News & Events

Here you can find some recent news and events, as well as a selection of recent papers and any new members that have joined the EGI.

Recent Video

Bird Ringing Demonstration at Farmoor Res Oxon, 25th February 2012

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Most Recent Research Highlights

» Early-Life Stress Triggers Juvenile Zebra Finches to Switch Social Learning StrategiesJuly 24, 2015

zebra finches on novel foraging taskA new paper published in Current Biology by Damien Farine and colleagues shows that exposure to stress in early life led juvenile zebra finches to switch social learning strategies. Zebra finches acquire new foraging behaviours by observing conspecifics, but this information does not spread randomly through the social network. Using a novel statistical model revealed that finches only learn new tasks from knowledgeable adults and ignore juvenile demonstrators. Juveniles prioritise learning from their parents, but juveniles that experience stress during early development completely avoid learning from parents and instead learn exclusively from unrelated parents. This suggests that social learning strategies are plastic, and that early-life conditions provide cues that can shape developmental trajectories. Link to paper here. Media link to IFLScience here.

Most Recent News Story

» Graduate Research Assistant – Social Learning and Ecology of BirdsJuly 23, 2015

Grade 6 – £27,057 – £32,277 p.a

A Graduate Research Assistant position is available, for up to 9 months, starting on 1 October 2015, to work supporting a project studying social learning and information transmission on social networks of birds. The post will be based in the Edward Grey Institute, Department of Zoology, University of Oxford. The main duties of the post-holder will be to carry out fieldwork near Oxford to support the collection of data on social learning and social relationships in wild birds. The post-holder will participate in field experiments testing hypotheses about the way that information spreads between individuals in populations, as well as working to collect long-term population data on breeding populations of tits. In addition, the post holder will carry out extensive ringing activities.

The successful candidate will have a bachelor’s degree in biology or a related subject, and demonstrate skill and enthusiasm for biological research. Experience of fieldwork under arduous conditions, and of working as part of a team are essential. Fieldwork skills involving birds, including a UK ringing licence (and relevant mist-net and pulli endorsements) are essential.

The post is based in a dynamic and research-active institute, of c. 50 people, fully integrated within the Department of Zoology. Further details about the institute available at:

Informal inquiries (with CV) to Prof Ben Sheldon (

You will be required to upload a CV and a supporting statement as part of your online application. The closing date for applications is 12.00 noon on Monday 17th August 2015.

Information on how to apply and further details can be obtained here.