Vol. 61, No. 1 | February 2016

ABS Meeting Plenary Sessions and Symposia


Frans de Waal (Emory University)

Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals are?

Frans de Waal is an eminent primatologist and ethologist who is best known for his work on social behavior in chimpanzees and bonobos. de Waal’s early research concerned competition, conflict resolution, and deception, inspiring advances in the field of primate cognition and laying the groundwork for studies of cooperation and fairness. His more recent work has focused on the evolution of empathy and morality, designating bonobos as ‘the make love – not war’ primate. He has also applied his research on primate morality to human societies with an exploration of the role of religion in shaping human interactions. de Waal has authored or edited 14 books, including Chimpanzee Politics, The Age of Empathy, and The Bonobo and the Atheist. His latest book (Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are?) will be published by W.W. Norton in April, 2016. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and is the C.H. Candler Professor of Primate Behavior at Emory University.

Vanessa Ezenwa (University of Georgia)

Parasites and Behavior: Old Ideas and New Insights

Parasites can have profound effects on animal behavior. For example, parasites are considered to be a major cost of group-living that imposes constraints on social group size. Larger group sizes favor the transmission of parasites for a variety of reasons, and associations between group size and more intense parasite infections have been documented in many species. However, recent insights from eco-immunology, microbial ecology, and physiological ecology suggest interesting ways in which the parasite-related costs of group-living might be offset under certain circumstances. In this talk, I describe two mechanisms that potentially counterbalance the parasite costs of group-living, and consider the implications for our understanding of the connections between social behavior and parasitism.

Lauren O'Connell (Harvard University)

Parenthood on the Brain: Neural Mechanisms of Piggyback Rides and Nursing Behavior in Poison Frogs

Specialized parental care strategies have evolved independently many times in response to different selective pressures and ecological constraints, but the mechanistic basis of these behavioral phenotypes remains unclear, especially in males. Moreover, separating the mechanisms of pair bonding from those underlying preparations for the onset of parental behavior is difficult, given that pair bonding is coupled with paternal care in most animals. The best strategy for identifying mechanisms governing parental care is to perform a comparative analysis across closely related species that vary in parental care strategies in a manner that is independent of pair-bonding. Poison frogs are the best model clade for this research, as they show diverse parental care strategies amongst closely related species. Using the latest tools in genomics and neuroscience within a comparative context, we have identified core neural mechanisms that promote parental care and sheds light on how behavioral and neural plasticity influence the evolution of diverse reproductive strategies.


Juan Carlos Reboreda (University of Buenos Aires)

Adaptations to Brood Parasitism in Host Generalist and Host Specialist Cowbirds

Obligate avian brood parasites, like cuckoos and cowbirds lay their eggs in the nests of other species (hosts), which provide all parental care to the parasitic offspring. The exploitation of parental care by brood parasites typically entails fitness costs to host parents and these interactions may result in a coevolutionary arms race in which hosts evolve defenses against parasitism that, in turn, select for counterdefenses in parasite populations. In this talk I will describe some adaptations to brood parasitism in the Shiny Cowbird (Molothrus bonariensis), an extreme host generalist that uses more than 250 species, and the Screaming Cowbird (M. rufoaxillaris), a host specialist that parasitizes almost exclusively one species. I will analyze the prospecting of host nests by female Shiny Cowbirds and discuss their memory abilities for remembering the precise location and nesting stage of multiple host nests within the home range. I will also describe behavioral flexibility of egg pecking behavior by Shiny Cowbird females and begging behavior by Shiny Cowbird chicks depending on brood conditions. Finally, I will show evidence of visual and vocal mimicry between the fledglings of Screaming Cowbirds and those of its primary host.



Comparative Canine Behavior
Organizers: Robin Foster and Camille Ward

New Frontiers in Animal Communication: In Honor of H. Carl Gerhardt
Organizers: Margaret Ptacek and Felix Breden

Using Tinbergen’s Four Questions to Understand Emerging Conservation Concerns in Behavioral Toxicology
Organizers: Elizabeth Peterson and John Swaddle

Behavioral Genomics in Non-Model Systems
Organizers: David Schulz, Johannes Schul and Zuleyma Tang-Martinez

Presidential Symposium
Organizer: Regina Macedo

Allee Symposium for Best Student Poster Paper
Organizer: Jeff Podos

For more informarion, please visit the ABS conference website: http://www.animalbehaviorsociety.org/2016/program-symposia.php

ABS Newsletter

Send general correspondence concerning the Society to Sue Bertram, [email protected]. Deadlines for materials to be included in the Newsletter are the 15th of the month preceding each issue. The next deadline is April 15, 2016. Articles submitted by members of the Society and judged by the Secretary to be appropriate are occasionally published in the ABS newsletter. The publication of such material does not imply ABS endorsement of the opinions expressed by contributors.

Animal Behaviour

Animal Behaviour, manuscripts and editorial matters: Authors should submit manuscripts online to Elsevier’s Editorial System (http://ees.elsevier.com/anbeh/). For enquiries relating to submissions prior to acceptance, contact the Journal Manager ([email protected]). For enquiries relating to submissions after acceptance, visit Elsevier at http://www.elsevier.com/journals. For other general correspondence, contact Kris Bruner, Managing Editor, Animal Behaviour, Indiana University, 407 N. Park Ave., Bloomington, IN 47408, USA. E-mail: [email protected].
Phone: 812-935-7188.

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