Staff profile - Mylene Mariette

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Dr Mylene Mariette

Position: Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Faculty or Division: Faculty of Sci Eng & Built Env
Department: School of Life & Env. Sciences
Campus: Geelong Waurn Ponds Campus


Research interests

My research focuses on the importance of social selection and acoustic communication for the evolution of parental care and cooperation. In particular, I am interested in the role of acoustic communication in regulating cooperation and conflicts within the family, and the effects of early environment on development and individual life history strategies.

Currently, I am working on:
- Prenatal communication in birds: I am investigating the potential for parents to program the development of their offspring using acoustic signals before hatching, and the role this may play in species adaptation to unpredictable environments. (full text: Mariette & Buchanan 2016 Science)
- Social network and reproductive strategies: I am studying how position in a social network affects reproductive and foraging tactics, as well as the information transfer between colony members in wild zebra finches.
- Coordination of parental care: I test the fitness advantages of behavioural coordination between breeding partners in provisioning and foraging, and their implications for the evolution of bi-parental care.

Recently I have also worked on:
- the effect of sociality and coloniality on parental care, reproductive success and foraging behaviour
- social influences on mate choice, including the rare male effect, and the loser effect (traditionally applied to a fighting context)
- the development of social phenotypes and their relevance for mating strategies and parental care.

I mostly conduct large-scale experiments in the wild or in captivity. The iconic zebra finch has inspired a lot of my research questions, together with the unpredictable arid landscapes that it inhabits.



Mariette M.M. & Buchanan K.L., 2016. Prenatal acoustic communication programs offspring for high posthatching temperatures in a songbird. Science. 353: 812-814. link full text

Boucaud I.C.A., Mariette M.M. Villain A.S & Vignal C. 2015. Vocal negotiation over parental care? Acoustic communication at the nest predicts partners´ incubation share. J. Linnean Soc. 117:322-336.

Mariette M.M., Buchanan K.L., Buttemer W.A. & Careau V. 2015. Tough decisions: reproductive timing and output vary with individuals’ physiology, behavior and past success in a social opportunistic breeder. Hormone & Behavior. 76: SI23-33.

Mariette M.M. & Griffith S.C. 2015. The adaptive significance of provisioning and foraging coordination between breeding partners. American Naturalist. 185:270-280. “highly cited paper” in Web of Science

Mariette M.M., Cathaud C., Chambon R. & Vignal C. 2013. Juvenile social experience affects pairing success at adulthood: congruence with the loser effect? Proc. Roy. B. 280: 20131514.

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