Sinead English

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The evolution of adaptive phenotypic plasticity relies on the presence of cues that enable organisms to adjust their phenotype to match local conditions. Although mostly studied with respect to nonsocial cues, it is also possible that parents transmit information about the environment to their offspring. Such 'anticipatory parental effects' or 'adaptive(More)
Animals that live in cooperative societies form hierarchies in which dominant individuals reap disproportionate benefits from group cooperation. The stability of these societies requires subordinates to accept their inferior status rather than engage in escalated conflict with dominants over rank. Applying the logic of animal contests to these cases(More)
In many cooperatively breeding societies, only a few socially dominant individuals in a group breed, reproductive skew is high, and reproductive conflict is common. Surprisingly, the effects of this conflict on dominant reproductive success in vertebrate societies have rarely been investigated, especially in high-skew societies. We examine how subordinate(More)
Parents influence the development of their offspring in many ways beyond the transmission of DNA. This includes transfer of epigenetic states, nutrients, antibodies and hormones, and behavioural interactions after birth. While the evolutionary consequences of such non-genetic inheritance are increasingly well understood, less is known about how inheritance(More)
In species where young are provisioned by both parents, males commonly contribute less to parental care than females, and are less responsive to variation in begging rates. Similar differences in the care of young occur among adults in cooperative breeders, but fewer studies have investigated whether these are associated with differences in responsiveness.(More)
The social niche specialization hypothesis predicts that group-living animals should specialize in particular social roles to avoid social conflict, resulting in alternative life-history strategies for different roles. Social niche specialization, coupled with role-specific life-history trade-offs, should thus generate between-individual differences in(More)
Life-history theory predicts that nutrition influences lifespan owing to trade-offs between allocating resources to reproduction, growth and repair. Despite occasional reports that early diet has strong effects on lifespan, it is unclear whether this prediction is generally supported by empirical studies. We conducted a meta-analysis across experimental(More)
Adults vary in their generosity in provisioning the young and their sensitivity to the need of the young. Do the young modulate their behaviour so as to specifically target more high-provisioning adults? This is especially likely in situations with mobile, nutritionally dependent young. We studied cooperatively breeding meerkats Suricata suricatta, in which(More)
Mating between relatives often results in negative fitness consequences or inbreeding depression. However, the expression of inbreeding in populations of wild cooperative mammals and the effects of environmental, maternal and social factors on inbreeding depression in these systems are currently not well understood. This study uses pedigree-based inbreeding(More)
Resource availability plays a key role in driving variation in somatic growth and body condition, and the factors determining access to resources vary considerably across life stages. Parents and carers may exert important influences in early life, when individuals are nutritionally dependent, with abiotic environmental effects having stronger influences(More)