Behavioural and Evolutionary Ecology
Interactions and behaviours underpinning evolution and ecology - home
While I have a passionate interest in ornithology, my general research interests include conservation biology, behavioural ecology, island biogeography, palaeontology, geology and evolutionary ecology.
For my PhD I am undertaking an investigation into the roles of inter- and intra-specific competition as drivers of avian speciation, focusing on a number of small passerine birds from the Wakatobi islands, South-east Sulawesi, Indonesia. The species I am primarily interested are the Lemon-bellied White-eye Zosterops chloris, Olive-backed Sunbird Cinnyris jugularis and Grey-sided Flowerpecker Dicaeum celebicum but this may extend to include other species present in the Wakatobi. As these particular species are known to overlap significantly in their habits and ecology, and small islands are known to contain less exploitable resources, support less habitat diversity and less species, it is likely that they are competing interspecifically to some degree - or have evolved certain traits to avoid such competition. Intraspecific competition has also been known to play a major role in the evolution of insular passerine populations, affecting body size, thermoregulation and more.
I aim to quantify the level of divergence that exists between insular Wakatobi populations and nearby mainland populations, as well as between the Wakatobi populations, using morphometric, genetic, behavioural and ecological data. I then hope to, with the use detailed behavioural and ecological data, determine the roles inter- and intra-specific competition play in driving this divergence, as well the roles of any other selection pressures involved. I hope my research will also aid in resolving the taxonomic and conservation status of these Wakatobi populations
Keywords: birds; speciation; competition; evolution; island biogeography; genetic sequencing; stable isotope analysis.
Association for Study of Animal Behaviour Easter Conference 2012: (oral presentation) Ecological character displacement in an Indonesian White-eye (Zosteropidae)
BES Macroecology Special Interest Group Inaugural Meeting - June 2012
Mail: Zoology Building, School of Natural Sciences,
Trinity College Dublin,