Past projects - to be resurrected!

Individual variation & species interactions
Individual variation & species interactions

Perhaps most impressive on the laundry list of ecological consequences of animal personality is that these consistent individual differences in behavior can alter the very nature of species interactions. By pairing individuals of different behavioral types, we can observe amensalism become mutualism, and commensalism transform into parasitism.

What's more, this suggests that the composition of behavioral types in one or more interacting species will likely have far-reaching consequences on community dynamics. We test the community consequences of individual variation using species pairs and tri-trophic systems. 

     Representative publications:

      Keiser et al. 2015. Arthropod-Plant Interactions
Keiser and Pruit 2014. Behavioral Ecology

      Sweeney et al. 2013. Behavioral Ecology

Future goals to be resurrected by students/collaborators:

  1. How does the representation of different behavioral phenotypes in one species alter the nature of interactions between two other species?

  2. What is the role of infectious disease in altering species interactions and community dynamics?

spatial architecture of clonal aggregations

Animals in social aggregations will position themselves within the group in such a way to reduce risks (e.g., predation, parasitism) and increase benefits (e.g., access to potential mates and food). Much of our understanding of these dynamics comes from animals where an individual should value its own fitness over another. Aggregations of clonal animals like sea anemones or aphids, however, are made up of individuals that share identical genotypes. How, then,do colonies of clonal animals alter their spatial structure and group composition (i.e., behavioral and morphological) in response to threats? Here, we studied how cues of predation risk alter the spatial structure of aphid colonies

     Representative publications:

      Keiser and Mondor, 2013; Journal of Insect Behavior

      Keiser et al., 2013; Arthropod-Plant Interactions

      Keiser and Mondor, 2014; Ethology

Future goals to be resurrected by students/collaborators:

  1. To what degree does intra-clonal variation in behavioral phenotypes alter colony spatial structure?

  2. How dynamic are feeding site choices across short/long time scales? Does this differ across individual behavioral/morphological phenotypes?