Universität Bern

HIGHLIGHTS

PNAS - Divergence of developmental trajectories is triggered interactively by early social and ecological experience in a cooperative breeder. Fischer, Bohn, Oberhummer, Nyman & B. Taborsky
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commentary on Fischer et al

PNAS - Predation risk drives social complexity in cooperative breeders. Groenewoud, Frommen, Josi, Tanaka, Jungwirth & Taborsky
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The evolution of cooperation based on direct fitness benefits. Phil Trans theme issue compiled and edited by Taborsky M., Frommen JG & Riehl C. (2016)
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Link

NATURE COMMUNICATIONS Kinship reduces alloparental care in cooperative cichlids where helpers pay-to-stay
Zoettl M., Heg D., Chervet N. & Taborsky M. (2013)
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Social competence: an evolutionary approach
Taborsky, B. & Oliveira, R.F.
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Larval helpers and age polyethism in ambrosia beetles
Biedermann P.H.W. & Taborsky M.
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Animal personality due to social niche specialisation
Bergmueller R. & Taborsky M.
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Environmental Change Enhances Cognitive Abilities in Fish
Kotrschal, A. & Taborsky, B.
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Extended phenotypes as signals
Franziska C. Schaedelin and Michael Taborsky
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On the Origin of Species by Natural and Sexual Selection
G. Sander van Doorn, Pim Edelaar, Franz J. Weissing
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Cambridge University Press
Alternative Reproductive Tactics: An Integrative
Approach

Oliveira R., Taborsky M. & Brockmann H.J.
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more information

The evolution and ecology of cooperative breeding: using the cichlid fish Neolamprologus pulcher as a model


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‘In social species [natural selection] will adapt the structure of each individual for the benefit of the community, if each in consequence profits by the selected change.’(Charles Darwin 1859, The Origin of Species).

Charles Darwin considered the apparently widespread occurrence of ‘altruistic’ behaviour in the animal kingdom as one of the most important test cases for his theory of evolution by natural selection. The evolution of cooperative behaviour has somehow remained enigmatic to the students of biology until the development of kin selection theory by William D. Hamilton in 1967. This theory inspired research into the origin and maintenance of cooperative behaviour in a wide range of animal taxa. Cooperative behaviour has been shown to provide individuals with either direct fitness benefits (e.g. mutualism, reciprocity) or indirect benefits (e.g. helping kin to raise offspring)

pulcher_defense

We study the behavioural ecology of cooperative breeding in the cichlid fish Neolamprologus pulcher/brichardi from Lake Tanganyika. This cichlid lives in extended families: both male and female offspring remain in their natal territory and help to defend and maintain the territory and to raise broods produced by the territory owners. In laboratory and field experiments we manipulate various aspects of these families (e.g. helper size, group size and composition, relatedness) and the environment (e.g. the densities of conspecifics, predators and breeding sites), and we record the effects of these manipulations on helper behaviour, helper dispersal and reproductive skew (the reproductive share of group members). With help of DNA-microsatellite analyses we study the composition of natural families and paternity. Dynamic programming and dynamic game theory are used to find optimal and stable solutions to reproductive competition and alternative life history options of breeders and helpers.

Publications

Jungwirth, A., Josi, D., Walker, J. & Taborsky, M. (2015): Benefits of coloniality: communal defence saves anti-predator effort in cooperative breeders. Funct. Ecol.  [pdf]

Zöttl M., Fischer S., & Taborsky M. (2013): Partial brood care compensation by female breeders in response to experimental manipulation of alloparental care. Anim. Behav. 85:1471-1478 [pdf]

Zöttl M., Frommen J.G. & Taborsky M. (2013): Group size adjustment to ecological demand in a cooperative breeder. Proc. Roy. Soc. Lond. B 280:20122772 [pdf]

Zöttl M., Heg D., Chervet N. & Taborsky M. (2013): Kinship reduces alloparental care in cooperative cichlids where helpers pay-to-stay. Nature Commun. 4:1341 [pdf]

Zöttl M., Chapuis L., Freiburghaus M. & Taborsky M. (2013): Strategic reduction of help before dispersal in a cooperative breeder. Biol. Lett. 9:20120878 [pdf]

