Animals need to adjust their behavior and physiology in a coordinated fashion to meet the challenges of their social environment. Specifically, we study how changing social status leads to flexible shifts in central and peripheral systems.
Studying complex social behavior in the laboratory is challenging and requires analyses of dyadic interactions occurring over time in a physically and socially complex environment. In our laboratory we conduct long-term behavioral observations of animals housed in groups in large vivaria that mimic the burrow systems of their ancestral species Mus musculus.Read more.
Individuals must adapt to their current social environment. Dominant and subordinate animals each face unique challenges that require them to adjust their physiology as well as behavior. Dominant male mice increase not only their levels of aggression, but also their patrolling behavior and scent-marking.Read more.