Dr Jennifer Sanderson
Associate Research Fellow
My research interests lie broadly on understanding the evolution of cooperation in animal societies through investigating both the ultimate and proximate mechanisms that underlie individual differences in cooperative investment. My research spans three main themes: (1) consequences of early-life environment and trans-generational effects on long-term consistent individual differences in cooperative investment, (2) the heritability of cooperative traits and the influence of genetic architecture on mate choice and cooperative offspring care, and (3) hormonal mediation of trade-offs between cooperative and competitive behaviours within social groups.
As part of the Banded Mongoose Research Project (www.bandedmongoose.org), I work with Prof. Michael Cant investigating social behaviours in a long-term study population of banded mongooses (Mungos mungo) in western Uganda. In collaboration with Dr. Hazel Nichols at JMU, I am using microsatellite analyses to form a multi-generational map of parentage for 1700+ individuals to investigate genetic architecture, heritability, extra-group paternities, and effects of maternal environment on behavior and fitness. I also work in collaboration with Dr. Andrew Young as well as Dr. Susan Walker at the Chester Zoo, using non-invasive hormone monitoring to understand the role of steroid hormones in mediating both cooperative and competitive behaviours.
I am part of the Working Culture and Equality Group at CLES Tremough, working closely with the Athena Swan committee to promote a fair and friendly working environment within the college.
2013 PhD. University of Exeter. Conflict and cooperation in vertebrate societies
2008 BSc (Hons) Biological Sciences (Zoology), University of Edinburgh
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University of Exeter