Meeting Summary: Research has enumerated a variety of costs and benefits of sociality, but how these costs and benefits change in different environmental contexts is not well understand. A survey across biological species reveals a seemingly paradoxical observation: under conditions of resource scarcity, some species become less social, while other species become more social. This meeting seeks to answer how and why resource scarcity alters the consequences of sociality in different ways for different species.
The project will comprise a literature review to more clearly delineate ecological and species-specific factors that correlate with an increase, or decrease, of sociality when resources become rare. Then, in order to gain an understanding of the possible mechanisms driving these patterns, we will develop an agent-based model, where we explicitly model resources in the environment, and several costs and benefits of group living. We hypothesize that sociality-driven changes in rates of dispersal (specifically, that sociality generally increases dispersal rate) is a key driver of increased sociality under scarcity.