Susana A. M. Varela has a Ph.D. in Behavioural Ecology and Evolution from the Sorbonne Université Campus Pierre et Marie Curie, France. She is currently a researcher at the WJCR and the Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência (IGC). She studies social behaviour in non-human animals with two main approaches: 1) Behavioural Ecology: the study of the ecological conditions under which social behaviour is adaptive and how the use of social information impacts its development and evolution; and 2) Behavioural Neurobiology: the study of the underlying cognitive mechanisms by which animals acquire, learn and use social information. Her aim is to understand whether there is a specialized cognitive mechanism for social learning, using fruit flies and zebrafish as model organisms.
Main 5 publications
Nunes, A.R.*, Gliksberg, M.*, Varela, S.A.M., Teles, M,. Wircer, E., Blechman, J., Petri, G., Levkowitz, G. & Oliveira, R.F. (*co-first). 2021. Developmental effects of oxytocin neurons on social affiliation and processing of social information. Journal of Neuroscience, JN-RM-2939-20. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2939-20.2021
Sapage, M., Varela, S.A.M., & Kokko, H. 2020. Social learning by mate-choice copying increases dispersal and reduces local adaptation. Functional Ecology, 00:1–12. doi: 10.1111/1365-2435.13735
Varela, S.A.M., Teles, M.C. & Oliveira, R.F. 2020. The correlated evolution of social competence and social cognition. Functional Ecology, 34: 332–343. doi: 10.1111/1365-2435.13416
Faria, G.S., Varela, S.A.M., & Gardner, A. 2019. The social evolution of sleep: sex differences, intragenomic conflicts and clinical pathologies. Proceedings B 286 (1894), 20182188. doi: 10.1098/rspb.2018.2188
Varela, S.A.M., Matos, M. & Schlupp, I. 2018. The role of mate-choice copying in speciation and hybridization. Biological Reviews 93(2): 1304-1322. doi: 10.1111/brv.12397