Ecology of Animal Societies
For many animals, ecological and evolutionary success depends not only on the characteristics or decisions of lone individuals, but also on what happens when groups of individuals come together and interact. These group-level behaviors and traits are important because they can transform the social landscape, giving rise to novel selective pressures that drive the evolution of social complexity. Our research seeks to answer the fundamental question: How do animal societies emerge and function?
We embrace an explicitly collaborative approach to scientific exploration. Our multi-disciplinary team works together to develop new ways of measuring, analyzing and interpreting the behavior of socially complex animal species in ecologically and evolutionarily relevant field settings. Within- and between-species comparison is critical to understanding the causes and consequences of social variation and so we aim to build a common framework for monitoring and analyzing the interactions—from dyad to group to population—that comprise the ‘sociome.’