• From parents to peers:

    the consequences of information use for evolution, development and social behaviour

    ISBE Symposium, August 3rd 2016, Exeter


    This symposium will address how animals use information (i) provided by genes and parents, (ii) acquired across development, and (iii) gained from the social environment, and the consequences of such information use for ecological and evolutionary processes. Our aim is to identify regions of synthesis between these three areas and to facilitate discussion between researchers who work on topics ranging from epigenetic mechanisms to social foraging strategies. We will feature talks by theoreticians and empiricists who study diverse model systems.

  • Organisers

    I am an evolutionary ecologist interested in the role of mothers and early-life experiences on development and evolution. I approach these topics using theory, meta-analysis and, currently, empirical tests on an unusual model system.

    Assistant Professor 

    of Developmental Psychology,

    Behavioural Science Institute (BSI), Radboud University Nijmegen

    I empirically study adaptation to harsh environments, focusing on enhanced mental skills. Theoretically, I study how natural selection shapes development using mathematical modeling.

    I am generally interested in the evolution and behavioural ecology of cognition and communication. I currently study how developmental factors affect (social) information use, social network positions and proxies of fitness.

  • Schedule

    Transgenerational information

    09:15 Sinead English: Introduction

    09:20 John McNamara: Cue integration and adaptive phenotype determination

    09:40 Katie McGhee: Maternal predator exposure and consequences for offspring behaviour

    10:00 Rebecca Kilner: Life after death: information use in a grave

    10:20 Sinead English & All: Talk synthesis & discussion

    10:40 COFFEE

    Developmental information

    11:00 Tim Fawcett: Adaptive explanations for sensitive windows in development

    11:20 Melissa Bateson: Covering your ass(ets): developmental telomere attrition predicts an attenuated adult acute stress response

    11:40 Barbara Taborsky: Social trajectories diverge through early social and ecological experience

    12:00 Willem Frankenhuis & All: Talk synthesis & discussion

    12:30 LUNCH

    Social information

    13:30 Pierre-Olivier Montiglio: The importance of group phenotypic composition for the evolution of social reaction norms

    13:50 Damien Farine: Developmental effects on social behaviour

    14:10 Rose Thorogood: Using information to assess risk: are trade-offs outdated?

    14:30 Neeltje Boogert & All: Talk synthesis & discussion

    14:50 COFFEE


    15:30: Final discussion & synthesis

    16:15: End

  • FAQ

    When and where will this symposium take place?

    This symposium is part of the 16th congress of the International Society for Behavioral Ecology at the campus of the University of Exeter in Exeter.

    The symposium will take place on August 3rd, 9.15 AM - 6 PM.

    Exact location at the university campus TBA.

    Is symposium registration obligatory?

    NO - but we'd love to hear that you're coming! So please register below.

    Please note that registration through the ISBE is necessary to attend any symposium, but it is possible to just pay for the day (August 3rd), see here.

    How can I get more information?

    Please e-mail us:

    General enquiries: infosympisbe@gmail.com


    Specific enquiries to the organisers:

    Sinead English: sineadenglish@gmail.com

    Willem Frankenhuis: wfrankenhuis@gmail.com

    Neeltje Boogert: njboogert@gmail.com


    Please let us know that you'd like to attend, and we can send you the latest details.

    Which topics should we address? Please leave us a message!