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.
Selected Publications (*SFSU Students):
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 (accepted pending minor revisions)
Zink, A.G. and B.E. Lyon. 2015. Evolution of conspecific brood parastisim versus cooperative breeding as alternative reproductive tactics. American Naturalist (in press)
Zink, A.G. 2015. Kin selection and the evolution of mutualisms between species. Ethology (in press)
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