Cooperative breeding beyond kinship: why else do helpers help?

  title={Cooperative breeding beyond kinship: why else do helpers help?},
  author={Paul G. Mcdonald},
  journal={Emu - Austral Ornithology},
  pages={91 - 96}
  • P. Mcdonald
  • Published 30 May 2014
  • Environmental Science
  • Emu - Austral Ornithology
One of themost widely studied forms of cooperative behaviour is the phenomenon of cooperative breeding, where ‘helpers’ care for young that are not their own (Cockburn 1998; Pacheco et al. 2008). Cooperative systems are present in taxa as diverse as slime mould, eusocial insects and a broad-range of vertebrates, including mammals, fish, reptiles and birds (Queller and Strassmann 1998; Clutton-Brock 2002; Mehdiabadi et al. 2006). Fittingly, a large body of research has been devoted to… 
The relative importance of spatial proximity, kin selection and potential ‘greenbeard’ signals on provisioning behaviour among helpers in a cooperative bird
Network analysis suggests an important role of kinship in shaping helping dynamics in a complex cooperative society, apparently determined via an acoustic ‘greenbeard’ signal in this system.
Cooperative breeding in reindeer (Rangifer tarandus): testing the hypothesized causes of allosuckling and allonursing.
The results of this thesis demonstrate that the direct fitness benefits of milk-theft, reciprocal allonursing and improved nutrition and mass gain maintain all onursing in reindeer, and suggest that the indirect Fitness benefits of alloparental care may have been overestimated.
Post‐fragmentation population structure in a cooperative breeding Afrotropical cloud forest bird: emergence of a source‐sink population network
The overall trend of increasing population sizes and genetic admixture may suggest that Cabanis's greenbuls increasingly cope with fragmentation, but the time period over which these trends were documented is rather short relative to the average longevity of tropical species.
The complex acoustic repertoire of a highly social species, the Noisy Miner, Manorina melanocephala
The acoustic repertoire of the Noisy Miner, Manorina melanocephala, a cooperative species that lives in large colonies is examined, quantifying the rich vocal repertoire of this social species, and provides further implications for the link between cooperative breeding and large vocal repertoires.
Alarm calls of a cooperative bird are referential and elicit context-specific antipredator behavior
Novel evidence is presented that a social bird species possesses 2 distinct alarm calls for aerial versus terrestrial predators that can inform others of both the type of predator and its likely location.
Biological, behavioural and life history traits associated with range expansion of common mynas (Acridotheres tristis) in Australia
This thesis aims to clarify the role of juvenile populations in common mynas at the two extremes of the invasion wave, and to explore their role in the spread of invasive species in Australia.


Kin selection, not group augmentation, predicts helping in an obligate cooperatively breeding bird
It is concluded that kin selection plays a central role in the maintenance of cooperative breeding in this species, despite the apparent importance of living in large groups.
It is argued that there is no obvious dichotomy between cooperative societies based on natal philopatry and the formation of extended families, and those formed via recruitment of unrelated individuals into coalitions.
Multiple Benefits Drive Helping Behavior in a Cooperatively Breeding Bird: An Integrated Analysis
It was found that subordinates fed siblings more than unrelated nestlings, indicating that kin selection could facilitate cooperation and the effect of relatedness on feeding effort varied depending on the probability of inheriting a breeding position, suggesting that active group augmentation can explain investment by unrelated subordinates.
Breeding together: kin selection and mutualism in cooperative vertebrates.
It now seems likely that the evolutionary mechanisms maintaining cooperative breeding are diverse and that, in some species, the direct benefits of helping may be sufficient to maintain cooperative societies.
Helping behaviour and parental care in fairy-wrens (Malurus)
It is shown that these three aspects of helping behaviour lack compelling explanations, and hypotheses to explain each phenomenon are developed, which will greatly enhance understanding of the remarkable social system of Malurus, and inform the study of cooperative breeding and sexual conflict in general.
Integrating cooperative breeding into theoretical concepts of cooperation
The evolution of cooperative breeding in birds: kinship, dispersal and life history
  • B. Hatchwell
  • Biology
    Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
  • 2009
The evolution of cooperation among animals has posed a major problem for evolutionary biologists, and despite decades of research into avian cooperative breeding systems, many questions about the
Division of labour within cooperatively breeding groups
Within cooperative societies, group members share in caring for offspring. Although division of labour among group members has been relatively well studied in insects, less is known about
The Inheritance of Territory in Group-Breeding Birds
It is hypothesized in this paper that, in certain species, remaining home and helping represents a strategy used by nonbreeders to inherit the space necessary for breeding.
The role of kinship in helping decisions among white-fronted bee-eaters
It is concluded that kinship is a major determinant in the decisions both of whether to become a helper, and of whom to help, in white-fronted bee-eaters.