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Rubenstein, Dustin R.

E3B Professor

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

I am an integrative behavioral and evolutionary ecologist who studies (1) the evolution of complex animal societies and (2) how organisms adapt to and cope with environmental change. I seek to develop a synthetic understanding of animal sociality by combining mathematical theory with empirical studies of behavior, ecology, evolution, and the underlying genetic, epigenetic, and neuroendocrine mechanisms to study not only the causes of sociality (with an emphasis on the environmental drivers), but also the behavioral, morphological, physiological, and genetic consequences of living in complex societies. Additionally, I examine the behavioral, morphological, and physiological adaptations that allow individuals to cope with environmental uncertainty not just in social species, but in all animals that experience unpredictable environments. Currently, lab members work on free-living social vertebrate (African starlings and weavers) and invertebrate (Synalpheus shrimp).

Research Keywords: Animal behavior, Behavioral ecology, Evolution, Ecology, Physiology, Evolutionary ecology

Representative Publications

Botero C.A., F.J. Weissing, J. Wright and D.R. Rubenstein. 2015. Evolutionary tipping points in the capacity to adapt to environmental change. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 112:184-189.

Maia R., D.R. Rubenstein and M.D. Shawkey. 2013. Key ornamental innovations facilitate diversification in an avian radiation. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 110:10687-10692.

Rubenstein D.R. 2011. Spatiotemporal environmental variation, risk aversion and the evolution of cooperative breeding as a bet-hedging strategy. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 108:10816-10822.
Jetz W. and D.R. Rubenstein. 2011. Environmental uncertainty and the global biogeography of cooperative breeding in birds. Current Biology 21:72-78.

Rubenstein D.R. and I.J. Lovette. 2009. Reproductive skew and selection on female ornamentation in social species. Nature 462:786-789.

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