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

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

January 20, 2014

» Migrating birds fly in a V-formation to save energy

A study published in Nature offers the first experimental evidence to resolve the question: why do migrating birds fly in V-formation? The putative answer -that it helps to save energy- was around for a while, but an empirical confirmation was missing. Here, it was shown that Northern bald ibis synchronise both their position and their wing flaps in a way to utilize the aerodynamic upwash of the preceding bird. To read paper click here

January 7, 2014

» Birds of a feather sing together

A study published in PNAS suggests that the dawn chorus of Amazonian birdsong is a network of social communication within and between species as species signalling together in time and space used signals that were more similar than expected by chance, contrary to the traditional view that such choruses should be partitioned on spatial, temporal or design axes.  Read paper. Press coverage: Quanta Magazine.

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Upcoming Events & Seminars

EGI Seminar: Professor Ken Binmore - "Suicidal punishment in the ant Acromyrme

This week's EGI seminar speaker is Professor Ken Binmore of UCL the well known game theorist and economist. He will be speaking on "Suicidal punishment in the ant Acromyrmex versicolor" at 4pm in D38. All are welcome.
When: Fri May 2 16:00 - 17:00

EGI Seminar: Tyler Stevenson - "Mechanisms regulating seasonal rhythms: neural

Dr Tyler Stevenson (University of Aberdeen) will speak on "Mechanisms regulating seasonal rhythms: neural and physiological perspectives" in D38 at 4pm. All are welcome.(http://www.abdn.ac.uk/sbs/people/profiles/tyler.stevenson)
When: Fri May 9 16:00 - 17:00