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Dr Faye Thompson

Dr Faye Thompson

Associate Research Fellow

 Stella Turk Building G3.06

 

University of Exeter, Penryn Campus, Penryn, TR10 9FE

Overview

In nature, conflict and cooperation arise at every level of biological complexity, among teams of genes, cells and individuals. Using experiments and theoretical modelling, I seek to explain the evolution of these patterns, focusing on the conflicts inherent in the formation and dynamics of cooperative animal societies. I test how conflict arises and is resolved in social groups, and the impact of aggressive intergroup interactions on cooperative behaviour and life history. My overall aim is to establish the general rules that shape aggression and social behaviour in animal societies, and to advance our understanding of evolutionary transitions to cooperation.

Qualifications

2017 PhD Biological Sciences, University of Exeter, Cornwall Campus
2011 MSc Conservation and Biodiversity, University of Exeter, Cornwall Campus
2007 BSc (Hons) Actuarial Science, City University London

Career

2018 Associate Research Fellow, University of Exeter: The ecology and evolution of intergroup conflict in animal societies: theory and tests
2017 Associate Research Fellow, University of Exeter: Transgenerational costs of reproduction and the evolution of life histories
2016 Postdoctoral Research Associate, University of Exeter: Early life influences on the development of cooperation in wild mammals

Links

Research group links

Research

Research interests

My research investigates how conflict arises and is resolved in cooperative species using a combination of field and lab-based studies, and theoretical modelling. My interests include:

  • The causes and consequences of intergroup conflict in animal societies.
  • The evolution and maintenance of cooperative behaviour.
  • Aggression and affiliation in animal groups.

Research projects

The ecology and evolution of intergroup conflict in banded mongooses

I am a postdoc on the Banded Mongoose Research Project in the Socialis Research Group, led by Professor Michael Cant. Banded mongooses (Mungos mungo) are a cooperatively breeding species that lives in groups of around 20 adults, plus offspring. They exhibit intense forms of cooperation but also conspicuous and highly aggressive conflict. Neighbouring groups compete over food, territory and mates, and frequently engage in lethal fights. I am investigating the ecological and evolutionary causes and consequences of intergroup conflict using a wild population of banded mongooses in Queen Elizabeth National Park in Uganda that has been studied continuously since 1995. In this project I aim to explain:

  • Why groups engage in costly fights with one another
  • How intergroup conflict affects individual fitness and cooperative behaviour
  • How interactions between groups affect the behaviour and spatial organization of groups, and the dynamics of the wider population.

Intergroup conflict and cooperation in termites

I have recently started a termite laboratory to study the effect of intergroup conflict and cooperation on social evolution. The dampwood termite, Zootermopsis angusticollis, provides a model system to test experimentally the evolutionary drivers of intergroup conflict and cooperation because colonies exhibit a full spectrum of intergroup relations, from lethal combat to peaceful fusion. Current work with undergraduate and masters students investigates the effect of intergroup conflict on social cohesion, and mechanisms of colony recognition and caste discrimination.

Research networks

Michael Cant, University of Exeter
Rufus Johnstone, University of Cambridge
Jeremy Field, University of Exeter
Darren Croft, University of Exeter
Daniel Franks, University of York
Andrew Young, University of Exeter
Harry Marshall, University of Roehampton
Emma Vitikainen, University of Helsinki
Hazel Nichols, Swansea University
Beth Preston, University of Exeter
Rebeca Rosengaus, Northeastern University
Erin Cole, Northeastern University

Publications

Key publications | Publications by category | Publications by year

Key publications


Birch G, Cant MA, Thompson FJ (2019). Behavioural response of workers to repeated intergroup encounters in the harvester ant Messor barbarus. Insectes Sociaux, 66(3), 491-500. Abstract.  Full text.
Thompson FJ, Marshall HH, Vitikainen EIK, Cant MA (2017). Causes and consequences of intergroup conflict in cooperative banded mongooses. Animal Behaviour, 126, 31-40. Abstract.  Full text.
Thompson FJ, Cant MA, Marshall HH, Vitikainen EIK, Sanderson JL, Nichols HJ, Gilchrist JS, Bell MBV, Young AJ, Hodge SJ, et al (2017). Explaining negative kin discrimination in a cooperative mammal society. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 114(20), 5207-5212. Abstract.  Full text.
Thompson FJ, Marshall HH, Sanderson JL, Vitikainen EIK, Nichols HJ, Gilchrist JS, Young AJ, Hodge SJ, Cant MA (2016). Reproductive competition triggers mass eviction in cooperative banded mongooses. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 283(1826), 20152607-20152607. Full text.
Thompson FJ, Donaldson L, Johnstone RA, Field J, Cant MA (2014). Dominant aggression as a deterrent signal in paper wasps. Behavioral Ecology, 25(4), 706-715. Abstract.

