Welcome to the EGI

Oxford University LogoThe Edward Grey Institute is part of the Department of Zoology at the University of Oxford. Founded in 1937, it conducts research into the behaviour, ecology, evolution and conservation of birds, with a strong emphasis on understanding organisms in their natural environments. Read more on the history of the EGI.

The EGI is particularly well known for its long-term population studies of birds, and as one of the birthplaces of behavioural ecology. These research themes are as strong as ever, and have recently been supplemented by vigorous programmes studying reproductive strategies in birds, speciation in Neotropical passerines, and the evolutionary ecology of avian malaria. For a quick overview of what we do, see this poster.

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Research Highlights

July 3, 2014

» Individual personality and emergent collective behaviour in great tits

A study published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B shows that foraging in groups consisting of mixed personality types can have emergent properties not found in uniform groups. In flocks of wild great tits, bold birds initiated movements towards unexploited areas in food patches, whereas shy birds maintained cohesion of the flock, resulting in better use of resources and suggesting a role for personality in leader-follower polymorphisms.

Link to paper: http://rspb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/281/1789/20141016.full

July 1, 2014

» Disentangling causes of colour variation

A new paper in Functional Ecology analyses quantitative genetic variation in yellow coloration of great tits using a new ‘spectral partitioning’ method. This method reveals that genetic and environmental variances in reflectance are distributed unequally across the spectrum, suggesting very different causes of variation in the components producing the colour.

Link to paper: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/1365-2435.12297/full

March 12, 2014

» Uncovering evolutionary dynamics over the last 35 million years

A study published in Nature uses phylogenetic analyses across 350 lineages of ovenbirds to show that, contrary to classical character displacement theory, species coexistence is not associated with evolutionary divergence of ecological traits or social signals, but instead with apparent convergence of songs. Read paper | Press release | Quanta

February 3, 2014

» Brotherly love reduces harm to female Drosophila

Intense competition for mates in male Drosophila can result in harm to females. However, a new study in Nature shows that when competing males are brothers, they are less aggressive to one another and less harmful to females. The results are consistent with the idea that males benefit from promoting the reproductive success of their close relatives in addition to their own. To read paper click here . Press coverage:  Oxford University Press Release and Medical Daily

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Upcoming Events & Seminars

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