Behavioural plasticity and the origins of parental care.

Great new paper from Kirke just out in Behavioral Ecology! This paper was a joint collaboration with BEER group alumni Luke Budd and Aryana Row and Dan Noble from UNSW. This paper examined the effect that simple parent-offspring associations during the early stages of life can have on offspring behaviour and cognition. It shows that offspring are more bold, active, and exploratory when with their mother compared with offspring who were alone. Offspring who were raised with their mother also learn quicker. Combined these results suggest that even relatively simple forms of parental care can have significant impacts on offspring traits early in life. Importantly, such effects may be crucial for refining and stabilizing parent–offspring associations early in their evolution, setting the stage for the further elaboration of both parent and offspring behaviors. Check out the full story here!

Munch, K.L., Nobel, D.W.A., Budd, L., Row, A., Wapstra, E. and While, G. M. (In press) Maternal presence facilitates plasticity in behaviour and learning: insights into the early evolution of parental careBehavioral Ecology.

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