General Overview of Research


 In the Zink lab we are interested in the evolutionary and ecological processes that generate the broad diversity of animal behavior. Our research involves the evolution of social behavior with a specific focus on the evolution of parental care and communal breeding. Many animals decrease the costs of parental care by raising their offspring with other parents in a communal group. However, individual parents within these groups often experience large asymmetries in the number of offspring that they produce and the amount of care that they provide. Our work attempts to understand how these asymmetries can be maintained within social groups and how group members act to resolve these conflicts over reproduction and parental care. Our approach is to develop mathematical models that are applicable to a broad range of social animals and to test the predictions of these (and other) models using lab and field experiments.  

Link to Andy Zink's Departmental Webpage