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 Lauren Brent

Lauren Brent

Senior Lecturer

 4799

 +44 (0) 1392 724799

 Washington Singer 124C

 

Washington Singer Laboratories, University of Exeter, Perry Road, Prince of Wales Road, Exeter, EX4 4QG, UK

 Office hours:

Tuesdays 13:45-14:45; Fridays 14:30-15-30

Overview

I study the evolution of sociality and ask why social relationships are formed and how they are maintained. Within groups of animals, individuals differ in their tendency to interact with others and in how deeply embedded they are in their social networks. Investigating these differences allows me to determine the genetic and physiological causes of sociality, as well as its impact on Darwinian fitness. My research is centred on wild or free-ranging populations with long-term datasets that permit me to quantify inter-individual differences in sociality, relatedness, survival and reproductive output.

Much of my work is focused on a highly gregarious primate, the rhesus macaque (Macaca mulatta), where I have provided some of the first evidence of the fitness benefits of sociality, showing that the infants of individuals who are more deeply embedded in their social network are more likely to survive, and females with larger families live longer. I have also shown that an individual’s position in their social network is heritable, confirming that sociality is under genetic control and is a trait on which selection may act. I am also currently (or have recently been) involved in projects on other social mammals, including vampire bats, elephants, dairy cows, and killer whales.

I am member of the Centre for Research in Animal Behaviour. Additional details about my research can be found at laurenbrent.com.

Latest news: Read my conversation about the benefits of social ties across the lifespan with Lydia Denworth in Psychology Today. Read my New Scientist article about the science of friendship, and watch my TED talk on the same topic.

Qualifications

2006-2010: PhD in Evolutionary Anthropology, University of Roehampton
2003-2005: Master of Arts in Anthropology, University of Calgary
1999-2003: Bachelor of Science, Biology, McGill University

Career

2019-           Senior Lecturer in Animal Behaviour, University of Exeter
2016-2019    Lecturer in Animal Behaviour, University of Exeter
2016-2019    Leverhulme Early Career Fellow, Centre for Research in Animal Behaviour, University of Exeter
2014-2016    Associate Research Fellow, University of Exeter
2010-2014    Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Center for Cognitive Neuroscience, Duke University.

Research group links

Research

Publications

Key publications | Publications by category | Publications by year

Key publications


Brent LJN, Ruiz-Lambides A, Platt ML (2017). Family network size and survival across the lifespan of female macaques. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 284(1854), 20170515-20170515. Full text.
Firth JA, Brent LJN, Sheldon BC (2017). Indirectly connected: simple social differences can explain the causes and apparent consequences of complex social network positions. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences Full text.
Brent LJN, Ruiz-Lambides A, Platt ML (2017). Persistent social isolation reflects identity and social context but not maternal effects or early environment. Scientific Reports Full text.
Brent LJN, Franks DW, Foster EA, Balcomb KC, Cant MA, Croft DP (2015). Ecological knowledge, leadership, and the evolution of menopause in killer whales. Current Biology, 25(6), 746-750. Full text.
Brent LJN (2015). Friends of friends: Are indirect connections in social networks important to animal behaviour?. Animal Behaviour, 103, 211-222. Full text.
Brent LJN, Chang SW, Gariepy JF, Platt ML (2014). The neuroethology of friendship. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1316, 1-17.

