The seminar series

The Animal Behaviour Live: Seminar series is a series of seminars featuring researchers in animal behaviour from all over the world to promote the latest findings in our field. The seminar series will be held on YouTube, starting May 2021. Subscribe to our newsletter to stay up to date.

2021 season — Seminar series

#4 Deciphering intrasexual competition in females: Lessons from antelope, lizards and mosquitoes

28 September 2021, 2pm GMT

Intrasexual competition, the competition between individuals of a sex, is known to result in the evolution of bizarre, conspicuous, sometimes dangerous, often decorative traits. Our understanding of such competition derives primarily from males competing for mates. There is mounting evidence for widespread intrasexual competition in females. We are only beginning to discover the diverse range of ecological contexts in which female-female competition occurs. What can we learn from taxa as different as mosquitoes, lizards and antelope? We present work from our group that attempts to decipher female-female competition in diverse ecological contexts: how females compete for mates on antelope leks, how female lizards deploy multiple signals and aggression strategically during competition, and how female mosquitoes adopt unexpected and seemingly dangerous tactics when competing for resources for their offspring. We discuss how due to key life history differences, intrasexual competition is likely to favour traits in females that are quite different from those historically reported in males.

Dr Devica Ranade

Dr Manvi Sharma

Dr Kavita Isvaran

#3 Studying the behavior of free-ranging Brazilian nonhuman primates

27 August 2021, 2pm GMT

Neotropical primates are amazing subjects for behavioral studies. They vary in social organization and structure, diet composition, activity budget, locomotion types, habitat use and many other aspects. In this talk, Bicca-Marques will begin by describing the goals and major findings of the research on primate behavior, ecology, cognition and conservation biology that has been developed over 20+ years by the members of the Laboratory of Primatology of the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio Grande do Sul in the Brazilian Atlantic Forest, Pampas, Amazon Forest, Cerrado and Caatinga biomes.

Then, Sacramento will describe her field experiment on the social foraging of three free-ranging groups of black-tufted-ear marmosets (Callithrix penicillata) in the Cerrado of the National Park of Brasília in Central Brazil. Specifically, she will discuss the influence of the finder’s share (the proportion of the resource that is consumed by the producer [first individual to arrive] of the feeding patch before the arrival of the latecomer scroungers) on the foraging strategy and feeding success of marmosets. She established one artificial feeding station within the home range of each study group and exposed the marmosets to two experimental conditions: low finder's share (few food-rich patches) and high finder's share (many food-poor patches).

Finally, Lopes will explain her research on the behavioral strategies adopted by a group of Prince Bernhard’s titi monkeys (Plecturocebus bernhardi) to cope with fluctuations in the availability of preferred, seasonal foods. Her study group inhabited a 2.3-ha forest fragment in the state of Rondônia in the Brazilian Amazon. In addition to recording the behavior of titi monkeys from dawn-to-dusk, she monitored the phenology of the tree species to estimate the availability of fruits, flowers and leaves and she used traps to estimate the availability of invertebrates.

Thalita Siqueira Sacramento

Karine Galisteo Diemer Lopes

Prof. Dr. Júlio César Bicca-Marques

#2 Smart Sharks

12 August 2021, 9am GMT

Sharks are often viewed as mindless killing machines; their inflexible behaviour driven by instinct. However recent studies investigating shark intelligence suggest that they are far more complex than previously thought. Here I present a summary of our recent work on shark cognition using Port Jackson sharks as a model species. Port Jackson sharks are capable of associating artificial noises (music) with food rewards and can be trained to move to a specific location when they hear the noise. Sharks can not only learn individually but can also learn from observing or interacting with others (social learning). Sharks are also capable of quantity discrimination and, contrary to expectations, this ability is actually enhanced under global warming scenarios. Finally, we show that shark brains are lateralised much like the rest of the vertebrates. Laterality is associated with enhanced cognition and is also impacted by rearing embryos at increased temperatures. A better understanding of shark cognition helps us explore the driving forces behind shark behaviour and has implications for fisheries and animal welfare.

Pr Culum Brown

#1 Fascinating anomalies: understanding social parasitism by an African honey bee clone

28 May 2021, 2pm GMT

Cohesion in social insect colonies is regulated by the use of chemical signals produced by the queen, workers and brood. In honey bees, signals from the queen are vital for the regulation of reproductive division of labour ensuring that the queen remains the only reproductive female in the colony. However, even with this strict level of control, workers can, in principle by her, activate their ovaries and lay eggs. In this talk, we focus on an example of exception to the rule in the workers of the African Cape honey bee Apis mellifera capensis Eschscholtz, where a single clonal lineage of this subspecies evolved into facultative parasites that actively seek out colonies of other honey bee subspecies, invade and take over the role of reproduction in the presence of the resident queen. We will present the behavioural and physiological traits that accompany this fascinating behaviour specifically how the parasites exerts reproductive dominance and how the host queens regulate them.

Dr Fiona Mumoki

Dr Yusuf Abdullahi Ahmed

Suggested background reading

  • Yusuf, A.A., Pirk, C.W.W. & Crewe, R.M. 2015. Mandibular gland pheromone contents in workers and queens of Apis mellifera adansonii. Apidologie 46, 559–572. doi:10.1007/s13592-014-0346-6
  • Yusuf, A.A., Crewe, R.M., Pirk, C.W.W. 2018. Turning workers into false queens: the role of exogenous pheromones in regulating reproduction in worker honey bees. Journal of Experimental Biology 221 (13): jeb175505. doi:10.1242/jeb.175505
  • Mumoki, F.N., Pirk, C.W.W., Yusuf, A.A., Crewe, R. M. 2018. Reproductive parasitism by worker honey bees suppressed by queens through regulation of worker mandibular secretions. Scientific Reports 8, 7701. doi:10.1038/s41598-018-26060-w
  • Mumoki, F.N., Yusuf, A.A., Pirk, C.W.W., Crewe, R.M. 2021. The Biology of the Cape Honey Bee, Apis mellifera capensis (Hymenoptera: Apidae): A Review of Thelytoky and Its Influence on Social Parasitism and Worker Reproduction. Annals of the Entomological Society of America 114, 219–228. doi:10.1093/aesa/saaa056