Department of Behavioural Biology
Institute of Neuro- and Behavioural Biology
D-48149 Münster, Germany
Tel.: +49 251/83-21004
Social niche conformance in male guinea pigs: Repeatability of endocrine parameters within and between different ontogenetic phases and reproductive success in a competitive situation
The research project is part of the collaborative research centre NC³, which examines Niche construction, conformance and choice. My research is part of project B01, “Social niche conformance in a rodent: When, how and why” lead by Prof. Sylvia Kaiser, and examines the effects that different social environments can have on endocrine parameters and behaviour of male guinea pigs, as well as
the reproductive success linked with those effects.
My part of the project focuses on repeatability of endocrine parameters within and between different ontogenetic phases and also on the reproductive success of guinea pigs in a competitive situation. For the first part, two groups of male guinea pigs will be held in pairs with a female, and one group will receive weekly social stimulation through other guinea pigs, whereas the other group will receive no such stimulation. These animals will then over the course of their ontogeny from their juvenile phase until their adult phase undergo several tests where cortisol reactivity and testosterone will be measured, and their behaviour will be recorded. Data from another part of the project will also be used in the analysis of repeatability. After these trials are over, males from both groups will be introduced together into an enclosure with 2 females, creating a competitive reproductive situation. After offspring has been born, paternities will be determined and reproductive success will be examined.