Behavioral interference between species: research at the intersection of ethology, ecology and evolution

A full-day symposium at the University of Exeter, following the International Society for Behavioral Ecology (ISBE) Conference.

When: August 3rd, 2016

Organizers: Greg Grether (University of California Los Angeles), Kathryn Peiman (Carleton University), Beren Robinson (University of Guelph)

Speakers: Emily Burdfield-Steel (University of Jyväskylä), Jana Anja Eccard (University of Potsdam), Shigeki Kishi (National Institute for Environmental Studies, Japan), Paola Laiolo (Oviedo University), Topi Lehtonen (University of Turku), Eryn McFarlane (Uppsala University), Tamra Mendelson (University of Maryland), Leszek Rychlik (Adam Mickiewicz University), Joseph A. Tobias (Imperial College)

Abstract: Few subjects attract as much attention in behavioral ecology as aggression and sex, and yet curiously, research tends to stop at species boundaries even when the behaviors themselves do not. Exciting recent advances have been made toward understanding the causes and consequences of behavioral interference between species. Competition is a cornerstone topic in ecology, and aggression is the most common form of interference competition in animals, yet most research has focused exclusively on exploitative competition despite early recognition that interference competition is common. While often characterized as “mistakes”, interference behaviors can be adaptive. Reproductive interference has long been studied in the context of hybridization and speciation, but many sexual interactions between species do not lead to hybridization and yet still can have important ecological and evolutionary effects. Our goal is to inspire behavioral ecologists to consider the causes and consequences of interference among their study species, its role in speciation and post-speciation diversification, and its conservation implications in a changing world.