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Research GELIFES Research

The role of consistent individual differences in adaptation

The former institutes CBN and CEES are renowned for their research on 'animal personalities', i.e., systematic individual differences in physiology or behaviour that are stable in time and consistent across contexts. The study of such individual differences is currently a hot topic in the animal and human behavioural sciences, in ecology and evolution, in the medical and pharmaceutical sciences, and also in fields like microbiology or robotics. Individual differences can be viewed from an evolutionary perspective (When and why does selection lead to the coexistence of different behavioural types? How are behavioural syndromes shaped by selection? What are the evolutionary implications of consistent individual variation within populations?) and from a mechanistic perspective (Which developmental and physiological processes give rise to consistent individual differences? How are behavioural syndromes shaped by these processes? What are the implications of these differences, e.g. for understanding individual vulnerability for disease and sensitivity for treatment?). In line with the general mission of the Adaptive Life initiative, all these questions will be approached from an integrative perspective that strives to synthesize evolutionary and mechanistic approaches in an overarching framework.

Coordinator(s): Franjo Weissing, Ton Groothuis

Last modified:27 July 2017 09.42 a.m.