Publications by category


Journal articles

Madlon-Kay S, Montague MJ, Brent LJN, Eliis S, Zhong B, Snyder-Mackler N, Horvath JE, Skene JHP, Platt ML (2018). Weak effects of common genetic variation in oxytocin and vasopressin receptor genes on rhesus macaque social behavior. American Journal of Primatology Full text.
Lacy RC, Williams R, Ashe E, Balcomb KC, Brent LJN, Clark CW, Croft DP, Giles DA, MacDuffee M, Paquet P, et al (2017). Evaluating anthropogenic threats to endangered killer whales to inform effective recovery plans. Scientific Reports Full text.
Lacy RC, Williams R, Ashe E, Balcomb KC, Brent LJN, Clark CW, Croft DP, Giles DA, MacDuffee M, Paquet PC, et al (2017). Evaluating anthropogenic threats to endangered killer whales to inform effective recovery plans. Scientific Reports
Brent LJN, Ruiz-Lambides A, Platt ML (2017). Family network size and survival across the lifespan of female macaques. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 284(1854), 20170515-20170515. Full text.
Firth JA, Brent LJN, Sheldon BC (2017). Indirectly connected: simple social differences can explain the causes and apparent consequences of complex social network positions. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences Full text.
Brent LJN (2017). Mammal societies. ANIMAL BEHAVIOUR, 131, 43-43. Author URL.
Brent LJN, Ruiz-Lambides A, Platt ML (2017). Persistent social isolation reflects identity and social context but not maternal effects or early environment. Scientific Reports Full text.
Croft DP, Johnstone RA, Ellis S, Nattrass S, Franks DW, Brent LJN, Mazzi S, Balcomb C, Ford JKB, Cant MA, et al (2017). Reproductive Conflict and the Evolution of Menopause in Killer Whales. Current Biology Full text.
Larson SM, Ruiz-Lambides A, Platt ML, Brent LJN (2017). Social network dynamics precede a mass eviction in group-living rhesus macaques. Animal Behaviour Full text.
Madlon-Kay S, Brent LJN, Montague M, Heller K, Platt ML (2017). Using Machine Learning to Discover Latent Social Phenotypes in Free-Ranging Macaques. Brain Sciences Full text.
Franks DW, Nattrass S, Brent LJN, Whitehead H, Foote AD, Mazzi S, Ford JKB, Balcomb KC, Cant MA, Croft DP, et al (2016). The significance of postreproductive lifespans in killer whales: a comment on Robeck et al. Journal of Mammalogy, gyw021-gyw021.
Boyland N, Mlynski DT, James R, Brent LJN, Croft DP (2016). The social network structure of a dynamic group of dairy cows: from individual to group level patterns. Applied Animal Behaviour Science Abstract.  Full text.
Brent LJN, Franks DW, Foster EA, Balcomb KC, Cant MA, Croft DP (2015). Ecological knowledge, leadership, and the evolution of menopause in killer whales. Current Biology, 25(6), 746-750. Full text.
Brent LJN (2015). Friends of friends: Are indirect connections in social networks important to animal behaviour?. Animal Behaviour, 103, 211-222. Full text.
Watson KK, Li D, Brent LJN, Horvath JE, Gonzalez-Martinez J, Ruiz-Lambides AV, Robinson AG, Skene JHP, Platt MLP (2015). Genetic influences on social attention in free-ranging rhesus macaques. Animal Behaviour, 103, 267-275.
Croft DP, Brent LJN, Franks DW, Cant MA (2015). The evolution of prolonged life after reproduction. Trends in Ecology and Evolution Abstract.  Full text.
Brent L (2014). A rewarding relationship. New Scientist, 222(2970), 37-39.
Blomquist GE, Brent LJN (2014). Applying Quantitative Genetic Methods to Primate Social Behavior. International Journal of Primatology, 35(1), 108-128. Abstract.
Brent LJN, Semple S, MacLarnon A, Ruiz-Lambides A, Gonzalez-Martinez J, Platt ML (2014). Personality Traits in Rhesus Macaques (Macaca mulatta) Are Heritable but Do Not Predict Reproductive Output. International Journal of Primatology, 35(1), 188-209. Abstract.
