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Rubenstein, Dustin R.

E3B Professor

A.B., Dartmouth College, 1999; Ph.D., Cornell University, 2006
Research Description

We take an integrative approach to understand how the environment—both social and ecological—influences social behavior through empirical studies that combine ecology and evolution with those of underlying molecular, neural and neuroendocrine mechanisms. Our work is grounded in mathematical theory, and we use modeling and comparative approaches to generate and test novel hypotheses. We study a variety of terrestrial vertebrate and invertebrate systems (including birds, reptiles, mammals and insects) on every continent except Antarctica, as well as a number of aquatic organisms (including crustaceans, amphibians and fishes) in marine and freshwater ecosystems. Our research spans molecules to populations, from invertebrates to vertebrates, and across levels of analysis, scales of biological organization and the globe. Ultimately, our goal is to develop a synthetic understanding of how environmental change has influenced the evolution of social living and adaptive coping by taking an integrative approach to study a diversity of organisms living in a range of habitats across the globe.

Research Keywords: Animal behavior, Behavioral ecology, Evolutionary ecology, Physiology, Genomics, Epigenetics

Representative Publications

Rubenstein DR. 2022. Animal Behavior, 12th Edition. Oxford University Press, New York.

Shah SS and DR Rubenstein. 2022. Prenatal environmental conditions underlie alternative reproductive tactics that drive the formation of a mixed-kin cooperative society.  Science Advances 8:eabk2220.

Falk JJ, MS Webster and DR Rubenstein. 2021. Male-like ornamentation in female hummingbirds results from social harassment rather than sexual selection. Current Biology 31:4381-4387.

Chak STC, SE Harris, KM Hultgren, NW Jeffrey and DR Rubenstein. 2021. Eusociality in snapping shrimps is associated with larger genomes and an accumulation of transposable elements. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 118:e2025051118.

Tsai H-Y, DR Rubenstein, Y-M Fan, T-N Yuan, B-F Chen, Y Tang, I-C Chen and SF Shen. 2020. Locally-adapted reproductive photoperiodism determines population vulnerability to climate change. Nature Communications 11:1398.

Rubenstein DR, JA Ågren, L Carbone, NC Elde, HE Hoekstra, KM Kapheim, L Keller, CS Moreau, AL Toth, S Yeaman and HA Hofmann. 2019. Coevolution of genome architecture and social behavior. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 34:844-855.

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