Data_Sheet_1_Longitudinal Trajectories and Inter-parental Dynamics of Prairie Vole Biparental Care.docx (8.64 MB)
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Data_Sheet_1_Longitudinal Trajectories and Inter-parental Dynamics of Prairie Vole Biparental Care.docx

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posted on 05.06.2018, 04:10 by Forrest D. Rogers, Mijke Rhemtulla, Emilio Ferrer, Karen L. Bales

For altricial mammalian species, early life social bonds are constructed principally between offspring and their mothers, and the mother-offspring relationship sets the trajectory for offspring bio-behavioral development. In the rare subset of monogamous and biparental species, offspring experience an expanded social network which includes a father. Accordingly, in biparental species fathers also have the potential to influence trajectories of offspring development. Previous semi-natural and laboratory study of one monogamous and biparental species, the prairie vole (Microtus ochrogaster), has given insight into the role that mothers and fathers play in shaping behavioral phenotypes of offspring. Of particular interest is the influence of biparental care in the development of monogamous behavior in offspring. Here, we first briefly review that influence. We then present novel research which describes how parental investment in prairie voles changes across sequential litters of pups, and the extent to which it is coordinated between mothers and fathers. We use approximately 6 years of archival data on prairie vole parenting to investigate trajectories and inter-parent dynamics in prairie vole parenting. We use a series of latent growth models to assess the stability of parental investment across the first 4 l. Our findings suggest that prairie voles display sexually dimorphic patterns of change in parental behavior: mothers' investment declines linearly whereas fathers' pattern of change is characterized by initial decline between litters 1 and 2 with subsequent increase from litters 2 to 4. Our findings also support a conclusion that prairie vole paternal care may be better characterized as compensatory—that is, fathers may compensate for decline in maternal investment. Opposing trends in investment between mothers and fathers ultimately imply stability in offspring investment across sequential litters. These findings, combined with previous studies, generate a hypothesis that paternal compensation could play an important role in maintaining the development of monogamous behavioral phenotypes in individual offspring and across cohorts of those offspring. Understanding longitudinal and inter-individual dynamics of complex social behaviors is critical for the informed investigation of both proximate and ultimate mechanisms that may subserve these behaviors.