Riebli T., Taborsky M., Chervet N., Apolloni N., Zürcher Y. & Heg D. (2012): Behavioural type, status and social context affect behaviour and resource allocation in cooperatively breeding cichlids. Anim. Behav. 84:925-936 [pdf]

Bruintjes R., Bonfils D., Heg D. & Taborsky M. (2011): Paternity of subordinates raises cooperative effort in cichlids. PLoS ONE 6:e25673 [pdf]

Riebli T., Avgan B., Bottini A.M., Duc C., Taborsky M. & Heg D. (2011): Behavioural type affects dominance and growth in staged encounters of cooperatively breeding cichlids. Anim. Behav. 81:313-323 [pdf]

Le Vin A.L., Mable B.K., Taborsky M., Heg D. & Arnold K.E. (2011): Individual variation in helping in a cooperative breeder: relatedness versus behavioural type. Anim. Behav. 82:467-477 [pdf]

Chervet N., Zöttl M., Schürch R., Taborsky M. & Heg D. (2011): Repeatability and heritability of behavioural types in a social cichlid. Int. J. Evol. Biol. ID:321729[pdf]

Bruintjes R. & Taborsky M. (2011): Size-dependent task specialization in a cooperative cichlid in response to experimental variation of demand. Anim. Behav. 81:387-394 [pdf]

Heg D. & Taborsky M. (2010): Helper response to experimentally manipulated predation risk in the cooperatively breeding cichlid Neolamprologus pulcher. PLoS ONE 5:e10784 [pdf]

Bruintjes R., Hekman R. & Taborsky M. (2010): Experimental global food reduction raises resource acquisition costs of brood care helpers and reduces their helping effort. Funct. Ecol. 24:1054-1063 [pdf]

Mitchell J.S., Jutzeler E., Heg D. & Taborsky M. (2009): Gender differences in the costs that subordinate group members impose on dominant males in a cooperative breeder. Ethology 115:1162-1174 [pdf]

Mitchell J.S., Jutzeler E., Heg D. & Taborsky M. (2009): Dominant members of cooperatively-breeding groups adjust their behaviour in response to the sexes of subordinates. Behaviour 146:1665-1686 [pdf]

Bender N., Taborsky M., & Power D.M. (2008): The role of prolactin in the regulation of brood care in the cooperatively breeding fish Neolamprologus pulcher. J. Exp. Zool. 309A:515–524 [pdf]

Bruintjes R. & Taborsky M. (2008): Helpers in a cooperative breeder pay a high price to stay: effects of demand, helper size and sex. Anim. Behav. 75:1843-1850 [pdf]

Heg D., Heg-Bachar Z., Brouwer L. & Taborsky M. (2008): Experimentally induced helper dispersal in colonially breeding cooperative cichlids. Environ. Biol. Fish. 83:191-206 [pdf]

Dierkes P., Taborsky M. & Achmann R. (2008): Multiple paternity in the cooperatively breeding fish Neolamprologus pulcher. Behav. Ecol. Sociobiol. 62:1581–1589 [pdf]

Bender N., Heg-Bachar Z., Oliveira R.F., Canario A.V.M., & Michael Taborsky (2008): Hormonal control of brood care and social status in a cichlid fish with brood care helpers. Physiol. Behav. 94:349-358 [pdf]

Heg D., Bergmüller R., Bonfils D., Otti O., Bachar Z., Burri R., Heckel G. & Taborsky M. (2006): Cichlids do not adjust reproductive skew to the availability of independent breeding options. Behav.l Ecol. 17:419-429 [pdf]

Bender N., Heg D., Hamilton I.M., Bachar Z., Taborsky M. & Oliveira R.F. (2006): The relationship between social status, behaviour, growth and steroids in male helpers and breeders of a cooperatively breeding cichlid. Horm. Behav. 50:173-182 [pdf]

Dierkes P., Heg D., Taborsky M., Skubic E., & Achmann R. (2005): Genetic relatedness in groups is sex-specific and declines with age of helpers in a cooperatively breeding cichlid. Ecol. Lett. 8:968-975 [pdf]

