|Location||University of the Sunshine Coast, Office of Research|
|Eligibility||Australian residents only|
Long-term field studies which record the life histories of recognisableindividuals across multiple generations, while challenging, are key totesting the adaptive value of mammalian sociality (Silk 2007; Clutton-Brock& Sheldon 2010). For instance, long-term field studies conducted onprimates, ungulates and cetaceans have shown that both the quantity andquality of social relationships, measured as mean trait over the studyperiod, can influence fitness traits such as mortality risk (Silk et al.2003; Silk et al. 2009), ageing (Silk et al. 2010) and reproduction(Cameron et al. 2009; Frère et al. 2010; Schülke et al. 2010).While these studies have been instrumental in linking sociality to fitnesstraits, we are yet to fully understand the extent to which intraspecificvariation in social behaviour drives fitness variation.
In the last fiveyears, my research lab and I have been building a longitudinal behavioural,genetic and morphological dataset on eastern water dragons located at theRoma Street Parklands within Brisbane CBD. This is a unique populationcontains more than 350 adult resident dragons which are highly humanhabituated and easy to track, catch and manipulate. In the last few years,we have shown that dragons’ exhibit complex social behaviour similar tothose found in mammals and present an ideal system to study the adaptivesignificance of sociality. Here, I am interested to recruit a phd studentwith a keen interest in social evolution and a desire to develop novel waysto quantify within intraspecific variation in social behaviour to betterunderstand how individuals can manipulate their social environment tomaximize their own fitness.
My research lab uses longitudinallife-history datasets on wild populations comprising behavioural, spatialand genetic information to understand how free-living animals evolve in thewild. In particular, we aim to shed light on how environmental and socialfactors influence evolutionary processes (see Frere LabResearch).
Please contact Dr Celine Frere via email [email protected] more information