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Penelope Kukuk, Retired Research Professor

Location: CORBIN 337

Phone: (406) 243-5896


B.S. University of North Carolina, 1972
Ph.D. University of Kansas, 1980

Research Interests

I am interested in the evolution of sociality in social bees. Of the more than 20,000 species of bees most are solitary but many live in social groups. The organization of these groups can be egalitarian, with all females reproducing, or hierarchical, with a reproductive division of labor. In the family Halictidae, a wide range of social organization facilities comparative studies focusing on the evolution of alternative social systems.� I concentrate on the behavior, genetics and ecology of several species of halictine bee (found in southern Australia) that have egalitarian sociality in an effort to demonstrate the evolutionary stability of cooperative, egalitarian social systems.� Most recently I and collaborators are pursuing two novel directions in this research.� First, a quantitative genetic approach to establish the genetic basis for socially relevant behaviors in field populations, and, second, investigation of how group properties (like division of labor) emerge from the characteristics of group members.

I also direct several projects aimed at increasing the diversity of students and faculty in the sciences.� Two projects focus on students from tribal colleges and provide them summer research internships at UM.� The third project focuses on increasing the number of women faculty at UM

Selected Publications

Kukuk, P. F., C.� Bitney, and S. H. Forbes.� Accepted, under revision.� Maintaining low intragroup relatedness:� Evolutionary stability of nonkin social groups.� Animal Behavior.

Forbes, S. H., R. M. M. Adams, C. Bitney, & P. F. Kukuk, 2002. Extended parental care in communal social groups.� Journal of Insect Science 2:22.

Moore, A. J. & P. F. Kukuk.� 2002.� Behavioral genetics for behavioral ecologists: Natural quantitative genetics.� Nature Reviews Genetics 3:971-978.

Kukuk, P. F., S. H. Forbes, R. Zahorchack, A. Riddle, & K. Pilgrim.� 2002� Highly polymorphic microsatellite markers developed for the social halictine bee Lasioglossum (Chilalictus) hemichalceum.� Molecular Ecology Notes 2:529-530.

Field of Study

Behavioral ecology of halictine bees