, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas)
Gregorio Moreno-Rueda (University of Granada, Spain)
Szabolcs Számadó (Eötvös Loránd University, Hungary)

Symposium 11

Social Dynamics and the Speciation Process: From Initiation of Divergence to Reproductive Isolation

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Organizer(s): Michael D. Greenfield (Institut de Recherche Sur La Biologie de L’Insecte, Centre National de Recherche Scientifique, Tours, France) and  Darren Rebar (University of Cambridge, United Kingdom)

Symposium abstract
A major outstanding challenge for biologists is to explain how populations diverge. Classic models invoke chance events such as drift, mutation, or bottlenecks as playing a central role in facilitating subsequent divergence. Ecological speciation, on the other hand, proposes that barriers to gene flow arise as a consequence of the interaction of individuals with their environment during resource acquisition. Through considering that the speciation process may act along a continuum of stages beginning with a single panmictic population and ending with fully separated populations between which gene flow can no longer occur, biologists find that divergence generally involves the evolution of different behavioral, reproductive, and/or ecological traits in the separate populations. One particularly dynamic source of environmental variation, the social environment, can provide contrasting selection pressures between populations because of its profound effect on individual fitness. Fundamental trait features, as expressed in isolation, are often similar across populations, whereas trait expression during and following social interactions can diverge markedly. For example, populations might share fundamental courtship features, but critical differences may arise in the ways in which courtship signals are broadcast and perceived among interacting individuals within groups. Courtship traits expressed in groups may be influenced by learning as well as by environmental conditions that individuals experienced during development, and these modifications may be transmitted culturally across generations. But such modifications may also become genetically differentiated as populations continue to diverge. Some findings suggest that the involvement of learning and other environmental influences in courtship promotes population divergence and ultimately speciation, but another body of research indicates the opposite effect. This symposium will examine current empirical and theoretical studies investigating these potential relationships. Our objective is to evaluate the importance of various social dynamics in accelerating or retarding the speciation process and how such dynamics might function in either direction.

Rafael L. Rodriguez (University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee, United States of America)
Machteld N. Verzijden (Aarhus University, Denmark)
Darren Rebar (University of Cambridge, United Kingdom)
Jeanette W. Boughman (Michigan State University, United States of America)

Symposium 12

Animal Cultures: field studies in social learning

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Organizer(s): Gruber Thibaud (University of Geneva, Switzerlandand  Lucy Aplin (University of Oxford, United Kingdom)

Symposium abstract
The question of animal culture has been the subject of extensive debate, with views ranging from general scepticism of its existence to arguments for a pervasive biological system that allows transmission of information across generations. The aim of this symposium will be to explore various aspects of social and cultural learning across taxa, from invertebrates to birds, cetaceans and primates, and give an overview of techniques and methods to assess social learning directly in wild populations. Over the last decades, exciting new developments in field methodologies have the identification and study of animal cultures directly in natural habitats. These field methods, including social network analyses, ethnographic methods, and cultural diffusion experiments have strengthened the case for social learning and cultural behaviour in non-human animals, and have elucidated its role in evolutionary and behavioural ecology. The invited speakers will be requested to use specific examples of field studies in animal social learning to address questions related to the cognitive, ecological and social aspects of culture. Questions raised will be for instance: how is it possible to develop (cumulative) culture with the brain of a house-hunting ant (Temnothorax albipennis)? How does cultural transmission occur in the sea compared to in the forest? Is tool use in birds genetically predisposed, but learnt in primates? The speakers’ task will also be to discuss findings in their taxon of interest (insects, birds, cetaceans and primates, respectively) in light of the findings in other taxa, with the goal of drawing bridges between taxa. The overall aim of this symposium is to be comparative between species, and to highlight the diversity in forms and functions of cultural behaviours across these different taxa. Finally, we will explore whether ‘cultural’ behaviour in wild animals is underlined by similar mechanisms and processes to human culture, or specific to each taxon, with little connection between them. The speakers will therefore conclude on how their findings may be relevant to understand cultural evolution in humans, a topic that has stirred much debate over the last decades, and how aspects of research in each taxon may inform our understanding of culture as a global adaptive phenomenon across species.