Publications by category


Journal articles

Sheppard CE, Marshall H, Inger R, Thompson F, Vitikainen E, Barker S, Nichols HJ, Wells DA, McDonald R, Cant MA, et al (In Press). Decoupling of genetic and cultural inheritance in a wild mammal. Current Biology Full text.
Sheppard CE, Inger R, Macdonald R, Barker S, Jackson A, Thompson F, Vitikainen E, Cant MA, Marshall H (In Press). Intragroup competition predicts individual foraging specialisation in a group-living mammal. Ecology Letters Full text.
Inzani E, Marshall H, Thompson F, Kalema-Zikusoka G, Cant M, Vitikainen E (In Press). Spontaneous abortion as a response to reproductive conflict in the banded mongoose. Biology Letters Full text.
Birch G, Cant MA, Thompson FJ (2019). Behavioural response of workers to repeated intergroup encounters in the harvester ant Messor barbarus. Insectes Sociaux, 66(3), 491-500. Abstract.  Full text.
Vitikainen E, Thompson F, Marshall H, Cant MA (2019). Live long and prosper: durable benefits of early-life care in banded mongooses. Philosophical Transactions B: Biological Sciences Full text.
Marshall H, Inger R, Jackson AL, McDonald R, Thompson F, Cant MA (2019). Stable isotopes are quantitative indicators of diet and trophic niche. Ecology Letters Full text.
Marshall HH, Griffiths DJ, Mwanguhya F, Businge R, Griffiths AGF, Kyabulima S, Mwesige K, Sanderson JL, Thompson FJ, Vitikainen EIK, et al (2018). Data collection and storage in long-term ecological and evolutionary studies: the Mongoose 2000 system. PLoS One, 13(1). Abstract.  Author URL.  Full text.
Thompson F, Cant MA (2018). Dynamic conflict among heterogeneous groups: a comment on Christensen and Radford. Behavioral Ecology Full text.
Hares MC, Vitikainen EIK, Marshall HH, Thompson FJ, Blount JD, Cant MA (2018). Telomere dynamics in wild banded mongooses: Evaluating longitudinal and quasi-longitudinal markers of senescence. Exp Gerontol, 107, 67-73. Abstract.  Author URL.  Full text.
Vitikainen EIK, Marshall HH, Thompson FJ, Sanderson JL, Bell MBV, Gilchrist JS, Hodge SJ, Nichols HJ, Cant MA (2017). Biased escorts: Offspring sex, not relatedness explains alloparental care patterns in a cooperative breeder. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 284(1854). Abstract.  Full text.
Thompson FJ, Marshall HH, Vitikainen EIK, Cant MA (2017). Causes and consequences of intergroup conflict in cooperative banded mongooses. Animal Behaviour, 126, 31-40. Abstract.  Full text.
Thompson FJ, Cant MA, Marshall HH, Vitikainen EIK, Sanderson JL, Nichols HJ, Gilchrist JS, Bell MBV, Young AJ, Hodge SJ, et al (2017). Explaining negative kin discrimination in a cooperative mammal society. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 114(20), 5207-5212. Abstract.  Full text.
Thompson FJ, Marshall HH, Vitikainen EIK, Young AJ, Cant MA (2017). Individual and demographic consequences of mass eviction in cooperative banded mongooses. Animal Behaviour, 134, 103-112. Abstract.  Full text.
Marshall HH, Vitikainen EIK, Mwanguhya F, Businge R, Kyabulima S, Hares MC, Inzani E, Kalema-Zikusoka G, Mwesige K, Nichols HJ, et al (2017). Lifetime fitness consequences of early-life ecological hardship in a wild mammal population. Ecology and Evolution, 7(6), 1712-1724. Abstract.  Full text.
Vitikainen EIK, Cant MA, Sanderson JL, Mitchell C, Nichols HJ, Marshall HH, Thompson FJ, Gilchrist JS, Hodge SJ, Johnstone RA, et al (2016). Evidence of Oxidative Shielding of Offspring in a Wild Mammal. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution, 4 Full text.
Inzani EL, Marshall HH, Sanderson JL, Nichols HJ, Thompson FJ, Kalema-Zikusoka G, Hodge SJ, Cant MA, Vitikainen EIK (2016). Female reproductive competition explains variation in prenatal investment in wild banded mongooses. Scientific Reports, 6 Abstract.  Full text.
Thompson FJ, Marshall HH, Sanderson JL, Vitikainen EIK, Nichols HJ, Gilchrist JS, Young AJ, Hodge SJ, Cant MA (2016). Reproductive competition triggers mass eviction in cooperative banded mongooses. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 283(1826), 20152607-20152607. Full text.
Marshall HH, Sanderson JL, Mwanguhya F, Businge R, Kyabulima S, Hares MC, Inzani E, Kalema-Zikusoka G, Mwesige K, Thompson FJ, et al (2016). Variable ecological conditions promote male helping by changing banded mongoose group composition. Behavioral Ecology Abstract.  Full text.
Sanderson JL, Nichols HJ, Marshall HH, Vitikainen EIK, Thompson FJ, Walker SL, Cant MA, Young AJ (2015). Elevated glucocorticoid concentrations during gestation predict reduced reproductive success in subordinate female banded mongooses. Biology Letters, 11(10). Abstract.  Full text.
Donaldson L, Thompson FJ, Field J, Cant MA (2014). Do paper wasps negotiate over helping effort?. Behavioral Ecology, 25(1), 88-94. Abstract.
Thompson FJ, Donaldson L, Johnstone RA, Field J, Cant MA (2014). Dominant aggression as a deterrent signal in paper wasps. Behavioral Ecology, 25(4), 706-715. Abstract.

