Seminar: Thomas Brandt Ryder, Avian Social Networks (SCBI)
Host: Kevin Omland
Title: Social and Reproductive Dynamics of a Lek-breeding Bird
Short Title: Avian Social Networks
Social interactions are a ubiquitous characteristic of many animal taxa; yet our understanding of how social structure affects selection pressure, individual behavior, and subsequent fitness, is incomplete. The seminar will focus on the social and reproductive dynamics of a cooperatively lek-breeding bird, the wire-tailed manakin (Pipra filicauda). This system provides an ideal model for investigating the effect of social structure on reproductive skew, sexual selection and the evolution of cooperative display coalitions.
Important contributions from this project include: 1) the use of empirical data to test theoretical network models about the evolution of cooperative behavior (Ryder et al. 2008); 2) quantifying the role of social network connectivity for male fitness (Ryder et al. 2008; 2009); 3) molecular estimates of reproductive skew in a system characterized by male-male cooperation (Ryder et al. 2009); 4) an examination of the relationship between patterns of genetic relatedness and social network structure (Ryder et al. 2011a). In addition to describing past results, the seminar will explore planned research on the hormonal mechanisms that modulate behavioral variation and social network structure in manakins.