I studied Zoology at Sheffield where I continued to do a PhD on mechanisms of sexual selection, which I obtained in 2005. During this time I also ran field expeditions and worked on projects encompassing a variety of topics from sea bird ecology in Northern Canada to conservation of giant otters in Bolivia. Following my PhD I moved to Oxford University to take up a Research Fellow in Ornithology and subsequently a Browne Research Fellowship at The Queen’s College, Oxford. During this time I started working on social evolution, which is the focus of my current research. In 2011 I moved to Lund to take up an assistant professorship (VR).
Some of the topics I work on are (see project pages for more information):
- Promiscuity and the evolution of cooperation
- Sexual cooperation and harm
- Reproductive isolation and genetic mate compatibility
I use a combination of comparative analyses and experimental and genetic analyses on ostriches.
Ostriches provide an ideal study system for examining social evolution because they have a very flexible and complex social life that involves synchronized courtship, communal nesting, kidnapping, chick creching and group defence. There are also four subspecies of ostriches that are separated by a gradient of genetic differentiation making them an ideal system for studying reproductive isolation and mate compatibility.
(fetched from Lund University's publications database)
- Cooperation facilitates the colonization of harsh environments
- Evolutionary associations between host traits and parasite load : Insights from Lake Tanganyika cichlids
- How to make a sterile helper
- The transcriptome of the avian malaria parasite Plasmodium ashfordi displays host-specific gene expression
- Between male variation in semen characteristics and preliminary results on the dilution of semen in the ostrich
- Dynamic affairs–could be if we let it!
- MHC heterozygosity and survival in red junglefowl
- Male reproductive senescence causes potential for sexual conflict over mating
- Promiscuity and the evolutionary transition to complex societies
- Towards an evolutionary ecology of sexual traits
- Changes in sperm quality and numbers in response to experimental manipulation of male social status and female attractiveness
- Experimental evidence that female ornamentation increases the acquisition of sperm and signals fecundity
- Social competitiveness associated with rapid fluctuations in sperm quality in male fowl