From simple, invariant behaviour to complex social populations

Institute Seminar by Daniel Oro

  • Date: Dec 5, 2023
  • Time: 10:30 AM - 11:30 AM (Local Time Germany)
  • Speaker: Daniel Oro
  • Daniel Oro earned his PhD in Biology from the University of Barcelona in 1996. Following this, he undertook post-doctoral research in France (CNRS-Montpellier) and the UK (University of Glasgow). Since 2003, he has held a Professorship with CSIC, the primary research institution in Spain. He established the Population Ecology Group, which brings together researchers from diverse fields with a shared interest in quantitative ecology, evolution, and the conservation of endangered species and ecosystems. Additionally, the group focused on understanding processes and patterns related to population dynamics. All of his former PhD students now hold academic positions in universities and research centers, both in Spain and abroad (Norway, UK). He enjoys visiting other laboratories, and has received two Fulbright fellowships in the USA (at the University of Boulder-Colorado and the University of California-Davis).
  • Location: Hybrid meeting
  • Room: Seminar room MPI-AB Bücklestrasse + Online
  • Host: Max Planck Institute of Animal Behavior
  • Contact:
From simple, invariant behaviour to complex social populations
The prevailing perspective on ecological interactions' influence on fitness and ecosystem dynamics has traditionally favoured competition over cooperation, likely influenced by Darwin's theory of natural selection. However, the origin of life was probably shaped only by cooperation, giving rise to the emergence of sociality and the sharing of public information for resource acquisition. Over time, intricate forms of social organization have evolved, yet invariant, simple behaviours —social copying and conspecific attraction— remain shared among all social animals, spanning from Archaea to primates. This talk centers on how these two basic behavioural processes may elucidate certain emergent features within complex social populations, including instances of cultural punctuated evolution. Simple behaviour holds the capacity to generate features of complexity, such as feedback mechanisms, self-organization, and non-equilibrium states, as well as functional attributes like adaptation and memory. Social copying and conspecific attraction prove remarkably effective for information gathering and decision-making, particularly in scenarios involving perturbations such as invasions and warfare. Crucially, decisions concerning public information not only impact individual fitness prospects but also exert significant influence on complex population dynamics. Examples are the emergence of non-linear responses, exemplified by phenomena like transients and tipping points within populations and metapopulations. This becomes particularly evident when considering the interplay between philopatry and dispersal in social animals, including humans.

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