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DEPE | Séminaires BEEPSS / BEEPSS Seminars » Influence of drought on meerkat vocal coordination

Influence of drought on meerkat vocal coordination

Last update: : Tuesday 9 May 2017, by Nicolas Busser

Par : Marta Manser, University of Zurich
Date : jeudi 11 mai 2017 de 16h à 17h30
Lieu : IPHC, Amphithéâtre Grünewald, bâtiment 25

Extreme environmental conditions, such as droughts, affect animals’ physiology and behaviours, and increase the risk of death for individuals, to the extent of whole groups going extinct. Although, harsh and arid habitats are key factors in the evolution of cooperative breeding, the consequences of environmental extremes for cooperative behaviours are unclear. Here, I present our studies on the effect of drought on vocal coordination in meerkats (Suricata suricatta) within the contexts of group cohesion and sentinel behaviour. During the drought, individual body condition and foraging success were substantially reduced, and the number of group splits increased compared to the non-drought period. In my presentation I show how the underlying vocal mechanisms on group coordination was affected by the harsh conditions during the drought with the consequence of contributions to cooperative tasks decreasing and group cohesion falling apart.