Heg D., Bachar Z. & Taborsky M. (2005): Cooperative breeding and group structure in the Lake Tanganyika cichlid Neolamprologus savoryi. Ethology 111:1017-1043 [pdf]

Stiver K.A., Dierkes P., Taborsky M., Gibbs H.L. & Balshine S. (2005): Relatedness and helping in fish: examining the theoretical predictions. Proc. Roy. Soc. Lond. B 272:1593-1599 [pdf]

Brouwer L., Heg D. & Taborsky M. (2005): Experimental evidence for helper effects in a cooperatively breeding cichlid. Behav. Ecol. 16:667-673 [pdf]

Heg D., Brouwer L., Bachar Z. & Taborsky M. (2005): Large group size yields group stability in the cooperatively breeding cichlid Neolamprologus pulcher. Behaviour 142:1615-1641 [pdf]

Dierkes P., Heg D., Taborsky M., Skubic E., & Achmann R. (2005): Genetic relatedness in groups is sex-specific and declines with age of helpers in a cooperatively breeding cichlid. Ecol. Lett. 8:968-975 [pdf]

Bergmüller R., Heg D. & Taborsky M. (2005): Helpers in a cooperatively breeding cichlid stay and pay or disperse and breed, depending on ecological constraints. Proc. Roy. Soc. Lond. B 272:325-331 [pdf]

Bergmüller R. & Taborsky M. (2005): Experimental manipulation of helping in a cooperative breeder: helpers 'pay to stay' by pre-emptive appeasement. Anim. Behav. 69:19-28 [pdf]

Stiver K.A., Dierkes P., Taborsky M. & Balshine S. (2004): Dispersal patterns and status change in a co-operatively breeding cichlid Neolamprologus pulcher: evidence from microsatellite analyses and behavioural observations. J. Fish Biol. 65:91-105 [pdf]

Heg D., Bachar Z., Brouwer L. & Taborsky M. (2004): Predation risk is an ecological constraint for helper dispersal in a cooperatively breeding cichlid. Proc. Roy. Soc. Lond. B 271:2367-2374 [pdf]

Balshine S., Leach B., Neat F., Reid H.,Taborsky M. & Werner, N. (2001): Correlates of group size in a cooperatively breeding cichlid Fish. Behav. Ecol. Sociobiol. 50:134-140 [pdf]

Dierkes P., Taborsky M. & Kohler U. (1999): Reproductive parasitism of broodcare helpers in a cooperatively breeding fish. Behav. Ecol. 10:510-515 [pdf]

Balshine-Earn S., Neat F.C., Reid H. & Taborsky M. (1998): Paying to stay or paying to breed? Field evidence for direct benefits of helping behavior in a cooperatively breeding fish. Behav. Ecol. 9:432-438 [pdf]

Taborsky M. & Grantner A. (1998): Behavioural time-energy budgets of cooperatively breeding Neolamprologus pulcher (Pisces: Cichlidae). Anim. Behav. 56:1375-1382 [pdf]

Grantner A. & Taborsky M. (1998): The metabolic rates associated with resting, and with the performance of agonistic, submissive and digging behaviours in the cichlid fish Neolamprologus pulcher (Pisces: Cichlidae). J. Comp. Physiol. B 168:427-433 [pdf]

Taborsky M. (1994): Sneakers, Satellites and Helpers: Parasitic and Cooperative Behaviour in Fish Reproduction. Advances in the Study of Behavior 23: 1-100. [pdf, 4.1 MB]

Taborsky M. (1985): Breeder - Helper Conflict in a Cichlid Fish with Broodcare Helpers: an Experimental Analysis. Behaviour 95, 45-75. [pdf, 1.5 MB]

Taborsky M. (1984): Broodcare Helpers in the Cichlid Fish Lamprologus brichardi: their Costs and Benefits. Animal Behaviour 32, 1236-1252. [pdf, 1.1 MB]

Taborsky M. & Limberger D. (1981): Helpers in Fish. Behavioural Ecology and Sociobiology 8, 143-145. [pdf, 272 KB]