Munich Neuroscience Calendar


04.10.2023, 11:00 Max-Planck-Institut for Biological Intelligence Campus Seewiesen
until 12:00
Event Type: Talk
Speaker: Ben Dantzer
Institute: University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA

Title: Mechanisms and function of adaptive phenotypic plasticity: perspectives from a long-term study of those forest stewards who sit in the shadow of their tail

MPI BI, Haus 4, Seminarraum 4/0.07 und 4/0.08
82319 Seewiesen

Host: Michaela Hau

All organisms experience environmental change, but not all organisms are able to cope and persist through such change. Phenotypic plasticity, where the environment or some environmental cue induces changes in the phenotype, is one potentially adaptive response that organisms may use to cope and persist through environmental change. I will describe some of the work my colleagues and I have done that focuses on understanding the ecological cues that elicit plasticity through some internal mechanism and the fitness consequences of such plasticity in free-living North American red squirrels in the Yukon, Canada. This work has focused on how squirrels appear to use social and other ecological cues to exhibit adaptive shifts in their life history traits that better prepare them for the selective environment as well as the mechanisms (hormonal, gut microbiome, etc.) that seem to respond to these cues and mediate this adaptive plasticity. Some of this work is published, but I will also describe our unpublished work and the unanswered questions we are currently focusing on. By doing so, our long-term objective is to try to generate a multi-level understanding of phenotypic plasticity, from mechanism to function, and how it may work in a wild animal that experiences dramatic fluctuations in the abundance of food, competitors, and predators.

Zoom Link:
Meeting ID: 671 3082 1080, Passcode: 663569

Registration Link: