Publications by authors named "Amy T Sullivan"

3 Publications

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Evolution of cooperation: combining kin selection and reciprocal altruism into matrix games with social dilemmas.

PLoS One 2013 22;8(5):e63761. Epub 2013 May 22.

Department of Biological Sciences, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, USA.

Darwinian selection should preclude cooperation from evolving; yet cooperation is widespread among organisms. We show how kin selection and reciprocal altruism can promote cooperation in diverse 2×2 matrix games (prisoner's dilemma, snowdrift, and hawk-dove). We visualize kin selection as non-random interactions with like-strategies interacting more than by chance. Reciprocal altruism emerges from iterated games where players have some likelihood of knowing the identity of other players. This perspective allows us to combine kin selection and reciprocal altruism into a general matrix game model. Both mechanisms operating together should influence the evolution of cooperation. In the absence of kin selection, reciprocal altruism may be an evolutionarily stable strategy but is unable to invade a population of non-co-operators. Similarly, it may take a high degree of relatedness to permit cooperation to supplant non-cooperation. Together, a little bit of reciprocal altruism can, however, greatly reduce the threshold at which kin selection promotes cooperation, and vice-versa. To properly frame applications and tests of cooperation, empiricists should consider kin selection and reciprocal altruism together rather than as alternatives, and they should be applied to a broader class of social dilemmas than just the prisoner's dilemma.
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April 2014

Response of two prairie forbs to repeated vole herbivory.

Oecologia 2011 Apr 4;165(4):1007-15. Epub 2010 Nov 4.

Department of Biological Sciences, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL 60607, USA.

Vertebrate herbivores as diverse as ungulates, geese, and rabbits preferentially feed on plants that have previously experienced herbivory. Here, we ask whether smaller grassland "cryptic consumers" such as voles (Microtus ochrogaster and M. pennsylvanicus) preferentially clip (cut stems for access to leaves or seeds) or avoid previously clipped individuals of two tallgrass prairie species (Desmanthus illinoensis and Echinacea purpurea) within a growing season. Further, we ask how these plants respond to repeated clipping within a growing season, and whether the effects of this herbivory last into the subsequent growing season. Voles preferentially clipped stems of D. illinoensis and E. purpurea plants that had been previously clipped. The exception was indiscriminant clipping of stems of E. purpurea late in the growing season when its achenes, a favorite vole food, ripened. For D. illinoensis, repeated clipping resulted in a 59% reduction in biomass, 42% lower ratio of reproductive to vegetative biomass, and 57% fewer seeds produced per plant compared with unclipped plants. These effects lasted into the following growing season in which plants were protected from voles. In contrast, the only effect of repeated clipping for E. purpurea was that the number of achenes per plant was substantially reduced by three episodes of clipping. This effect did not carry over to the next growing season. Such differences in D. illinoensis and E. purpurea response to repeated stem clipping by voles offer insights into how these small rodents can effect major changes in composition and dominance in grassland communities.
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April 2011

Prairie forb response to timing of vole herbivory.

Ecology 2009 May;90(5):1346-55

Department of Biological Sciences M/C 066, University of Illinois at Chicago, 845 West Taylor Street. Chicago, Illinois 60607, USA.

The timing of herbivory can be an important factor in the strength and direction of plant response to herbivore damage. To determine the effect of vole herbivory timing within a growing season on tallgrass prairie forbs, we used individual plant enclosures to limit vole access to three species, Desmanthus illinoensis, Echinacea purpurea, and Heliopsis helianthoides, in an experimental restoration in northern Illinois, USA. As part of a long-term experiment, we implemented five vole access treatments in 2003: (1) vole access for the entire growing season, (2) early-season access, (3) mid-season access, (4) late-season access, and (5) no vole access. We protected all plants from herbivory in the following growing season (2004) to test whether the effects of herbivory in one growing season carried over to the next. We also tested how restoration planting design, including seeding time (June or December) and density (35 or 350 seeds/m2 of each species) affected patterns of herbivory and plant recovery. Vole access for the entire growing season was most detrimental for the growth and reproduction of all three species. In contrast, vole access for a portion of the growing season had different effects on the three species: Desmanthus growth and reproduction was negatively affected by early-season access, Echinacea reproductive output was reduced by late-season access, and Heliopsis was not affected by early-, mid-, or late-season vole access. Negative effects of continual vole access carried over to the following growing season for Desmanthus and Heliopsis, but not for Echinacea. Effects of herbivory did not carry over to the next season for Echinacea and Heliopsis when plants were accessible to voles for only part of the growing season. In contrast, Desmanthus plants exposed to early-season herbivory in one year continued to produce fewer seeds per plant after being protected from vole herbivory for a growing season. Planting density and planting season had mixed effects. Echinacea and Desmanthus were larger in plots planted in June, showing that restoration design continued to affect plant population dynamics seven years after seeding. However, there was no interaction between plant response to vole herbivory and restoration design.
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May 2009