Takao Sasaki (University of Oxford, UK)
Luke Rendell (University of St Andrews)
Lucy Aplin (University of Oxford, UK)
Thibaud Gruber (University of Geneva, Switzerland)

Symposium 13

Parental Care and the Dynamic Genome

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Organizer(s): Rebecca Calisi Rodríguez (Neurobiology, Physiology, and Behavior, University of California, Davis, USA)

Symposium abstract
Previous discoveries have uncovered a handful of hormones and receptors that play a role in the maintenance of parental care. Now, burgeoning sequencing technologies are driving a genomic revolution that provides the potential for the most in-depth understanding of how the brain changes over the course of caring for offspring. This symposium includes a group of top researchers using four different organisms (fish: stickleback; bird: rock dove; rodent: rat; insect: burying beetle) and various approaches (trancriptomics, evolutionary genetics, epigenetics), as well as hypothesis-driven approaches and experimental manipulations, to investigate bidirectional interactions between genes and parental care behaviors. In addition, this group will be able to highlight how advances in high throughput sequencing methods are changing the way we can study animal behavior.

Allison Bell (University of Illinois)
Rebecca Calisi Rodríguez (UC Davis)
Allen Moore (U Georgia)
Danielle Stolzenburg (UC Davis)

Symposium 14

The evolution of social complexity: using cichlid fishes as model systems

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Organizer(s): Sigal Balshine (Department of Psychology, Neuroscience & Behaviour, McMaster University, Canada)

Symposium abstract
Cichlid fishes provide unique potential to test our understanding of evolutionary and ecological processes responsible for social organisation and complexity. Their astounding behavioural and social variability and richness in combination with an exceptional observational and experimental accessibility make them ideal model systems for studying proximate and ultimate mechanisms of behaviour. This symposium will provide insights about how social complexity can be explained by interactions between behavioural/social factors and ecological parameters. This will offer a much needed platform for experts from different disciplines and career stages to discuss how to make use of the wealth of knowledge and expertise accumulated on the biology of this fascinating and rapidly evolving group of fishes.

Peter Dijkstra (Central Michigan University, U.S.A.)
Alex Jordan (Max Planck Institute for Ornithology, Konstanz, Germany)
Michael Taborsky (Behavioural Ecology Department, Institute of Ecology and Evolution, University of Bern, Switzerland)
Hirokazu Tanaka (University of Bern, Switzerland)

Symposium 15

Molecular and neural control of sexually dimorphic social behaviors

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Organizer(s): Galit Shohat-Ophir (Faculty of Life Science, Bar Ilan University, Israel)

Symposium abstract
Sexually reproducing animals exhibit sex differences in behaviors that contribute to reproductive success of the individual and survival of progeny such as sexual interaction, aggression and parental care. In this session we will present studies that dissect that molecular and neural network mechanisms underlying the dimorphic behavioral differences between the two sexes in C. elegans, fruit flies and mice. The speakers of the session will present broad range of behaviors and mechanisms of regulation: How sensory neurons in C.elegans, which initially connect in both male- and hermaphrodite-specific patterns, but then, upon sexual maturation, each sex prunes a specific subset of these connections to produce sex-specific connectivity patterns. Studying the sex specific circuits that mediate sexual reward in male and female flies, and the mechanism by which prior social interaction regulates differently sensory information in male and female fruit flies, and Behavioral phenotyping of social hierarchy in group of mice.

Guy Bloch (Hebrew University)
Tali Kimchi (The Department of Neuroscience, Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel)
Meital Oren Swissa (Department of Biology, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics and Columbia University, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, New York, USA)
Galit Shohat-Ophir (The Faculty of Life Sciences and The Multidisciplinary Brain Research Center, Bar Ilan University Israel)

Symposium 16

Effects of oxytocin on social behavior in fish and mammals

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Organizer(s): Gil Levkowitz (Department of Molecular Cell Biology, Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel) and  Valery Grinevich (Heidelberg University, Heidelberg, Germany)

Symposium abstract
Oxytocin (OXT) is an evolutionary conserved neuropeptide, which is found in many species ranging from invertebrates to mammals. OXT is synthesized in hypothalamic neurons whose axons project onto the posterior pituitary gland, brain and spinal cord. OXT can act as a hormone and neurotransmitter. When secreted into the peripheral blood circulation it acts to control parturition and lactation in mammals and aspects of reproductive processes in fish. The activities of OXT in the central nervous system are important for the regulation of stress, social behavior and appetite. Impairments of the oxytocinergic system in humans have been implicated in Prader-Willi syndrome and autism. However, the exact mechanism by which changes in the oxytocin neurons developmental plan affect behavior is not well understood. This symposium will focus on the role of the oxytocin system in fish and mammals. The speakers will present recent and new results on the development of oxytocin neurons, the anatomical neuronal circuits they form and how they affect simple and complex behaviors. Gil Levkowitz will present new data concerning the role of a transcriptional regulators on OXT neurons development and their long-term effect on the behavioral responses to anxiogenic and social challenges. Rita Nunes’ talk will focus on the developmental organizational effect of the oxytocin-like peptides on social behavior, and the possible mechanisms underlying this effect. Valery Grinevich will speak about bidirectional functional connectivity between the oxytocin and somatosemsory system as well as mechanism of how somatosensory signals affect endogenous activity of oxytocin neurons in socially interacting rats. Yair Shemesh will present new data on the role of the oxytocinergic system in regulating complex social behavior in groups of mice, following genetic and optogenetic manipulations in mice.
Due to close relevance to human psychobiology and psychopathology, the symposium will be of interest for both, experts in neuroscience (in a range from molecular neurobiologists to clinicians) and general public.

