Namedr. SA Kingma

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DescriptionUniversitair hoofddocent
OrganizationDepartment of Animal Sciences
Organization UnitBehavioural Ecology
Mobile+31 6 38164353
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Dr. Sjouke Kingma is interested in why animals live in groups and whether and how the social environment determines individuals' behaviour and physiology and their ultimate success in survival and reproduction. His research is focussed mainly on birds (speckled mousebirds in eSwatini / Swaziland, purple-crowned fairy-wrens in Australia, and Seychelles warblers in the Seychelles), but also includes comparative study and a population study on Burying beetles in the Netherlands. 

Kin-selected altruism is well documented, but can direct benefits provide an alternative adaptive explanation for cooperation and sociality? Beginning in his PhD (at the Max Planck Iinstitute, Germany) and continuing into Rubicon (University of East Anglia, U.K.) and Veni personal-career fellowships (at University of Groningen, Netherlands), he has focussed on answering this question. To do so, he developed a research programme to pursue the mechanistic, ecological and evolutionary processes underlying group living and cooperation between non-relatives. His work integrates conceptual and comparative work with field observations, molecular genetic analyses and experiments, working on several different social species.

His current work is centered around establishing how group membership is regulated and how conflict among individuals is resolved.


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Current projects:

  • Cooperation and conflict resolution in communally breeding speckled mousebirds (eSwatini / Swaziland)
  • Causes and consequences of cooperative breeding in birds (comparative analyses)
  • The adaptive benefits of group living, dispersal and communal breeding in Seychelles warblers (Seychellen)
  • The ecological drivers of communal breeding in burying beetles (Nederland)
  • Dispersal and helping behaviour in cooperatively breeding purple-crowned fairy-wrens (Australia)


2011     Ph.D.  Max Planck Institute for Ornithology & University of Konstanz, Germany.

Title: The evolution of the social and genetic mating system of purple-crowned fairy-wrens Malurus coronatus.

Supervision: Prof. Anne Peters and Dr. Michelle Hall

Summa Cum Laude


2006     M.Sc. & B.Sc. Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, University of Groningen, Netherlands.

Cum Laude


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