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What We Do

We study (1) the evolution of social life on earth, particularly the causes and consequences of living in complex societies, and (2) how environmental variation influences the evolution of behavioral, physiological and morphological traits. Our research integrates studies in behavior, ecology and evolution by combining field studies and collections with laboratory work on genetics, genomics, hormones and physiology. We currently work on vertebrates (birds) and invertebrates (shrimp).

Selected Publications

Chak T.C.S., J.E. Duffy and D.R. Rubenstein. 2015. Reproductive skew drives patterns of sexual dimorphism in sponge-dwelling snapping shrimps. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B 282:20150342.

Botero C.A., F.J. Weissing, J. Wright and D.R. Rubenstein. 2015. Evolutionary tipping points in the capacity to adapt to environmental change. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 112:184-189.

Sun S.-J., D.R. Rubenstein, J.-N. Liu, M. Liu, B.-F. Chen, S.-F. Chan, W. Hwang, P.-S. Yang and S.-F. Shen. 2014. Climate-mediated cooperation promotes niche expansion in burying beetles. eLife 3:e02440.

Maia R., D.R. Rubenstein and M.D. Shawkey. 2013. Key ornamental innovations facilitate diversification in an avian radiation. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 110:10687-10692.

Rubenstein D.R. 2011. Spatiotemporal environmental variation, risk aversion and the evolution of cooperative breeding as a bet-hedging strategy. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 108:10816-10822.

Jetz W.* and D.R. Rubenstein*. 2011. Environmental uncertainty and the global biogeography of cooperative breeding in birds. Current Biology 21:72-78.  *contributed equally

Rubenstein D.R. and I.J. Lovette. 2009. Reproductive skew and selection on female ornamentation in social species. Nature 462:786-789.

Rubenstein D.R. and I.J. Lovette. 2007. Temporal environmental variability drives the evolution of cooperative breeding in birds. Current Biology 17:1414-1419.

Rubenstein D.R. 2007. Female extrapair mate choice in a cooperative breeder: trading sex for help and increasing offspring heterozygosity. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B 274:1895-1903.

Rubenstein D.R. 2007. Stress hormones and sociality: integrating social and environmental stressors. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B 274:967-975.

Rubenstein D.R., C.P. Chamberlain, R.T. Holmes, M.P. Ayres, J.R. Waldbauer, G.R. Graves and N.C. Tuross. 2002. Linking breeding and wintering ranges of a migratory songbird using stable isotopes. Science 295:1062-1065.


behavior | ecology | evolution

Columbia University in the City of New York

Lab Highlights

The future of animal behavior: New Frontiers for the Integrative Study of Animal Behavior

Kenya Program featured in the Columbia College Annual Report and Columbia College Today.

The lab featured in Columbia Magazine.

Field expeditions to Kenya and Belize featured in The New York Times.

Dustin R. Rubenstein, Associate Professor

Columbia University • Department of Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Biology

10th Floor Schermerhorn Extension • MC 5557 • 1200 Amsterdam Avenue • New York, NY 10027 • USA

Tel: 212-854-4881 • Email: dr2497[at]columbia.edu • Twitter: DustRubenstein

Last updated 15 July 2015
© 2002-2015 Dustin R. Rubenstein