My lab's first line of research focuses on understanding the ecology and evolution of non-breeding and helping strategies. Such strategies are seen in cooperatively breeding birds, mammals and eusocial insects and they have been of interest to evolutionary biologists ever since Darwin pointed out the difficulties that they posed for his theory of natural selection. We have conducted some of the first investigations of non-breeding strategies in marine fishes: the anemonefish Amphiprion percula, in Papua New Guinea, and the goby Paragobiodon xanthosomus, in Australia. In both cases we have demonstrated that non-breeders tolerate their situation because they will inherit territories in the future and there are strong ecological and social constraints. Our work illustrates the importance of understanding future benefits and hidden threats if we are to understand the behavior of individuals in animal societies.
Pete Buston — Associate Professor of Evolutionary Ecology and Marine Ecology
Originally from the UK, I graduated with a BA in Zoology from Oxford University. I followed this up with a Ph.D. in Neurobiology and Behavior at Cornell University, advised by Stephen Emlen and Paul Sherman. From there I moved to a postdoc at the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS), collaborating with Robert Warner and Philip Munday. Subsequently, I moved to a research position at the Estación Biológica de Doñana in Spain, in the group of Jordi Bascompte and Pedro Jordano. I have been a professor in the Boston University Department of Biology and Marine Program for the last nine years. I am interested in using marine organisms as model systems to test the robustness of current theories in evolutionary ecology.