Gil Levkowitz (Department of Molecular Cell Biology, Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel)
Ana Rita Nunes (Integrative Behavioural Biology Lab, Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência, Portugal)
Valery Grinevich (Heidelberg University , Heidelberg, Germany)
Yair Shemesh (Department of Stress Neurobiology and Behavioral Neurogenetics, Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry, Munich, Germany)

Symposium 17

Intraspecific variation in cognitive traits

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Organizer(s): Sarah Dalesman (Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences, Aberystwyth University, United Kingdom) and  Lisa Leaver (Department of Psychology, University of Exeter, United Kingdom)

Symposium abstract
Cognitive traits play an integral role in determining how individuals behave, whether related to attention and perception, learning and memory, communication, or executive functions such as puzzle solving or decision making. With a growing interest in consistency within and variation among individuals of the same species in behavioural traits and its importance in ecology and evolution, insight into how cognitive ability affects individual differences will have an important role to play in our understanding of this field. Cognition will also play an important role in selection, determining how individuals cope with changes in their environment, for example during climatic change, range expansion, encountering invasive species or increasing anthropogenic modification.
Cognitive traits are studied in a wide range of organisms and increasingly in the context of behavioural syndromes or the relationship to animal personality. However, these experiments often lack proper controls to allow the experimenter to determine what is being measured. For example, are we measuring associative learning or sensitisation, habituation or physiological fatigue? Additionally, when comparing cognitive differences among individuals are we measuring differences in attention, perception, processing or recall of information?
Our goal with this symposium is to bring together researchers interested in measuring cognition across a wide range of species to share ideas and solutions for best practise. We hope that this will allow the development of new collaborations and novel ways to drive forward this exciting field in the study of animal behaviour.

Sabine Tebbich (University of Vienna, Austria)
Clint Perry (Queen Mary University of London, U.K.)
Susan Healey (University of St. Andrews, U.K.)
Lisa Leaver (University of Exeter, U.K.)

Symposium 18

Experimental behavioral field studies in Neotropical primates: advances, challenges, and perspectives

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Organizer(s): Christini Caselli (Department of Biology, Federal Rural University of Pernambuco, Braziland  Nicola Schiel (Department of Biology, Federal Rural University of Pernambuco)

Symposium abstract
Observational studies are important to know many aspects of animal behavior. However, some patterns may derive from spurious correlations because even carefully planned observational studies are limited for establishing cause-effect relationships. In this respect, an experimental approach allows to control the effects of key variable(s) for improving the reliability of data interpretation. Most behavioral experiments involving non-human primates take place in captivity. These studies have been critical for elucidating subtle and elusive behaviors that are difficult to observe in the wild. Studies on the social suppression of reproduction, conflict resolution, behavioral development and its neuronal control are good examples. However, the responses of captive animals may differ from those of their wild conspecifics because the laboratory setting lacks critical features of the natural environment and because handling and housing are sources of stress. On the other hand, field experiments have the advantage of measuring animal responses under naturally changing contexts. Collecting data on some behaviors of wild primates and appropriately controlling the influence of key environmental and social variables on them challenge experimental research. Notwithstanding, carefully planned field experiments represent an important source of information to integrate with captive experiments and observational field studies. While studies on provisioned monkeys allow testing hypotheses on the cognitive and social dimensions of group foraging, controlled playbacks are instrumental in disclosing the role of primate calls. In this symposium we bring together researchers investigating social learning, cognitive ecology, and acoustic communication in four taxa of Neotropical primates via field experiments to discuss the challenges, advances and perspectives of this approach.

