Evolution of social behaviour
Sexual selection and mate choice
Evolution of personalities
Senescence in wild populations
How and why social behaviours evolve has intrigued behavioural
ecologists for decades. Cooperative breeding behaviour occurs when individuals help to raise offspring that are not their own.
Social-evolution theory states that individuals should behave in a way
that increases their genetic contribution to future generations. As
cooperative breeding can be costly it’s therefore not clear why
individuals should help others.
My doctoral research focused on how mating systems influence the evolution of delayed dispersal and how relatedness and reproductive skew vary within social groups. I examined between-individual and within-individual variation in breeding success, specifically looking into reproductive restraint, senescence, cooperative breeding, and mate choice. I then investigated how social interactions, such as directed aggression and allogrooming, relate to breeding success.
For my masters, I demonstrated annual variation in the offspring sex-ratios of badgers. I also built a
phylogeny of the ZFX and ZFY final intron of the Strepsirrhines, with
particular focus on the Lemuroidea superfamily.
warbler database co-ordinator, University of Groningen. 1 year
position, with a further one year extension possibility. Deadline =
November 15th 2013 Apply here.
If you are interested in
joining the Seychelles warbler project please check our website for further information.
The summer field season on Cousin has ended. Many thanks to Hannah
Edwards, Lauren Garside, Michela Busana & Sjouke Kingma for their
September 2013: I attended the NERC Public Engagement course & highly recommend it
August 2013: I presented my work on 'senescence in European badgers', and 'visibility and gender at evolutionary biology conferences', at ESEB 2013
July 2013: I went to our long term study site in the Seychelles, the warbler breeding season has started
June 2013: Niles Desmarais is visiting our lab to genotype the acorn woodpecker population in Hastings
June 2013: My paper on gender and visibility in science, with Julia Schroeder and colleagues, was published in JEB
May 2013: Gabi Hajduck was awarded an 8-week summer studentship from the Genetics Society
April 2013: Chloe Stevens and Gillian Durieux have been awarded SURE grants for 6-week summer studentships
Hannah Edwards and Steph Hodges caught a Seychelles warbler on Cousin,
which we translocated to Fregate island in December 2011 - she's flown
25 miles back to Cousin!
February 2013: Geetha Annavi was awarded her DPhil, University of Oxford. Congratulations!
I am a project partner on a NERC standard research grant that was
awarded to David Richardson (UEA) on trans-generational impacts on
February 2013: Hannah Edwards was awarded a Schure-Beijerinck-Popping grant for her PhD fieldwork
January 2013: Simon (Yung Wa) Sin was awarded his DPhil, University of Oxford. Congratulations!
January 2013: Margarete Utz has accepted a 3-year post-doctoral position in Theoretical Evolutionary Ecology at the University of Groningen with Professor Franjo Weissing, Professor Jan Komdeur and I. The project is on 'Causes and consequences of variation in dispersal behaviours', funded by a NWO TopGrant (ALW-TOP/11.017) to Jan Komdeur
I participated in the Lundy house sparrow winter field season, which
showed that the population is doing well: we collected data on 79
birds, 10 of which were new individuals
November 2012: Hannah Edward's letter on measuring personalities has been accepted at Animal Behaviour
November 2012: I was awarded a Dr JL Dobberke Grant to conduct fieldwork to investigate the 'Causes and consequences of personality in a cooperatively breeding bird'
Geetha Annavi and Simon (Yung Wa) Sin both handed in
their DPhil theses at the University of Oxford (supervised by Prof
David Macdonald; co-supervised by Dr Chris Newman & myself)
September 2012: Hannah Edwards started her PhD position with Professor Terry Burke and I on 'Personalities and fitness in the Seychelles warbler'. Hannah's PhD is funded through the Department of Animal and Plant Sciences' NERC graduate studentship competition