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.
Bird Ringing Demonstration at Farmoor Res Oxon, 25th February 2012
A new paper published in Scientific Reports by Bernhard Voelkl, Josh Firth & Ben Sheldon investigated how perceived predator pressure influences group composition and social relationships in flocks of British tits. In this experimental study the authors used model sparrowhawks to launch attacks on flocks of wild great tits and blue tits whilst monitoring their social dynamics. Non-lethal attacks caused instantaneous turn-over and mixing of group composition within foraging flocks. A single experimental ‘attack’ lasting on average less than three seconds, caused the amount of turn-over expected over three hours (2.0—3.8 hours) of undisturbed foraging, suggesting that nonlethal predator effects can greatly alter group composition within populations. This has implications for the birds’ social behaviour by increasing the number of potential interaction partners, as well as longer-term consequences for pair formation and emergent effects determined by social structure. This study provides the first evidence based on in depth monitoring of a social network that predators influence the social structure of groups, and it offers new perspectives on the key drivers of social behaviour in wild populations. Link to paper here.
“Enter an ecologist’s playground with the birdman of Wytham Woods” is a piece in this week’s New Scientist about the Wytham Tit Project. Link to article here.
Benjamin Van Doren, September 30, 2016
Position: DPhil Student
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Cormorant preening, Skomer