Genes, Fitness and the Black Box in between
Welcome to this site. I am an evolutionary ecologist with a strong interest in behavioural biology.
|In buzzards, I am searching for links between genes and fitness. Fitness is the ultimate currency of success in nature and is largely shaped by an individual’s genes.||Genes affect fitness through all the traits of an individual. My work concentrates on individual differences in hormones, immunity and behaviour.||As a part of this research, our group ring buzzard chicks and mark them with wing tags. More on these tags and how to report a sighting is here: English / Deutsch.|
|My second project is an old love from PhD days. It looks at the very uncommon strategies of a brood parasite, the Jacobin Cuckoo. Females of this species lay their eggs into the nests of Cape Bulbuls. I am studying the cuckoo’s strategies to get away with this murder.||As a part of my cuckoo studies, I compared brain sizes between brood parasitic and non-parasitic cuckoos. The results were surprising and illustrate a new, powerful method of Evolutionary Sequences to distinguish between evolutionary cause and consequence.||I enjoy sharing my love for science with others and to get people of all ages excited about research and the world around us. To learn more about this, go to Outreach or get involved with our study on Common Buzzards: Report Wing Tags/Rings.|