Sue is now, among other many things, the new CBD Director and collaborating with her is the new Deputy Director of the CBD, Dr Maria Dornelas. Cheers!
The Centre for Biological Diversity (CBD) is an interdisciplinary group of researchers across seven schools at the University of St Andrews that are focused on the measurement, origin and consequences of biological variation.
The National Geographic Society’s Committee for Research and Exploration granted us funding to study the architectural traditions in the building behaviour of the white-browed sparrow weaver (Plocepasser mahali). Kalahari, here we go again!
This year’s hummingbird season was all science and all fun. We had three undergrad students collecting data for their dissertation projects (Caitlin Evans, Mia Corliss and Theo Brown). Maddy Buchanan, a master student, also collected data for her thesis while Kate Hutchings and Gabi Frank helped us out as research assistants. (Also in the photo Andy Hurly, Susan Healy and Maria Tello-Ramos).
Photo by Theo Brown.
After a combined four months in the Kalahari, we have all returned to our desk jobs.
In collaboration with Dr. Andy Young, from the University of Exeter, we have measured hundreds of roosts and filmed the building behaviour of the white-browed sparrow weaver to determine whether the differences in the morphology of the structures built by different colonies are due, in part, to social learning.
We are very proud for the blue tit team who just handed in their dissertations. Well done!
Kirsty Bond studied the factors causing female blue tits to change nest box between breeding attempts. Rowan Stanforth assessed the application of a photographic technique to study the composition of nests. Tom Oldridge studied the function of moss in nests of blue tits. Austin Morin measured the effects that temperature has on the building behaviour and reproductive output of blue tits.
We are equally proud and happy for the hummingbird duo!
Catherine Cannell studied whether wild hummingbirds change their foraging routes in response to a decrease in sucrose quality.
Catherine Lo studied relative quantity discrimination in wild hummingbirds.
We wish good luck to Dr. Pritchard on his new postdoctoral position at the University of Stirling.
During the Discovery Fellowship, Shoko will investigate how birds build nests using different materials, and if/how bird bills evolved with nest materials. To do this, she will combine fine-scale behavioural analyses and global-scale phylogenetic comparative modelling. In short, she hopes that her next 3 years will be filled with lots of bird watching and programming!
Sue was officially named a Professor at the University of St Andrews!
Congratulations Dr. David Walker who successfully passed his viva with minor corrections!