Christini Barbosa Caselli (Department of Biology, Federal Rural University of Pernambuco, Brazil)
Nicola Schiel (Department of Biology, Federal Rural University of Pernambuco, Brazil)
Eduardo Benedicto Ottoni (Department of Experimental Psychology, Institute of Psychology, University of São Paulo, Brazil)
Filipa Abreu (Department of Biology, Federal Rural University of Pernambuco, Brazil)

Symposium 19

Sexual selection on motor displays

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Organizer(s): Tim Fawcett (Centre for Research in Animal Behaviour, University of Exeter, United Kingdomand  Matt Fuxjager (Department of Biology, Wake Forest University, USA)

Symposium abstract
Sexual signalling in a wide variety of animals involves striking behavioural elements such as acrobatic courtship dances and vigorous movement patterns. Mounting evidence from diverse taxa suggests that females use motor performance (vigour or skill) to evaluate potential mates and it has been argued that this provides another, perhaps more reliable, indicator of male quality in addition to morphological ornaments. However, unlike morphological ornaments, motor displays are typically highly dynamic and can be flexibly and rapidly adjusted depending on the male’s energetic state, the level of interest from available females, the intensity of competition from rival males and the current predation risk. We have a limited understanding of how such displays have evolved because almost all existing models of sexual selection assume that male traits are static, in that their display intensity does not change over time. While this may be a reasonable approximation for some morphological traits (e.g. elongated tail feathers), it does not capture the highly flexible expression of motor displays. The widespread existence of dynamic courtship behaviour raises challenging questions for sexual selection regarding the strategic allocation of courtship effort, the benefits of female choice and the physiological mechanisms that enforce honest signalling. In this symposium we will tackle these issues from both theoretical and empirical perspectives, drawing on observational and experimental data from vertebrate and invertebrate systems. We will scrutinise the evidence that motor performance reliably reflects male quality and influences female choice, clarify possible hypotheses for the evolution of dynamic courtship behaviour and identify major outstanding questions for future research.

Tim Fawcett (University of Exeter, UK)
Matt Fuxjager (Department of Biology, Wake Forest University, USA) & Leonida Fusani (University of Exeter, UK)
Sophie Mowles (Anglia Ruskin University, UK)
Andrew Iwaniuk (University of Lethbridge, Canada)

Symposium 20

Behavior under visual conspicuousness – modesty or even more bragging?

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Organizer(s): Wladimir Jimenez Alonso (Laboratory for Human Evolutionary and Ecological Studies/Department of Genetics and Evolutionary Biology, University of São Paulo, Brazil)

Symposium abstract
Animals that display bright colors, conspicuous shapes and sizes are exposed both to conspecifics and individuals from other species. Due to its inherent dynamic nature, behaviours are expected to play an important role in modulating conspicuousness in response to context-depend situations. When conspicuousness is evolutionary advantageous, behaviours are expected to reinforce the visibility of the individual. In contrast, when conspicuousness is costly, the evolution of behavioural patterns aimed at to reducing or concealing it would be beneficial. The study of this interaction between ethology and animal conspicuousness represents a productive framework to understand several organismic features – including human evolution and contemporary human behaviours.

George Lovell (Division of Psychology, School/Department: School of Social & Health Sciences, Abertay University, UK)
Magdalena Ruiz Rodríguez (Department of Functional and Evolutionary Biology, Estación Experimental de Zonas Áridas (CSIC), Almerıa, Spain)
Joseph Jordania (Melbourne Conservatorium of Music at the University of Melbourne and Foreign Department of the International Research Centre for Traditional Polyphony at Tbilisi State Conservatory)
Wladimir J. Alonso (Laboratory for Human Evolutionary and Ecological Studies, Department of Genetics and Evolutionary Biology, University of São Paulo, São Paulo and Fogarty International Center/US National Institutes of Health/Bethesda/USA)

Symposium 21

Behavioural Measures of Animal Welfare

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Organizer(s): Bernhard Voelkl (Animal Welfare Division, University of Bern, Switzerlandand  Christine Nicol (Division of Animal Health and Husbandry, University of Bristol, UK)

Symposium abstract
Worldwide between 25 and 30 billion birds and mammals are kept by humans for food production, education and research, or as working and companion animals. A broad consensus exists that, while keeping animals captive and using them for different purposes is acceptable, animals should not suffer unnecessary pain or distress, and that animal keepers are responsible and liable for their wellbeing. How to establish indicators for wellbeing of animals under human custody is, therefore, an active area of research. Behavioural measures of animal welfare have been suggested as important complementation to medical screening, because not all cases of distress might immediately manifest themselves in clinical symptoms and because behavioural changes often precede deteriorating health–making them a potentially useful early warning system for poor welfare. Previously suggested behavioural measures focused on stress indicators or the detection of stereotypies. However, not all forms of mismatch between the environmental needs of an animal and the condition provided by human caretakers will manifest themselves in signs of acute stress or the development of stereotypic behaviour. In this symposium we will therefore focus on newly developed measures of welfare that allow for a more fine-grained view on animal wellbeing. These include methods that allow discerning arousal from valence and methods that allow detecting shifts in emotional states and subjective perception of ambient characteristics. Compound descriptors of facial expressions, judgement bias tasks, and various cognitive tasks have been suggested as welfare indicators. Given the potentially far-reaching implication of refinements of animal welfare measures, solid validation and rigorous scientific discourse are called for. This symposium shall therefore provide room for presenting new methods for assessing animal welfare and pinpointing areas of urgently needed further research.

