Lauren Holt

Dr Lauren Holt



College: College of Life and Environmental Sciences

I have an eclectic range of research interests, but I have always been interested by social behaviour, particularly altruism and the effects of group size on group functioning and individual behaviour. Currently I work on oxidative shielding (how animals may increase their quantity of anti-oxidants at critical points, such as during mating or breeding) in banded mongooses, and I manage the lab-work investigating how these social mammals trade-off between reproduction, growth and longevity. Since banded mongooses share the costs of reproduction and juvenile care, including allo-nursing and escorting of pups, it will be interesting to see how these behaviours affect oxidative shielding. Increasing anti-oxidants may also be done primarily to protect offspring from the mother, or vice versa.

My PhD investigated universal benefits of social organization, using the tropical hover-wasp Liostenogaster flavolineata, and reached some interesting conclusions about optimal group-size and relatedness in this species based on variations in food returns and the Central Limit Theorum. My other interests include organization of groups according to physical principles, such as in human society and insect colonies, and how these physical, entropic principles may have caused the crystallisation of precursor organic compounds and early forms of life. I'm particularly interested in ideas that span all levels of scale. 

I also have an interest in science communication, and concepts at the intersection of art and science. Recently I facilitated an ESI creative exchange, and will be working on some new projects soon!