Cognition in a changing world: latest advances" in memory of Julie Morand-Ferron

Organizers: Laure Cauchard and Sarah Benson-Amram

The natural environment is currently changing at an unprecedented rate due to human activities, resulting in major ecological challenges for wild populations. Behavioural plasticity is considered as one of the fastest ways for individuals to face these challenges. However, such plasticity relies mainly on the ability to acquire and process information from the environment, i.e., cognition. How cognition can shape wildlife’s response to environmental changes and potentially mitigate anthropogenic impacts is receiving an increasing interest.
This symposium aims to present an overview of recent work investigating the links between cognition and adjustments to environmental changes, how intra/interspecific variation in cognition relates to coping with environmental changes and how results could be used to draw predictions and adjust conservation and management actions.
We want to dedicate this symposium to an outstanding researcher, professor, mother and friend who left the Cognitive Ecology community too soon: Dr. Julie Morand-Ferron. Our invited speakers, who all knew and worked with Julie, will emphasize her work and contributions to the field by presenting results and ongoing projects where Julie either directly contributed or was an inspiration.

Speakers: Neeltje Boogert, Simon Reader, Laure Cauchard, Emil Isaksson, Sarah Benson-Amram, Jean-Nicolas Audet, Pizza Ka Yee Chow, Denis Reale, Michael Reichert, Ben Ashton Lily Johnson-Ulrich, John Quinn, Kelsey McCune

The social domains of aging: Integrating sociality into our broader understanding of the aging process

Organizers: Marina Watowich and Erin Siracusa

Individuals within the same species exhibit great heterogeneity in lifespan and rates of senescence, or age-based deterioration culminating in mortality. But understanding why organisms senesce and why conspecifics do so at different rates remains a key question in ecology and evolution. Among social species, variation in social behaviors, such as social status and integration, are increasingly understood to impact health and survival. However, it remains unknown how sociality “gets under the skin” to affect aging, which has led to an increasing number of studies exploring the mechanistic links between sociality and healthy aging. Furthermore, sociality is part of an organism’s phenotype and can itself senesce, although this has received little attention compared to other traits. This ‘social aging’ may be a consequence of aged physiology (e.g., limited mobility), or animals may shift their social strategies with age to avoid aggression, interact with beneficial partners, or otherwise increase their fitness. Given the well-established links between sociality and fitness, these age-based changes in sociality are likely to feed back to influence other patterns of senescence and health outcomes in later life. It is therefore clear that integrating sociality into our broader understanding of the aging process is critical if we are to deepen our understanding of the forces shaping inter-individual variation in senescence. In this symposium we aim to bring together new work employing diverse theoretical, observational, and experimental approaches across a wide variety of taxa to offer insight and encourage future research on complex interplay between the aging process and sociality.

Speakers: Janet Mann, Molly McEntee, Judith Korb, Greg Albery, Antonio Rodrigues, Phoebe Cook, Eve Cooper, Alex Ophir, Tim Linksvayer, Erin Siracusa, Marina Watowich

The ecology of collective behavior

Organizer: Deborah M. Gordon

The symposium will explore how collective behavior responds to changing environmental conditions in a variety of animal societies. Collective behavior operates without central control, using local interactions among individuals. While the most familiar and spectacular forms are group movement, such as the spatial patterns of bird flocks or fish schools, many forms of social behavior operate collectively without central control. Collective behavior includes social networks, the fusion and fission of groups, group foraging behavior, and the allocation of tasks or reproduction within social groups. Like all behavior, collective behavior responds to changing conditions. The talks will report on collective response to changing conditions in many different animal groups, covering a broad range of social behavior, including cooperative breeding, herd movement, and social networks, in a variety of animal groups including birds, primates, ungulates, dolphins, fish, squid, spiders and ants.

Speakers: Kelly Benoit-Bird, Danai Papageorgiou, Dustin Rubinstein, Jenny Phillips, Jarod Merkle, Renee Duckworth, Catherine Markham, Leticia Avilés, James Stroud, Stephanie King, Elva Robinson

Conservation behavior as a tool to reduce the effects of anthropogenic stressors

Organizers: Elizabeth Peterson Kathleen Church, Brett Seymoure, Julie Young

Anthropogenic stressors are causing the first human-induced mass extinction event, with wildlife impacted in numerous ways. The field of conservation behavior addresses the impacts of anthropogenic stressors on animal behavior, and can therefore be used as a tool to understand and mitigate these impacts. Behavior-based management, where an understanding of behavior is used to develop management programs, and behavioral indicators, where behavioral responses to management programs are used to determine their success, both arise from conservation behavior research. This symposium will discuss the risks of various anthropogenic stressors for wildlife, as well as illustrate the successes and challenges of using conservation behavior to reduce the impacts of anthropogenic stressors across a variety of taxa. Our goals for the symposium are: 1) to bring diverse speakers together whose research identifies how conservation behavior can be used to tackle various anthropogenic stressors, 2) to identify common themes in conservation behavior research, and 3) to discuss new challenges and opportunities for the application of research in conservation behavior in order to reduce the impacts of anthropogenic stressors.

Speakers: Elizabeth K. Peterson, Yash Sondhi, Matt LeFauve, Kasey Fowler-Finn, Rachel Blakey, Lauren Stanton, Julia Kintsch, Kathleen Church, Alison Greggor, Mauricio Cantor, Bruce Schulte, Julie Young

Past-Presidential Symposium: The unsung heroes of ABS

Organizer: Eileen Hebets, ABS Immediate Past-President

Speakers: Rachel Chock, Barbara Clucas, Alex Trillo, Delia Shelton, Clara Voorhees, Jessica Cusick


Allee Symposium for Best Student Paper

Organizer: Emily DuVal, ABS Second President-Elect

This symposium features outstanding graduate student research, with an award for the best paper, and is a highlight of ABS meetings. The session honors Dr. Warder Clyde Allee (1885–1955), an animal behavior researcher who was very influential in the development and direction of animal behavior research in the 20th century. He was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1951 and ranks among the leading twentieth century ecologists, especially for his work in behavioral and animal ecology. In the 2022 ABS Allee Session, students will present their research to ABS members and talk judges.