Linda Keeling (Department of Animal Environment and Health; Animal Welfare Unit, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala, Sweden)
Sara Hinze (University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna, Austria)
Joanne Edgar (University of Bristol, United Kingdom)
Carole Fureix (Plymouth University, School of Biological and Marine Sciences)

Symposium 22

Avian Cognition

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Organizer(s): Carel ten Cate (Institute of Biology, Leiden University, Netherlandsand  Susan Healy (University of StAndrews, Scotland, UK)

Symposium abstract
Studying animal cognition is becoming a progressively important field for the study of animal behaviour. An increasing number of species are found to be able to cope with complex physical problems, show remarkable perceptual abilities and learning skills or have an amazing understanding of social relationships. This includes abilities reminiscent of, or comparable to, those long thought unique to humans. In search for the roots of human cognition, many comparative studies use mammals, from rats to apes, to search for potential homologues that may shed light on the evolution of advanced cognitive traits in humans. The Avian Cognition symposium deals with a phylogenetically quite distant group: birds. Birds provide excellent model species for addressing questions about animal cognition, both in their own right, relating to their ecological context, and from a comparative perspective. Recent research has shown that various bird species show advanced cognitive abilities that match those of mammals up to the level of primates. Also, bird brains, although different in structure from mammalian brains, have undergone a parallel evolution towards brain areas analogous to the mammalian cortex. This symposium aims for an exploration of avian cognitive abilities: What are they like? What are the mechanisms behind such abilities? How do they relate to the ecology of the species? How do they relate to those of humans? How do cognitive mechanisms affect evolutionary processes? This symposium explores such questions by four speakers that address the issues from very different perspectives.

Irene M. Pepperberg (Department of Psychology, Harvard University, Cambridge MA, USA)
Chris B. Sturdy (Department of Psychology, Neuroscience and Mental Health Institute; University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada)
Debbie M. Kelly (University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Canada)
Candy Rowe (Newcastle University; Newcastle upon Tyne, UK)

Symposium 23

Fish uses in behavioral neurosciences: From stress to sociality

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Organizer(s): Caio Maximino (Instituto de Estudos em Saúde e Biológica, Universidade Federal do Sul e Sudeste do Pará, Brazil)

Symposium abstract
While the study of fish behavior goes back to the origins of ethology, with von Frisch’s studies on alarm pheromones and Tinbergen’s on behavioral co-adaptations in sticklebacks, increased interest in that (very heterogeneous) group soared in the last few years. The use of classical and modern tools for brain research is enabling answering mechanistic questions in relation to fish behavior. Moreover, the enormous diversity of behavioral and physiological adaptations in fish allows for these methods to be applied to questions on specific adaptations as well as general neurobehavioral trends. The symposium will congregate researchers from different parts of the world, tackling different neurobehavioral questions using fish as models. Prof. Marta Soares will talk about cleaning behavior in wrasse, its relationships to cooperation and cheating, and its modulation by monoaminergic signalling and neuroendocrine parameters. Prof. Robert Gerlai will talk about shoaling, reward, and monoaminergic sinnalling in zebrafish. Prof. Leonardo Barcellos will talk about his recent findings on multimodal communication of stress and antipredatory responses in zebrafish. Finally, prof. Svante Winberg will talk about monoaminergic and neuroendocrine responses to social stress in salmonids and zebrafish. These presentations, and the debates ensued, will provide a larger picture on the frontiers between social behavior and stress in different fish species, as well as their common modulation by neurotransmitter systems.

