Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Biosciences Seminar Speaker 27 April 2017

Biosciences Seminar Series - Spring 2017
27 April 2017 - 1pm - Zoology Museum

The Real Game of Thrones: Incest, Dominance and Warfare in Banded Mongooses

Dr Hazel Nichols

Picture by Hazel Nichols

After an Easter Break filled with pleasantly abundant sunshine and good weather, we are delighted to welcome Dr Hazel Nichols to start our Spring Seminar Series. Hazel is a lecturer in Animal Behaviour at the School of Natural Sciences and Psychology at Liverpool John Moores University (UK). Hazel is especially interested in understanding how animal societies evolve and to do so she combines multiple different methods, ranging from behavioural observations to biochemical, genetic and genomic approaches. Using this combined approach, Hazel is trying understand the genetic structure of mammalian societies (e.g. see here), the role of scent communication (e.g. see here) and inbreeding/inbreeding avoidance in cooperative species (e.g. see here), and how cooperation evolved.

Cooperative breeders present a particularly interesting case study for inbreeding (and its avoidance) as dispersal is delayed and sexually mature offspring remain with their family to help rear further young. This leads to a situation where groups often consist of close opposite-sex relatives with the potential to inbreed. While the majority of cooperative breeders successfully avoid incest, a small minority inbreed regularly. I will present the results of my work on one such species: the banded mongoose, where 8% of pups are the product of father-daughter or full sibling matings. Why is this species so different?

Hope to see many of you - everyone most welcome to attend!

For the list of forthcoming seminars see here

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