Chapters

Cant MA, Nichols HJ, Thompson FJ, Vitikainen EIK (2016). Banded mongooses: demography, life history, and social behavior. In Koenig WD, Dickinson JL (Eds.) Cooperative breeding in vertebrates: studies of ecology, evolution and behavior, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 318-337.

Publications by year


In Press

Sheppard CE, Marshall H, Inger R, Thompson F, Vitikainen E, Barker S, Nichols HJ, Wells DA, McDonald R, Cant MA, et al (In Press). Decoupling of genetic and cultural inheritance in a wild mammal. Current Biology Full text.
Sheppard CE, Inger R, Macdonald R, Barker S, Jackson A, Thompson F, Vitikainen E, Cant MA, Marshall H (In Press). Intragroup competition predicts individual foraging specialisation in a group-living mammal. Ecology Letters Full text.
Inzani E, Marshall H, Thompson F, Kalema-Zikusoka G, Cant M, Vitikainen E (In Press). Spontaneous abortion as a response to reproductive conflict in the banded mongoose. Biology Letters Full text.

2019

Birch G, Cant MA, Thompson FJ (2019). Behavioural response of workers to repeated intergroup encounters in the harvester ant Messor barbarus. Insectes Sociaux, 66(3), 491-500. Abstract.  Full text.
Vitikainen E, Thompson F, Marshall H, Cant MA (2019). Live long and prosper: durable benefits of early-life care in banded mongooses. Philosophical Transactions B: Biological Sciences Full text.
Marshall H, Inger R, Jackson AL, McDonald R, Thompson F, Cant MA (2019). Stable isotopes are quantitative indicators of diet and trophic niche. Ecology Letters Full text.

2018

Marshall HH, Griffiths DJ, Mwanguhya F, Businge R, Griffiths AGF, Kyabulima S, Mwesige K, Sanderson JL, Thompson FJ, Vitikainen EIK, et al (2018). Data collection and storage in long-term ecological and evolutionary studies: the Mongoose 2000 system. PLoS One, 13(1). Abstract.  Author URL.  Full text.
Thompson F, Cant MA (2018). Dynamic conflict among heterogeneous groups: a comment on Christensen and Radford. Behavioral Ecology Full text.
Hares MC, Vitikainen EIK, Marshall HH, Thompson FJ, Blount JD, Cant MA (2018). Telomere dynamics in wild banded mongooses: Evaluating longitudinal and quasi-longitudinal markers of senescence. Exp Gerontol, 107, 67-73. Abstract.  Author URL.  Full text.
Johnstone RA, Croft DP, Thompson FJ, Cant MA (2018). The ecology and evolution of intergroup conflict: a preliminary model.  Full text.

