Palestra “Putting biology into cooperation theory”

11 Março 2024 - 14:30h

Sala de Atos

Ispa – Instituto Universitário

No âmbito do Ciclo de Conferências do Ispa – Instituto Universitário, o Professor Redouan Bshary, da Universidade de Neuchâtel, apresenta a palestra “Putting biology into cooperation theory”. Bshary abordará a importância de ir além dos simples jogos económicos para integrar a teoria evolucionária dos jogos e a investigação empírica, destacando a necessidade de compreender os mecanismos subjacentes à tomada de decisão em espécies sociais.

As evolutionary theory emphasizes competition, any forms of helping has attracted considerable attention. While altruistic helping can be readily explained with kin selection, a variety of concepts is needed to explain cooperation within and mutualism between species. Borrowing from economics, these concepts are typically illustrated with simple games, of which the iterated prisoner’s dilemma is the most famous example. My aim is to share my current thoughts about why we need to get beyond such simple games and how to do that in order to integrate evolutionary game theory and empirical research. In social species, individuals often face uncertainty about their social environment and hence must use various information to choose appropriate behaviours (termed ‘social competence’). Modelling such ‘large world’ problems includes the challenge to be explicit about mechanisms underlying decision-making. Empirical data, for example on learning dynamics, can inform such modelling. I will illustrate my points with thought experiments, stories, and a variety of examples, including our research on marine cleaning mutualism.

Curriculum Vitae

University studies and diplomas obtained

Study of Biology from 10/1985 – 11/1991 at Ludwig-Maximilian-University in Munich/Germany. Master thesis at the Max-Planck-Institute for Behaviour and Physiologie/Seewiesen (further abbreviated as MPIV), Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Jürg Lamprecht.


Ph.D. from 1/1992 – 10/1995 at the MPIV, first supervisor: Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Wickler; second supervisor: Prof. Dr. Gerhard Neuweiler. PhD degree on the 16/10/1995, awarded by the Ludwig-Maximilian-University in Munich.

Professional/research experience

10/1995 – 8/1997: Post-doc at the MPIV, continuation of the PhD research on arboreal monkeys in the Taï National Park/Ivory Coast.

9/1997-8/2000: Start of own project financed by the German Science Foundation on marine cleaning symbiosis at Ras Mohamed National Park, Egypt and on Lizard Island, Australia.

9/2000-8/2002: Marie Curie grant from the European Union to work with Dr. Rufus Johnstone at Cambridge, U. K., continuing the work on cleaning symbiosis

9/2002 -6/2003: Research project collaboration between the MPIV and the Cambridge Zoology Department on game theoretic modelling, cleaning symbiosis and on interspecific cooperative hunting between groupers and moray eels 

7/2003-7/2004: Lecturer in behavioural ecology at the School of Biological Sciences at Liverpool University.

Since 10/04: Professor in behavioural ecology at the University of Neuchâtel.

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