My research interest is the evolution and maintenance of cooperation.
Despite an explosion of research in recent years, many questions still
remain. During my PhD I will attempt to answer a few questions using
a theoretical approach.
Individuals can make use of various mechanisms to ensure they will not
be exploited by their partners. These mechanisms are termed partner
control mechanisms. Focal individuals can respond to a cheating partner
by respond cheating, leaving the partner, or resort to punishment.
Although these mechanisms have been studied intensively, a comparison
of the strengths and weaknesses of different mechanisms has yet to be
made. One can imagine that in a large population, the simplest solution is
to leave a cheating partner in search of a more cooperative one, instead
of resorting to costly punishment. However, in smaller and more structured
populations this option may be less viable, since all other individuals may
already be tied in a partnership.
Additional factors that may well influence the usefulness of alternative
partner control mechanisms are asymmetries, such as hierarchy or
strength. Although a high-ranked or stronger individual may punish partners
to increase their cooperative behaviour, the reverse may not always be an
option (a weaker individual punishing the stronger one). Using empirically
informed models, I will make an attempt to discover the relative usefulness
of different partner control mechanisms in different situations.
PhD in theoretical biology
|2010-2012|| Master of science in behavioural biology |
University of Groningen, NL
Bachelor of science in life science
Université de Neuchâtel
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Institut de Biologie
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Université de Lausanne
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