Comparative studies of the physiology underlying reproductive suppression in colonial and eusocial African mole-rats

We are measuring urinary and plasma hormone concentrations, and responses to various hormone challenges, in breeding and non-breeding individuals in a number of species (the eusocial Damaraland mole-rat and the naked mole-rat are now relatively well researched). We hope to establish the physiological nature of reproductive suppression throughout the social Bathyergidae, and compare and contrast our findings with other social species under study like the dwarf mongoose and marmoset monkey. Ultimately, we hope to determine whether, during the evolution of reproductive suppression in these different mammalian species, common physiological pathways have been selected to translate environmental signals into infertility.