How does a group of animals make a collective decision when each member has a different opinion? What rules have been selected over the evolutionary time? Do some members have heavier weights on the vote than others? Currently, I am tackling this interesting question using pairs of stickleback fish.
One may see a box as a stool. One may see you as a leader. Sociologist George Herbert Mead proposed that we see, interpret and act toward the world based on the tagged "meaning", which is a product of social processes. By separating the constantly-reshaping meaning from a phenotype, and treating social interactions as an interpretative process, we will have a better understanding of the world.
When animals experience interference competition (direct competition through behavioral interactions), it can have a huge impact on population growth. Relative body size have a strong effect on asymmetric competition, and thus, fast-growing individuals (such as early life stages) experience competitive environments that dynamically change with time.
Many animals breed multiple times during one reproductive season, mainly to hedge over uncertain environments. As a consequence, it can lessen competition among offspring by using time as a niche axis. How do parents benefit from this beneficial consequence when competitiveness of offspring changes? (Below is a tag cloud from my thesis)
Does your friend make you look superior? Do others evaluate you based on your friends? When your social environment affects your phenotypic value realized by others, you have to be careful about who you should associate with. I am interested in how female attractiveness changes with different social environments (in fish).