Marta C. Soares (CIBIO, Centro de Investigação em Biodiversidade e Recursos Genéticos, Universidade do Porto, Vairão, Portugal)
Robert T. Gerlai (Department of Psychology, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada)
Caio Maximino (Universidade Federal do Sul e Sudeste do Pará – Marabá)
Svante Winberg (Department of Neuroscience, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden)

Symposium 24

Developmental plasticity as a driver of adaptation to environmental change

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Organizer(s): Jan Komdeur (Groningen Institute for Evolutionary Life Sciences, University of Gronigen, Netherlandsand  Barbara Taborsky (Institute for Ecology and Evolution, University of Bern, Switzerland)

Symposium abstract
In an era of rapid environmental change, it is of great importance to understand when, whether and to what extent organisms are able to adapt to changing conditions. Understanding the adaptive potential of a population or species requires a sound understanding of how individuals respond to their local environment. Individual responses can range from the deterministic (phenotypic plasticity) to the stochastic (bet hedging), can involve reversible (phenotypic flexibility) or irreversible (developmental plasticity) changes, and can be induced genetically or epigenetically. Which type of individual response has evolved in a species will depend on the environments the species encountered in its evolutionary history. It is intuitively plausible that species using different types of response are affected in quite different ways by a change in the environment (such as climate change). It is also plausible that each response differentially affects the ability of a species to evolve adequate individual responses and behaviours to novel conditions. However, the mechanisms underlying species- or population-level response strategies, the functioning of these mechanisms under changing or novel conditions, and the implications of these mechanisms for the evolution of natural populations are currently not well-understood. Only recently have scientists started to focus on the question of how the external environment affects organismal development and behaviour under natural conditions and how this impacts evolutionary change.

This symposium will bring together theoretical, experimental and field researchers who investigate the influences of environmental conditions experienced by ancestors, parents and young on the development, adaptive properties and fitness implications of different phenotypes. Thereby we aim to condense the emerging insights in the underlying causes of differences between individual developmental trajectories and their long-term consequences for adaptive potential, survival and fitness.

Olof Leimar (Department of Zoology, Stockholm University, Sweden)
Sinead English (Department of Zoology, Cambridge University, England)
Kat Bebbington (School of Biological Sciences, University of East Anglia, England)
Claudia Kasper (Behavioural Ecology, University of Bern, Switzerland)

Symposium 25

Computational approaches to animal camouflage

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Organizer(s): Laszlo Talas (School of Experimental Psychology; School of Biological Sciences, University of Bristol, United Kingdomand  Jolyon Troscianko (College of Life and Environmental Sciences, Exeter University, UK)

Symposium abstract
The animal kingdom exhibits a dazzling diversity of colour patterns; many of them are believed to function as camouflage. These patterns have long been the focus of biological research, however measuring their protective value still remains challenging. In this symposium, the speakers wish to showcase methods adapted from the fields of computer vision, machine learning, and psychophysics that could widen the range of available tools to quantify animal colouration. Beyond demonstrating the methods, we wish to discuss steps towards implementation, as the aim is to encourage biologists to adapt these approaches to their own studied systems.

Anna Hughes (UCL Division of Psychology and Language Sciences, University College London, UK)
Constantine Michalis (School of Biological Sciences, University of Bristol, UK)
Jolyon Troscianko (College of Life and Environmental Sciences, Exeter University, UK)
Laszlo Talas (School of Experimental Psychology; School of Biological Sciences, University of Bristol, UK)

Symposium 26

Host-pathogen interaction: from sociality to susceptibility

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Organizer(s): Nadine Mueller (Department of Behavioural Ecology, Georg-August University Göttingen, Germanyand  Charlotte Defolie (Sociobiology and Anthropology Department, Georg-August University Göttingen, Germany)

Symposium abstract
Infections with parasites are abundant and rather the norm than the exception in the animal kingdom. Susceptibility to certain pathogens can vary among individuals, groups and even populations and is influenced by multiple environmental, social and physiological factors. Additionally, these variables interact in complex ways to shape parasite species richness and infection intensity in one host and prevalence in a population. These variations in susceptibility can lead to vast differences in host health, survival and fitness; however, the causal connections are, to date, not well understood in wildlife. In this interdisciplinary symposium, we want to investigate which parameters determine susceptibility to disease from the individual to society level in social animals. To do so, we will look at host physiology, the role of the immune system and sociality, as well as the interactions between these factors and their implications on host parasite co-evolution within various taxa ranging from insects to primates. Finally, we aim to provide new insights on the temporal and causal connections between sociality, susceptibility, and pathogen infections.


