Not so selfish sentinels
We (the pied babbler project) have just had another paper accepted. When it goes online I will post the link. The paper tests the theory that sentinel behaviour in cooperative species is a safe and selfish act, i.e. that individuals only do this when they are satiated and doing so means that they are safer because they can detect predators faster, and therefore can reach safety sooner. However, in the babblers we found (a) sentinels were targeted by predators more often, (b) they were further from cover than foragers, and (c) they took longer to reach the safety of cover following a predator alarm. Our study indicates, along with other studies on the babbler sentinel system, that sentinel activity may be a cooperative act and not a selfish one. The paper will be coming out in Animal Behaviour soon.
I am a behavioural ecologist, my main interests revolve around familial conflicts and their resolutions. However, my scientific interests are fairly broad.