In a world of limited resources, energy invested in one trait may come at a cost in another: for example, heavy investment into reproduction might deplete resources for self-maintenance, and lead to faster ageing. The project investigates variation in life-history traits and trade-offs, specifically the role that early life environment plays in determining life history trajectories of individuals. In social animals, interactions with other group members are an essential part of the environment and costs and benefits of cooperation play into the trade-offs. We use a long-term study of the banded mongoose (Mungos mungo) to understand how help given to and received by pups affects life-history allocation in this cooperatively breeding mammal.
Michael Cant / University of Exeter