Sylvia Cremer (Institute for Science and Technology Austria, Klosterneuburg, Austria)
Andrea Springer (University of Veterinary Medicine, Hannover)
Charlotte Defolie (Sociobiology and Anthropology Department, Georg-August University Göttingen, Göttingen, Germany)
Nadine Müller (Behavioural Ecology Department, Georg-August University Göttingen, Göttingen, Germany)

Symposium 27

Flexibility and learning in insect behaviour

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Organizer(s): Natalie Hempel de Ibarra (Centre for Research in Animal Behaviour (CRAB), University of Exeter – College of Life and Environmental Sciences, United Kingdomand  Barbara Webb (Institute of Action, Perception and Behaviour, University of Edinburgh, UK)

Symposium abstract
Insects display diverse repertoires of behaviours, which often show flexible adaptations to local conditions and situations in the environment, ability to deal with disruptions and to make decisions with varied outcomes. The detailed behavioural and physiological investigations of learning and memory in different insect groups have provided important insights in the mechanisms that underly this flexibility. This symposium will showcase diverse neuroethological approaches that range from controlled studies under natural and lab conditions to modelling and simulations. The first group of speakers works on the best-studied insect species – honeybees, Drosophila, bumblebees and desert ants. The symposium can be extended to a double-symposium to introduce species that are less renown for their learning capacity and show interesting adaptations that serve their life style –  butterflies, Manduca, cockroach and cricket.

Julie Mustard (Department of Biology, University of Texas RGV, USA)
Yoshi Aso (Behavioral & Systems Neuroscience, HHMI, Janelia, USA)
Barbara Webb (Institute of Action, Perception and Behaviour, University of Edinburgh, UK)
Natalie Hempel de Ibarra (Centre for Research in Animal Behaviour, University of Exeter, UK)

Symposium 28

The diverse relevance of animal behavior for human cognition

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Organizer(s): Michael Proulx (Department of Psychology, University of Bath, United Kingdomand  Alexandra de Sousa (Bath Spa University, United Kingdom)

Symposium abstract
Research on animal cognition provides incredible examples of the similarities and differences in how a variety of species solve cognitive challenges. The comparative cognition approach affords a unique opportunity to reveal the behavioral, physiological and evolutionary mechanisms of human and animal behavior. This symposium presents work from a variety of experts to demonstrate the importance of animal behavior for human cognition. Examples include invertebrate vision, such as binocular vision in mantises; zebrafish as a model organism that can reveal the neurophysiological, anatomical, and genetic bases of behavior; and mammalian cognition providing insights from a variety of species including primates such as humans.

Vivek Nityananda (Newcastle (UK) & Institute for Advanced Study, Berlin, Germany)   
Caroline Brennan (Queen Mary University of London, U.K.)
Sandra Malewski (Department of General Zoology, University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany)Sabine Martini (Department of General Zoology, University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany)
Michael Proulx (Department of Psychology, University of Bath, United Kingdom) & Alexandra de Sousa (Bath Spa University, United Kingdom)

Symposium 29

The interplay of cooperation and conflict on cognition

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Organizer(s): Molly Cummings (Department of Integrative Biology, University of Texas at Austin, USA)

Symposium abstract
Social interactions play some part in shaping cognitive processes, but are all interactions equal? With this symposium we focus on two fundamentally opposing behaviors—conflict and cooperation— and examine their potential influence on shaping cognition. From an evolutionary framework, the researchers use a number of different approaches (from artificial selection, game theory, comparative neurogenomics and field manipulations) to explore how these fundamentally divergent behaviors influence cognitive processes. Employing both theoretical and empirical approaches with teleosts (poeciliids and labrids), the symposium speakers will focus on the sexual selection processes involved in sexual conflict, alternative reproductive tactics and parental care, as well as natural selection on cleaning mutualisms, to ask whether or not we should expect particular patterns of cognitive diversity based on variation in these behaviors.

Molly Cummings (University of Texas, Austin, TX USA)
Alexander Kotrschal (Stockholm University, Sweden)
Redouan Bshary (Universite de Neuchatel, Switzerland)
Suzanne Alonzo (University of California, Santa Cruz, CA USA)

Symposium 30

Understanding how pathogens transmit and their effects on host behavior

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Organizer(s): Doris Wu (Department of Primatology, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Germany)

Symposium abstract
Parasites are ubiquitous across ecosystems and are able to spread by optimizing numerous transmission strategies. However, as parasites have a functional dependence on their hosts, they will need to utilize different direct and indirect methods—such as through physical contact or environmental contamination—in order to continue to persist. These are in turn limited by various ecological determinants such as environmental condition, encounter rates, and host behaviour and life history traits. In particular, group size and host association patterns have been linked to disease risk and transmission patterns. Additionally, as infection will have an effect on host health and reproductive success, individuals are expected to adopt behavioural disease-avoidance tactics. This includes being selective in who they associate with, for example avoiding sick individuals, as well as changes in habitat use, such as limiting contact with contaminated areas. Infection may also cause behavioural and physiological changes that can alter social dynamics between individuals within a group.

