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The Evolution of Parental Care

By: Nick J Royle(Editor), Per T Smiseth(Editor), Mathias Kölliker(Editor)

356 pages, 50 b/w photos and illustrations, tables

Oxford University Press

Paperback | Aug 2012 | #196528 | ISBN-13: 9780199692583
Availability: Usually dispatched within 5 days Details
NHBS Price: £50.99 $67/€57 approx
Hardback | Aug 2012 | #196529 | ISBN-13: 9780199692576
Availability: Usually dispatched within 5 days Details
NHBS Price: £102.50 $135/€115 approx

About this book

Parental care includes a wide variety of traits that enhance offspring development and survival. It is taxonomically widespread and is central to the maintenance of biodiversity through its close association with other phenomena such as sexual selection, life-history evolution, sex allocation, sociality, cooperation and conflict, growth and development, genetic architecture, and phenotypic plasticity.

This novel book provides a fresh perspective on the study of the evolution of parental care based on contributions from some of the top researchers in the field. It provides evidence that the dynamic nature of family interactions, and particularly the potential for co-evolution among family members, has contributed to the huge diversity of parental care behaviours expressed across as well as within taxa.

The Evolution of Parental Care aims to stimulate students and researchers alike to pursue exciting new directions in this fascinating and important area of behavioural and evolutionary biology.


T.H. Clutton-Brock: Foreword
1: Per T. Smiseth, Mathias Kölliker, and Nick J. Royle: What is parental care?

SECTION 1 - Origin and Evolution of Parental Care
2: Hope Klug, Suzanne H. Alonzo, and Michael B. Bonsall: Theoretical foundations of parental care
3: Carlos Alonso-Alvarez and Alberto Velando: Benefits and costs of parental care
4: Sigal Balshine: Patterns of parental care in vertebrates
5: Stephen T. Trumbo: Patterns of parental care in invertebrates
6: Hanna Kokko and Michael D. Jennions: Sex differences in parental care

SECTION 2 - Conflict and Cooperation in Parental Care
7: Rebecca M. Kilner and Camilla A. Hinde: Parent-offspring conflict
8: Alexandre Roulin and Amélie N. Dreiss: Sibling competition and cooperation over parental care
9: C. M. Lessells: Sexual conflict
10: Jan Komdeur: Sex allocation
11: Suzanne H. Alonzo and Hope Klug: Paternity, maternity, and parental care
12: Michael A. Cant: Cooperative breeding systems
13: Claire N. Spottiswoode, Rebecca M. Kilner, and Nicholas B. Davies: Brood parasitism

SECTION 3 - Evolutionary Genetics of Parental Care
14: Tobias Uller: Parental effects in development and evolution
15: Jarrod Hadfield: The quantitative genetic theory of parental effects
16: Mathias Kölliker, Nick J. Royle, and Per T. Smiseth: Parent-offspring co-adaptation
17: Frances A. Champagne and James P. Curley: Genetics and epigenetics of parental care

18: Nick J. Royle, Per T. Smiseth, and Mathias Kölliker: The evolution of parental care: summary, conclusions and implications


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Nick Royle is a senior lecturer in behavioural ecology at the University of Exeter with research interests centred on early life-history effects, sexual selection and parental care. He uses both vertebrate and invertebrate model systems in the field and in the lab for his research, and has published papers on parental care in a variety of journals, including Ecology Letters, Functional Ecology, Nature and Proceedings of the Royal Society B. He is a section editor for the journal BMC Ecology. After completing his PhD in zoology at the University of Durham he was a postdoctoral research associate at Lancaster University, working on within-family conflicts of interest over parental care in birds. Following this he did further postdoctoral research, this time on resource allocation and sexual selection in fish at the University of Glasgow, before taking up a NERC research fellowship on conflicts over parental care and moving to the University of Exeter's Tremough campus in Cornwall.

Per Smiseth is a lecturer in animal behaviour at The University of Edinburgh with research interests in the evolution and genetic basis of parental care and the resolution of within-family conflicts over parental care. He uses an experimental approach that focuses on the burying beetle Nicrophorus vespilloides, but he has a broad taxonomic background that includes work on parental care in birds and mammals. He has published papers on parental care in journal such as PNAS, Proceedings of the Royal Society B, The American Naturalist, Ecology, and Evolution. After finishing his PhD in Ethology at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, he moved to The University of Manchester as a postdoctoral research associate to develop N. vespilloides as an insect model for studying within-family conflicts. Since this postdoc, he continued his work on N. vespilloides as a NERC research fellow at The University of Manchester, until he took up a position as a lecturer at The University of Edinburgh.

Mathias Kölliker is an assistant professor in evolutionary biology at the University of Basel with research interests focusing on parent-offspring conflict and co-adaptation, and the genetic basis of social interactions. He uses mathematical modelling as well as experimental research in both the field and the lab, and has published papers on parental care and parent-offspring interactions in journals as, for example, The American Naturalist, Animal Behaviour, Behavioral Ecology, and Proceedings of the Royal Society B. After he finished his PhD in Evolutionary Ecology at the University of Bern he went as a postdoctoral research fellow to Indiana University in Bloomington, where he developed mathematical models of parent-offspring coadaptation and did experimental research on insect parental care and parent-offspring interactions. After this postdoc, he moved to the University of Basel to establish a research group working in these areas.

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