Rubenstein is an integrative behavioral and evolutionary ecologist who studies (1) the evolution of complex animal societies and (2) how organisms adapt to and cope with environmental change. He seeks to develop a synthetic understanding of animal sociality by combining mathematical theory with empirical studies of behavior, ecology, evolution, and the underlying genetic, epigenetic, and neuroendocrine mechanisms to study not only the causes of sociality (with an emphasis on the environmental drivers), but also the behavioral, morphological, physiological, and genetic consequences of living in complex societies. Additionally, he examines the behavioral, morphological, and physiological adaptations that allow individuals to cope with environmental uncertainty not just in social species, but in all animals that experience unpredictable environments. Currently, lab members work on free-living social vertebrate (African starlings and weavers) and invertebrate (Synalpheus shrimp).
Research Keywords: Animal behavior, Behavioral ecology, Evolution, Ecology, Physiology, Evolutionary ecology