February 26 2015

5:00 pm BSRB 154

EcoEvoPub Series

Graduate Student Presentations


University of Irvine

"Deconstructing visual signals in social butterflies"

Aposematic passion-vine butterflies show the curious behavior of gathering together into groups to roost for the night. Despite nearly 150 years of popular and scientific interest, the purpose of this behavior has remained a mystery. It has been hypothesized to be beneficial in terms of information sharing and/or anti-predator defense.

Here I explore why butterflies exploit this unusual behavior to find out exactly what the benefit of being a social butterfly is. Following studies on roosting behavior, I aim to dissect various visual signals communicated by these brightly colored butterflies in the context of both natural and sexual selection by investigating the relative contributions of color versus pattern cues in predator avoidance and mate recognition.

Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

"California sea lion foraging of endangered salmon at the Bonneville Dam; Preliminary evidence for social transmission and implications for management"

Socially transmitted behaviors (eg. social learning) rapidly diffuse through populations like a disease. Understanding the dynamics of behavioral transmission is necessary for management activities aimed at reducing the incidence of undesirable wildlife behaviors. The rapid recruitment of California sea lions to the Bonneville dam impedes endangered salmonid recovery, and suggests that some form of social transmission is drawing new individuals to the novel food source. We used Network-based transmission analysis (NBDA), and long-term observations of individual sea lion’s haul out patterns to test for whether the behavior is transmitted across existing social connections. There was strong support for models with social transmission of the dam foraging behavior, especially in comparison to the support of models with no social transmission. Social transmission of the dam foraging behavior can be used to inform current management activities.















































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































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