Teasing apart which transmission factors are involved can provide key insights into the host-parasite relationship—shedding light on the evolution of virulence and host specificity as well as how host social systems and behaviour may have developed to prevent and limit disease transmission. This symposium will therefore take an integrative approach discussing how parasites are acquired, how they are transmitted within social groups, what disease-avoidance behaviours hosts may adopt, and infection-induced behavioural changes and its effect on social relationships.

Doris Wu (MPI-EVA, Germany)
Filipa Paciência (German Primate Center, Germany)
Barbara König (University of Zurich, Switzerland)
Jamie Winternitz (MPI-Evolutionary Biology Germany)

Symposium 31

Pathways in Social Evolution

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Organizer(s): Lukas Dieter (Department of Zoology, University of Cambridge, United Kingdomand  Susanne Shultz (School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, The University of Manchester, United Kingdom)

Symposium abstract
Sociality underpins the evolution of complex behavior including cooperation, culture and social learning. One of the difficulties with inferring large scale patterns of social evolution is that behavior does not fossilize. Thus uncovering how and why social living has emerged across different taxonomic groups, has focused on either reconstructing history from living species or building theoretical models for the putative benefits of different social systems. Recent phylogenetic studies show that evolutionary changes between social systems do not occur flexibly but instead are structured to follow particular pathways. In this symposium, we will bring together theoreticians and empiricists to discuss how constraints have shaped the diversity of social systems we observe in animals and the consequence of this process. We have decided to split the slots into multiple talks to investigate whether evolution has followed similar path in diverse taxonomic groups, covering comparative results in fish, birds, mammals, and insects. This will be followed by theoretical talks, which will seek to consolidate taxonomic specific patterns to identify unified evolutionary processes. Our symposium will identify general trends of social evolution in various animal taxa, clarify terminology across disciplines, and generate a framework to open up avenues for future research efforts.

Dustin Rubenstein (Columbia University, USA)
Sigal Balshine (McMaster University, Canada)
Emilia Martins (Indiana University, USA)
Sergey Gavrilets (University of Tennessee, USA)

Symposium 32

Hormones and behavior: advancing our understanding of hormone-behaviour relationships through investigations of individual variation

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Organizer(s): Leonida Fusani (Cognitive Biology, University of Vienna, Austriaand  Ignacio T. Moore (Dept. of Biological Sciences, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Virginia, USA)

Symposium abstract
Our understanding of hormone-behavior relationships is largely based on comparisons of mean differences between groups, replacement studies, and simple behavioral responses. While these types of studies have formed a strong foundation, future advances require new types of experimental designs. Among the new avenues of research there are investigations of individual variation. Individual variation is a foundation of evolutionary biology studies and more recently has extended to behavior studies, often in the form on personality studies. And yet only recently have studies of individual variation been extended to hormone-behavior studies. In this symposium we propose to present a variety of ways in which investigators are looking at individual variation in hormone-behavior relationships including studies of behavioral networks and reaction norms. Our goals are to highlight new ways to investigate hormone-behavior relationships as well as to stimulate future studies in the field.

Ignacio Moore (Dept. of Biological Sciences, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Virginia, USA)
Michaela Hau (Max Planck Institute for Ornithology, Germany)
Norbert Sachser (Department of Behavioural Biology, University of Münster, Germany)
Kate Buchanan (Deakin University, Victoria, Australia)


How mating behaviour affects competition for mates

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Organizer(s): Leonor Rodrigues (Centre for Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Changes (cE3c), Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade de Lisboa, Portugaland  Sara Magalhães (Centre for Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Changes (cE3c), Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade de Lisboa)

Symposium abstract
Competition for mates may take several forms. Indeed, males can fight directly for access to a female, or interact indirectly, by monopolizing females, which entails fitness cost for their competitors. Moreover, competition can also occur within a female, via sperm competition and cryptic female choice.
The evolutionary strategies adopted to access mates depends on the species ecology, their mating system and the physiological constrains they face. In turn, competition for mates can be a driver of evolution, leading to changes in species ecology, behaviour and physiology. Therefore, complementary knowledge and approaches are needed to fully understand this major trait.
Our goal with this symposium is to gather contributions from different research areas, from physiology to ecology and evolution, aiming at understanding the behavioural aspects of competition for mates. We encourage submission of integrative work and we would like to cover both theoretical and experimental approaches.

Alexandre Courtiol (Leibniz-Institut für Zoo- und Wildtierforschung (IZW), Berlin Germany)
David Shuker (Institute of Behavioural and Neural Sciences (IBANS), University of St Andrews, Fife, United Kingdom)
Mollie Manier (Department of Biological Sciences, The George Washington University, USA)
Isobel Booksmythe (Institute of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies, University of Zurich, Switzerland)

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