Symposium - "Studying Animal Cooperation in the Wild and in the Lab"

Keynote speakers: Bonaventura Majolo (UK) & Sarah Marshall-Pescini / Jorg Massen (Austria)

Over the last few decades animal cooperation has received increasing scientific attention. Observations of remarkable behaviours in the wild, such as cooperative hunting or the formation of complex alliances to gain advantages over other group members have often been the starting point of such investigations. Such behaviours observed in the wild have often been explained by attributing highly complex cognitive mechanisms to the species involved. However, controlled laboratory studies have allowed researchers to test the proximate mechanisms of cooperation, in some cases confirming the supposed cognitive complexity of cooperation but in other cases revealing that simple mechanisms can drive apparently complex cooperative behaviours. Laboratory studies however also have severe limitations, since they generally comprise set-ups that are ecologically irrelevant to the species tested, severely compromising the validity of null-results, and often contribute little to the investigation of the function of cooperative behaviours.
The aim of the symposium is to promote a dialogue between field workers and experimental scientist working on cooperation in the wild and in the lab., We aim to explore how each setting can contribute to answering questions regarding both the function and the mechanisms underlying cooperation and investigate the potential methodological synergies between the two approaches.

Consequently we particularly encourage contributions that merge field and experimental methodologies and/or have devised innovative ways to address in one setting questions traditionally addressed in the other.


The European Conference of Behavioural Biology | Universit├Ątsring 1  | 1010 Wien