Friday, May 8, 2015

Labmeeting: talk on genetics and social behaviour

For next week’s lab meeting I would like to give a presentation of some of the work I have done in the last few years on genetics and social behaviour in great tits.

Two interacting great tits by Shirley Clarke

Title: The interplay between genes and social structure

Many animals regularly engage in interactions with conspecifics. Because those interactions can have fitness consequences, there is scope for selection on social traits. There are however some complications, because individuals change their social environment by interacting and therefore the selection pressures they face change as well. Individuals can also choose their environment by choosing with which individuals they interact. Lastly, social interactions also affect the spatial distribution of genotypes and therefore the local gene pool. I will present work on the great tit population of Wytham Woods (Oxford, UK). We constructed social networks of foraging great tits with automated radio frequency identification techniques. For all years a pedigree was constructed and for some years most individuals were also genotyped on a SNP-chip. I investigated the genetic basis of social behaviour and so-called indirect genetic effects. I also looked at the effect space and social structure had on the distribution of genotypes. I will discuss the results and their broader implications.

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