CIE Seminar Series – 2020: Communication and cooperation in Africa’s smallest carnivore – the dwarf mongoose

SPEAKER: Dr Julie Kern, Postdoctoral Fellow, University of New England, NSW.

DATE & TIME: Friday, 16th October 2020 @ 12:00 noon

LOCATION: Seminar to be streamed via Zoom. Click HERE to connect.


In this seminar I will discuss what my colleagues and I have learned from our long-term study of cooperatively breeding dwarf mongooses, Helogale parvula. Dwarf mongooses, found from southern Ethiopia to north-east South Africa, are diurnal carnivores that live in stable mixed-sex groups. While a dominant pair monopolises reproduction, subordinate helpers contribute to several cooperative behaviours, including pup feeding, allogrooming, territorial defence and sentinel behaviour.

Since 2011, we have continuously monitored a habituated population of dwarf mongooses in South Africa’s Limpopo province. Our research explores the behaviour and vocalisations of this social species, with particular emphasis on the use of communication to coordinate cooperative behaviour and the widespread disruption of daily life by anthropogenic noise, as well as the influence of intra-group relationships and inter-group conflict.


Dr Julie Kern is a behavioural ecologist whose research focuses on the mechanisms and functions of cooperation in animal societies. In 2011 she co-founded the Dwarf Mongoose Research Project with Professor Andy Radford, and spent over seven years studying the species as a postgraduate and then a postdoctoral research associate at University of Bristol, UK.

In 2018 she relocated to South Africa and spent 18 months investigating population dynamics of African elephants in the Greater Kruger National Park with local NGO ‘Elephants Alive’.

In early 2020, she joined the University of New England as a postdoc in the Avian Behavioural Ecology Lab where she is working on noisy miners with Associate Professor Paul McDonald.

For more information click HERE.

As a courtesy, we request that when connecting to the seminar that you mute your microphone unless you are required to speak, this would ensure that the sound from the speaker to the audience is not disrupted by feedback from your microphone.

Thanking you in advance!