About this Research Topic
Thirty or more species of bathyergid mole-rat exist across sub-Saharan Africa, from naked mole-rats in the Horn of East Africa to Cape dune mole-rats and blesmols in the western and southern Cape. Early research on the Bathyergidae focused on describing and understanding the social behavior of a few bathyergid species and eusociality in naked mole-rats attracted disproportionate attention. However, biomedical, behavioral, and ecological research on bathyergid mole-rats has expanded exponentially in recent years. Although their subterranean habitat protects them from many types of predators, the constraints of the subterranean environment have led to a host of morphological, physiological and behavioral adaptations.
How and why are bathyergids particularly interesting model organisms for ecologists and biologists? Much attention has been paid to the naked mole-rat as a biomedical model species, especially as a model for successful aging and cancer resistance. However, many of the ecophysiological pressures under which naked mole-rats evolved are experienced and shared by other members of the family. Indeed, many of the adaptations to the subterranean environment are not unique to naked mole-rats. Submissions will focus on new discoveries that will help us understand the evolution, ecology and unique adaptations of bathyergids. Submissions dealing with more than one bathyergid species will be encouraged.
Submissions will address new discoveries about the ecology and evolution of one or more bathyergid mole-rat species. While some background may be appropriate, the focus should be on new, or less widely known discoveries. Naked mole-rats may be included but will not be disproportionately represented.
• Original research articles on the ecology and evolution of single bathyergid species
• Synthetic articles comparing ecology and evolution across the Bathyergidae
• Ecological or Ecophysiological field experiments
• Behavioral Ecology experiments in the lab or field
• Descriptive Demography of one or more bathyergid
• Population Genetics of one or more bathyergid
Keywords: Bathyergidae, mole-rat, adaptation, ecophysiology, subterranean, ecology, evolution
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.