Determine the social strategies associated with environmental fluctuations in a cave population located in the High Andean Forest

Project: Research project

Project Details


One of the most pressing questions in ecology is to understand how species respond and can adapt to changes in the environment. The ability to respond to these environmental fluctuations depends largely on the genetic and phenotypic variability present in the population. These changes represent a challenge for individuals and threaten the resilience and persistence of populations, especially under current conditions where changes are occurring at accelerated rates. Group life, a characteristic of many vertebrate species, is an adaptive response that emerges in response to environmental conditions (Alexander 1974). However, different environmental factors can lead to differences in social systems resulting in great variability not only between but within species. Moreover, social systems (composition, organization and structure) also vary between and within a population (Lott 1991). For example, the social system of the African striped mouse (Rhabdomys pumilio) varies according to environmental conditions: in the dry season they form groups while in the rainy season they are solitary (Schradin et al. 2006). However, our knowledge about the processes that give rise to this variation in social systems is still limited (Schradin 2013). Understanding this relationship allows us to explore the ecological mechanisms that enable populations to respond to environmental fluctuations.

These changes in social context can affect demographic parameters that, in turn, can influence population growth (Vandenbergh 1987). For example, strong social ties can affect the survival of individuals (Silk et al. 2009, 2010) and can have effects on population dynamics (Sutherland 1996). In this way, social context becomes a selection factor, which can influence the behavioral and reproductive strategies of individuals (Cockburn 1987). However, the relationship between group size, composition and social relationships in fitness is incomplete (Silk 2007). For this reason, it is relevant to investigate the social strategies associated with environmental fluctuations that allow us to understand, on the one hand, ecological and evolutionary causes of sociality, and on the other hand, the resilience mechanisms of a population. Understanding the relationship between the social system, ecology and population dynamics is important to understand how species can adapt to changes in the environment, which is particularly important given the accelerated rates at which change is occurring.

Commitments / Obligations

Los resultados/productos de este proyecto están relacionados con la generación de conocimiento y/o nuevos desarrollos tecnológicos:

-Publicación de un artículo científico en revista internacional indexada.
-Presentación de los resultados de la investigación en una conferencia nacional o internacional relacionada con el área de ecología.
-Apoyo a desarrollo de tesis de pregrado (1 estudiante).
-Desarrollo de un sistema para el monitoreo de poblaciones y de la socialidad de roedores.
StatusNot started
Effective start/end date10/15/219/15/22

Main Funding Source

  • Internal