Biology Department photograph montage

Andrew Zink

Professor andyzink
Associate Professor
Cornell University
At SFSU Since: 
Hensill 436
Office Hours: 
Tuesdays and Thursdays 3:15 - 4:15
Office Phone: 
(415) 405-2761
The ecology and evolution of animal social behavior

Research Interests:  As a behavioral ecologist I am interested in evolutionary and ecological processes that generate the broad diversity of animal behavior. My 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. My 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. My general approach is 1) to develop mathematical models that are applicable to a broad range of social animals and 2) to test the predictions of these (and other) models using laboratory and field experiments on social animals.


Zink, A.G. and J.M. Eadie. 2019. Evolution: when cooperators cheat. Nature 567:34-35.

Lyon, B.E. and A.G. Zink. 2018. Evolution: how not to detect a brood parasite.  Current Biology 28:R1192-1194.

Chaukulkar, S.*, H. Sulaeman*, A.G. Zink, V.T. Vredenburg. 2018. Pathogen invasion and non-epizootic dynamics in                     Pacific newts in California over the last century. PLoS ONE 13(7):e0197710.

Bird, A.*, S. Prado-Irwin*, V.T. Vredenburg, A.G. Zink. 2018. Skin microbiomes of California terrestrial salamanders are                 influenced by habitat more than host phylogeny. Frontiers in Microbiology 9:442.

Prado-Irwin, S.*, A. Bird*, A.G. Zink, V.T. Vredenburg. 2017. Intraspecific variation in the skin-associated microbiome                    of a terrestrial salamander.  Microbial Ecology 74:745-756.

Barker, J., J. Bronstein, M. Friesen, E. Jones, H.K. Reeve, A.G. Zink, M. Frederickson.  2017. Synthesizing perspectives            on the evolution of cooperation within and between species.  Evolution 71:814-825.

Morales, M., A.G. Zink. 2017. Mechanisms of aggregation in an ant-tended treehopper: attraction to mutualists is balanced by       consepcific competition. PLoS ONE 12(7):e0181429.

Zink, A.G. and B.E. Lyon. 2016.  Evolution of conspecific brood parastisim versus cooperative breeding as alternative                    reproductive tactics.  American Naturalist 187:35-47.

Sette, C.M.*, V.T. Vredenburg, and A.G. Zink. 2015.  Reconstructing historical and contemporary disease dynamics: a case          study using the California slender salamander. Biological Conservation 192:20-29.

Zink, A.G. 2015. Kin selection and the evolution of mutualisms between species. Ethology 121:823-830.

Zink, A.G. and Z-H He. 2015. Botanical brilliance: are plants decision-makers or elaborate fakers? Science 347:724-725.

Munoz, N.E.* and A.G. Zink.  2012.  Asymmetric forceps increase fighting success among males of similar size in the                    maritime earwig.  Ethology 118:943-954 (cover article).

Miller, J.S.* and A.G. Zink.  2012. Parental care trade-offs and the role of filial cannibalism in the maritime earwig,                          Anisolabis maritima.  Animal Behaviour 83:1387-1394.

Miller, J.S.*, L. Rudolph*, and A.G. Zink.  2011.  Maternal nest defense reduces egg cannibalism by conspecific females in             the maritime earwig Anisolabis maritima.  Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 65:1873-1879.

Abbot, P. et al. (135 authors) and A.G. Zink.  2011.  Inclusive fitness theory and eusociality.  Nature 471:E1-4.

Buston, P. and A.G. Zink. 2009.  Reproductive skew and the evolution of conflict resolution: a synthesis of transactional                 and tug-of-war models.  Behavioral Ecology 20: 672-684 (cover article).

Zink, A.G. and J.A. Rosenheim.  2008.  Stage-specific predation on Lygus hesperus affects its population stage-                            structure.  Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata 126: 61-66.

Loeb, M.L.G. and A.G. Zink.  2006.  Fitness conflicts and the costs of sociality in communal egg layers: a theoretical                       model and empirical tests.  Journal of Evolutionary Biology 19: 889-899.

Rosenheim, J.A., K. Steinmann, G. Langellotto, and A.G. Zink. 2006. Estimating the impact of Lygus hesperus on                           cotton: the insect, plant, and human observer as sources of variability.  Environmental Entomology 35: 1141-1153.

Zink, A.G. 2005.  Dynamics of brood desertion among communally breeding females in the treehopper Publilia                               concava.  Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 58: 466-473.

Zink, A.G. and H.K. Reeve.  2005.  Predicting the temporal dynamics of reproductive skew and group membership in                      communal breeders. Behavioral Ecology 16: 880-888.

Zink, A.G. and J.A. Rosenheim.  2005.  Stage-dependent feeding behavior by western tarnished plant bugs influences                   flower bud abscission in cotton plants.  Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata 117: 235-242.

Zink, A.G. and J.A. Rosenheim.  2004.  State-dependent sampling bias in insects: implications for monitoring western                    tarnished plant bugs. Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata 113: 117-123.

Zink, A.G.  2003.  Quantifying the costs and benefits of parental care in female treehoppers. Behavioral Ecology                             14: 687-693

Zink, A.G.  2003.  Intraspecific brood parasitism as a conditional reproductive tactic in the treehopper Publilia                                   concava. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 54: 406-415.

Zink, A.G.  2001.  The optimal degree of parental care asymmetry among communal breeders. Animal Behaviour                             61: 439-446.

Zink, A.G.  2000.  The evolution of intraspecific brood parasitism in birds and insects.   The American Naturalist                               155: 395-405