Dubuc C, Winters S, Allen WL, Brent LJN, Casio J, Maestripieri D, Ruiz-Lambides AV, Widdig A, Higham JP (2014). Sexually selected skin color is heritable and related to fitness in a non-human primate. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London: Biological Sciences, 281, 20141602-20141602.
Brent LJN, Melin AD (2014). The Genetic Basis of Primate Behavior: Genetics and Genomics in Field-Based Primatology. International Journal of Primatology, 35(1), 1-10.
MacLean EL, Hare B, Nun CL, Addess E, Amic F, Anderson RC, Aureli F, Baker JM, Bania AE, Barnard AM, et al (2014). The evolution of self-control. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 111(20). Abstract.
Brent LJN, Chang SW, Gariepy JF, Platt ML (2014). The neuroethology of friendship. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1316, 1-17.
Gilby IC, Brent LJN, Wroblewski EE, Rudicell RS, Hahn BH, Goodall J, Pusey AE (2013). Fitness benefits of coalitionary aggression in male chimpanzees. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 67(3), 373-381. Abstract.
Brent LJN, Heilbronner SR, Horvath JE, Gonzalez-Martinez J, Ruiz-Lambides A, Robinson AG, Pate Skene JH, Platt ML (2013). Genetic origins of social networks in rhesus macaques. Scientific Reports, 3 Abstract.  Full text.
Chang SW, Brent LJN, Adams GK, Pearson J, Klein J, Watson KK, Platt ML (2013). Neuroethology of primate social behavior. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of USA, 110, 10387-10394.
Dobson SD, Brent LJN (2013). On the evolution of the serotonin transporter linked polymorphic region (5-HTTLPR) in primates. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience(NOV). Abstract.
Brent LJN, MacLarnon A, Platt ML, Semple S (2013). Seasonal changes in the structure of rhesus macaque social networks. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 67(3), 349-359. Abstract.
Brent LJN, Melin AD (2013). The Genetic Basis of Primate Behavior: Genetics and Genomics in Field-Based Primatology. International Journal of Primatology, 1-10.
Buhl JS, Aure B, Ruiz-Lambides A, Gonzalez-Martinez J, Platt ML, Brent LJN (2012). Response of Rhesus Macaques (Macaca mulatta) to the Body of a Group Member That Died from a Fatal Attack. International Journal of Primatology, 33(4), 860-871. Abstract.
Higham JP, Hughes KD, Brent LJN, Dubuc C, Engelhardt A, Heistermann M, Maestriperi D, Santos LR, Stevens M (2011). Familiarity affects the assessment of female facial signals of fertility by free-ranging male rhesus macaques. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 278(1723), 3452-3458. Abstract.
Brent LJN, Semple S, Dubuc C, Heistermann M, MacLarnon A (2011). Social capital and physiological stress levels in free-ranging adult female rhesus macaques. Physiology and Behavior, 102(1), 76-83. Abstract.
Brent LJN, Lehmann J, Ramos-Fernandez G (2011). Social networks in the study of nonhuman primates: a historical perspective. American Journal of Primatology(73), 720-730.
Higham JP, Brent LJN, Dubuc C, Accamando AK, Engelhardt A, Gerald MS, Heistermann M, Stevens M (2010). Color signal information content and the eye of the beholder: a case study in the rhesus macaque. Behavioral Ecology, 21(4), 739-746. Abstract.
Dubuc C, Brent LJN, Accamando AK, Gerald MS, MacLarnon A, Semple S, Heistermann M, Engelhardt A (2009). Sexual skin color contains information about the timing of the fertile phase in free-ranging macaca mulatta. International Journal of Primatology, 30(6), 777-789. Abstract.
Brent LJN, Teichroeb JA, Sicotte P (2008). Preliminary assessment of natal attraction and infant handling in wild Colobus vellerosus. American Journal of Primatology, 70(1), 101-105.
Brent LJN, Drapeau P (2002). Targeted 'knockdown' of channel expression in vivo with an antisense morpholino oligonucleotide. Neuroscience, 114(2), 275-278. Abstract.

