dr. S.A. (Sjouke Anne) Kingma

NWO Veni Research Fellow


Research units:

Research interests

Kin-selected altruism is well documented, but can direct benefits provide an alternative adaptive explanation for cooperation and sociality? Beginning in my PhD and continuing into my Rubicon and Veni personal-career fellowships, I have focussed on answering this question. To do so, I have developed a research programme to pursue the mechanistic, ecological and evolutionary processes underlying group living and cooperation between non-relatives. I integrate conceptual and comparative work with field observations, molecular genetic analyses and experiments, working on several different social species: Seychelles warblers, speckled mousebirds, purple-crowned fairy-wrens and burying beetles.

In a conceptual review (TREE 2014) and a comparative study (Nature Comm. 2017) I showed that helping behaviour can evolve when helpers gain mutualistic and reciprocal benefits of group living. Moreover, we showed that territory owners gain mutualistic benefits from cooperating with unrelated, but familiar, neighbours (PNAS 2017). These findings confirm that the current paradigm, namely that cooperative behaviour is mainly driven by kin selection, needs revisiting.

During my Veni-fellowship I assessed the direct benefits of group living, and showed that subordinate Seychelles warblers delay dispersal because this improves their survival (Biol. Lett. 2016, Behav. Ecol. 2017). Nonetheless, some subordinates permanently leave their natal territory to roam through the population. These individuals are likely evicted by dominant individuals, which is suggestive of conflict between dominants and subordinates over group membership (Evolution 2016). In the future, I plan to work on establishing how group membership is regulated and how conflict among individuals is resolved.

  1. Do hair-crested drongos reduce prospective territory competition by dismantling their nest after breeding?

    Lv, L., Li, J., Kingma, S. A., Gao, C., Wang, Y., Komdeur, J. & Zhang, Z. Jan-2018 In : Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology. 72, 1, 9 p., 12

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  2. Consequences of sibling rivalry vary across life in a passerine bird

    Bebbington, K., Kingma, S. A., Fairfield, E. A., Spurgin, L. G., Komdeur, J. & Richardson, D. S. Apr-2017 In : Behavioral Ecology. 28, 2, p. 407-418 12 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  3. No evidence that kin selection increases the honesty of begging signals in birds

    Bebbington, K. & Kingma, S. A. Aug-2017 In : Evolution Letters. 1, 3, p. 132-137 6 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

View all (44) »

Press / Media
  1. Study finds that early birds get a lot more than the worm

    Sjouke Anne Kingma


    2 items of media coverage

    Press/Media: Research

View all (1) »

  1. Noorderzon EVOLVE - Flitslezingen I

    Kingma, S. A. (Consultant)

    Activity: PopularOutreach

View all (1) »

View graph of relations

ID: 429782