2017

Vitikainen EIK, Marshall HH, Thompson FJ, Sanderson JL, Bell MBV, Gilchrist JS, Hodge SJ, Nichols HJ, Cant MA (2017). Biased escorts: Offspring sex, not relatedness explains alloparental care patterns in a cooperative breeder. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 284(1854). Abstract.  Full text.
Thompson FJ, Marshall HH, Vitikainen EIK, Cant MA (2017). Causes and consequences of intergroup conflict in cooperative banded mongooses. Animal Behaviour, 126, 31-40. Abstract.  Full text.
Marshall HH, Vitikainen EIK, Mwanguhya F, Businge R, Kyabulima S, Hares MC, Inzani E, Kalema-Zikusoka G, Mwesige K, Nichols HJ, et al (2017). Data supporting Marshall et al. (2017) in Ecology and Evolution.  Abstract.
Thompson F, Marshall H, Vitikainen E, Cant M (2017). Data supporting Thompson et al. (2017) Animal Behaviour.  Abstract.
Thompson F, Cant M, Marshall H, Vitikainen E, Sanderson J, Nichols H, Gilchrist J, Bell M, Young A, Hodge S, et al (2017). Data supporting Thompson et al. 2017 Explaining negative kin discrimination in a cooperative mammal society. PNAS.  Abstract.
Thompson F, Marshall H, Vitikainen E, young A, cant M (2017). Data supporting Thompson et al. 2017 Individual and demographic consequences of mass eviction in cooperative banded mongooses. Animal Behaviour.  Abstract.
Thompson FJ, Cant MA, Marshall HH, Vitikainen EIK, Sanderson JL, Nichols HJ, Gilchrist JS, Bell MBV, Young AJ, Hodge SJ, et al (2017). Explaining negative kin discrimination in a cooperative mammal society. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 114(20), 5207-5212. Abstract.  Full text.
Thompson FJ, Marshall HH, Vitikainen EIK, Young AJ, Cant MA (2017). Individual and demographic consequences of mass eviction in cooperative banded mongooses. Animal Behaviour, 134, 103-112. Abstract.  Full text.
Marshall HH, Vitikainen EIK, Mwanguhya F, Businge R, Kyabulima S, Hares MC, Inzani E, Kalema-Zikusoka G, Mwesige K, Nichols HJ, et al (2017). Lifetime fitness consequences of early-life ecological hardship in a wild mammal population. Ecology and Evolution, 7(6), 1712-1724. Abstract.  Full text.

2016

Cant MA, Nichols HJ, Thompson FJ, Vitikainen EIK (2016). Banded mongooses: demography, life history, and social behavior. In Koenig WD, Dickinson JL (Eds.) Cooperative breeding in vertebrates: studies of ecology, evolution and behavior, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 318-337.
Vitikainen EIK, Cant MA, Sanderson JL, Mitchell C, Nichols HJ, Marshall HH, Thompson FJ, Gilchrist JS, Hodge SJ, Johnstone RA, et al (2016). Evidence of Oxidative Shielding of Offspring in a Wild Mammal. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution, 4 Full text.
Inzani EL, Marshall HH, Sanderson JL, Nichols HJ, Thompson FJ, Kalema-Zikusoka G, Hodge SJ, Cant MA, Vitikainen EIK (2016). Female reproductive competition explains variation in prenatal investment in wild banded mongooses. Scientific Reports, 6 Abstract.  Full text.
Thompson FJ, Marshall HH, Sanderson JL, Vitikainen EIK, Nichols HJ, Gilchrist JS, Young AJ, Hodge SJ, Cant MA (2016). Reproductive competition triggers mass eviction in cooperative banded mongooses. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 283(1826), 20152607-20152607. Full text.
Marshall HH, Sanderson JL, Mwanguhya F, Businge R, Kyabulima S, Hares MC, Inzani E, Kalema-Zikusoka G, Mwesige K, Thompson FJ, et al (2016). Variable ecological conditions promote male helping by changing banded mongoose group composition. Behavioral Ecology Abstract.  Full text.

2015

Sanderson JL, Nichols HJ, Marshall HH, Vitikainen EIK, Thompson FJ, Walker SL, Cant MA, Young AJ (2015). Elevated glucocorticoid concentrations during gestation predict reduced reproductive success in subordinate female banded mongooses. Biology Letters, 11(10). Abstract.  Full text.

2014

Donaldson L, Thompson FJ, Field J, Cant MA (2014). Do paper wasps negotiate over helping effort?. Behavioral Ecology, 25(1), 88-94. Abstract.
Thompson FJ, Donaldson L, Johnstone RA, Field J, Cant MA (2014). Dominant aggression as a deterrent signal in paper wasps. Behavioral Ecology, 25(4), 706-715. Abstract.

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