If you would like to be added to our EEB seminar notifications listserv, please contact

 Sheena Sanchez.


November 15, 2023

12:00pm, PST 1100 TLSB

Conner S. Philson
Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, UCLA, Los Angeles, CA, USA & Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory, Crested Butte, CO, USA

" Evolution of social position & structure – a multilevel selection perspective "

The extent the evolution of sociality was shaped by multilevel selection – a theoretical framework for natural selection occurring at levels of biological organization more than the gene – is a classic debate in biology. Though a common example, we do not know if multilevel selection acts on social behaviors in the wild. For multilevel selection to be applicable, sociality must be genetically heritable and have fitness consequences from two or more social levels (e.g., the individual and the group). While the consequences of individual social behaviors have been demonstrated, the consequences of emergent group social structure for the individuals who comprise the group is unknown. My talk will focus on two major questions: (1) what are the fitness consequences of group social structure and (2) is social behavior under multilevel selection in the wild? I ask these questions using a 19-year dataset on wild, free-living yellow-bellied marmots (Marmota flaviventer), a hibernating harem polygynous facultatively social rodent with variable and heritable social behaviors. Through this talk we will explore the evolution of social relationships and structures to contribute to a classic, largely unanswered question in biology.

Host: EEB Graduate Students