Chapters

Pavelka MSM, Brent LJN, Croft DP, Fedigan LM (2018). Post-fertile Lifespan in Female Primates and Cetaceans. In Kalbitzer U, Jack K (Eds.) Primate Life Histories, Sex Roles, and Adaptability. Developments in Primatology: Progress and Prospects, Springer, Cham. Full text.

Publications by year


2018

Pavelka MSM, Brent LJN, Croft DP, Fedigan LM (2018). Post-fertile Lifespan in Female Primates and Cetaceans. In Kalbitzer U, Jack K (Eds.) Primate Life Histories, Sex Roles, and Adaptability. Developments in Primatology: Progress and Prospects, Springer, Cham. Full text.
Madlon-Kay S, Montague MJ, Brent LJN, Eliis S, Zhong B, Snyder-Mackler N, Horvath JE, Skene JHP, Platt ML (2018). Weak effects of common genetic variation in oxytocin and vasopressin receptor genes on rhesus macaque social behavior. American Journal of Primatology Full text.

2017

Lacy RC, Williams R, Ashe E, Balcomb KC, Brent LJN, Clark CW, Croft DP, Giles DA, MacDuffee M, Paquet P, et al (2017). Evaluating anthropogenic threats to endangered killer whales to inform effective recovery plans. Scientific Reports Full text.
Lacy RC, Williams R, Ashe E, Balcomb KC, Brent LJN, Clark CW, Croft DP, Giles DA, MacDuffee M, Paquet PC, et al (2017). Evaluating anthropogenic threats to endangered killer whales to inform effective recovery plans. Scientific Reports
Brent LJN, Ruiz-Lambides A, Platt ML (2017). Family network size and survival across the lifespan of female macaques. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 284(1854), 20170515-20170515. Full text.
Firth JA, Brent LJN, Sheldon BC (2017). Indirectly connected: simple social differences can explain the causes and apparent consequences of complex social network positions. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences Full text.
Brent LJN (2017). Mammal societies. ANIMAL BEHAVIOUR, 131, 43-43. Author URL.
Brent LJN, Ruiz-Lambides A, Platt ML (2017). Persistent social isolation reflects identity and social context but not maternal effects or early environment. Scientific Reports Full text.
Croft DP, Johnstone RA, Ellis S, Nattrass S, Franks DW, Brent LJN, Mazzi S, Balcomb C, Ford JKB, Cant MA, et al (2017). Reproductive Conflict and the Evolution of Menopause in Killer Whales. Current Biology Full text.
Larson SM, Ruiz-Lambides A, Platt ML, Brent LJN (2017). Social network dynamics precede a mass eviction in group-living rhesus macaques. Animal Behaviour Full text.
Madlon-Kay S, Brent LJN, Montague M, Heller K, Platt ML (2017). Using Machine Learning to Discover Latent Social Phenotypes in Free-Ranging Macaques. Brain Sciences Full text.

2016

Franks DW, Nattrass S, Brent LJN, Whitehead H, Foote AD, Mazzi S, Ford JKB, Balcomb KC, Cant MA, Croft DP, et al (2016). The significance of postreproductive lifespans in killer whales: a comment on Robeck et al. Journal of Mammalogy, gyw021-gyw021.
Boyland N, Mlynski DT, James R, Brent LJN, Croft DP (2016). The social network structure of a dynamic group of dairy cows: from individual to group level patterns. Applied Animal Behaviour Science Abstract.  Full text.

2015

Brent LJN, Franks DW, Foster EA, Balcomb KC, Cant MA, Croft DP (2015). Ecological knowledge, leadership, and the evolution of menopause in killer whales. Current Biology, 25(6), 746-750. Full text.
Brent LJN (2015). Friends of friends: Are indirect connections in social networks important to animal behaviour?. Animal Behaviour, 103, 211-222. Full text.
Watson KK, Li D, Brent LJN, Horvath JE, Gonzalez-Martinez J, Ruiz-Lambides AV, Robinson AG, Skene JHP, Platt MLP (2015). Genetic influences on social attention in free-ranging rhesus macaques. Animal Behaviour, 103, 267-275.
Croft DP, Brent LJN, Franks DW, Cant MA (2015). The evolution of prolonged life after reproduction. Trends in Ecology and Evolution Abstract.  Full text.

2014

Brent L (2014). A rewarding relationship. New Scientist, 222(2970), 37-39.
Blomquist GE, Brent LJN (2014). Applying Quantitative Genetic Methods to Primate Social Behavior. International Journal of Primatology, 35(1), 108-128. Abstract.
Brent LJN, Semple S, MacLarnon A, Ruiz-Lambides A, Gonzalez-Martinez J, Platt ML (2014). Personality Traits in Rhesus Macaques (Macaca mulatta) Are Heritable but Do Not Predict Reproductive Output. International Journal of Primatology, 35(1), 188-209. Abstract.
Dubuc C, Winters S, Allen WL, Brent LJN, Casio J, Maestripieri D, Ruiz-Lambides AV, Widdig A, Higham JP (2014). Sexually selected skin color is heritable and related to fitness in a non-human primate. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London: Biological Sciences, 281, 20141602-20141602.
Brent LJN, Melin AD (2014). The Genetic Basis of Primate Behavior: Genetics and Genomics in Field-Based Primatology. International Journal of Primatology, 35(1), 1-10.
MacLean EL, Hare B, Nun CL, Addess E, Amic F, Anderson RC, Aureli F, Baker JM, Bania AE, Barnard AM, et al (2014). The evolution of self-control. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 111(20). Abstract.
Brent LJN, Chang SW, Gariepy JF, Platt ML (2014). The neuroethology of friendship. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1316, 1-17.

2013

Gilby IC, Brent LJN, Wroblewski EE, Rudicell RS, Hahn BH, Goodall J, Pusey AE (2013). Fitness benefits of coalitionary aggression in male chimpanzees. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 67(3), 373-381. Abstract.
Brent LJN, Heilbronner SR, Horvath JE, Gonzalez-Martinez J, Ruiz-Lambides A, Robinson AG, Pate Skene JH, Platt ML (2013). Genetic origins of social networks in rhesus macaques. Scientific Reports, 3 Abstract.  Full text.
Chang SW, Brent LJN, Adams GK, Pearson J, Klein J, Watson KK, Platt ML (2013). Neuroethology of primate social behavior. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of USA, 110, 10387-10394.
Dobson SD, Brent LJN (2013). On the evolution of the serotonin transporter linked polymorphic region (5-HTTLPR) in primates. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience(NOV). Abstract.
Brent LJN, MacLarnon A, Platt ML, Semple S (2013). Seasonal changes in the structure of rhesus macaque social networks. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 67(3), 349-359. Abstract.
Brent LJN, Melin AD (2013). The Genetic Basis of Primate Behavior: Genetics and Genomics in Field-Based Primatology. International Journal of Primatology, 1-10.

2012

Buhl JS, Aure B, Ruiz-Lambides A, Gonzalez-Martinez J, Platt ML, Brent LJN (2012). Response of Rhesus Macaques (Macaca mulatta) to the Body of a Group Member That Died from a Fatal Attack. International Journal of Primatology, 33(4), 860-871. Abstract.

2011

Higham JP, Hughes KD, Brent LJN, Dubuc C, Engelhardt A, Heistermann M, Maestriperi D, Santos LR, Stevens M (2011). Familiarity affects the assessment of female facial signals of fertility by free-ranging male rhesus macaques. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 278(1723), 3452-3458. Abstract.
Brent LJN, Semple S, Dubuc C, Heistermann M, MacLarnon A (2011). Social capital and physiological stress levels in free-ranging adult female rhesus macaques. Physiology and Behavior, 102(1), 76-83. Abstract.
Brent LJN, Lehmann J, Ramos-Fernandez G (2011). Social networks in the study of nonhuman primates: a historical perspective. American Journal of Primatology(73), 720-730.

2010

Higham JP, Brent LJN, Dubuc C, Accamando AK, Engelhardt A, Gerald MS, Heistermann M, Stevens M (2010). Color signal information content and the eye of the beholder: a case study in the rhesus macaque. Behavioral Ecology, 21(4), 739-746. Abstract.

2009

Dubuc C, Brent LJN, Accamando AK, Gerald MS, MacLarnon A, Semple S, Heistermann M, Engelhardt A (2009). Sexual skin color contains information about the timing of the fertile phase in free-ranging macaca mulatta. International Journal of Primatology, 30(6), 777-789. Abstract.

2008

Brent LJN, Teichroeb JA, Sicotte P (2008). Preliminary assessment of natal attraction and infant handling in wild Colobus vellerosus. American Journal of Primatology, 70(1), 101-105.

2002

Brent LJN, Drapeau P (2002). Targeted 'knockdown' of channel expression in vivo with an antisense morpholino oligonucleotide. Neuroscience, 114(2), 275-278. Abstract.

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