Professor of Animal Behaviour
Tutorial Fellow in Zoology, Merton College
Although I still maintain an interest in the evolution of animal signals, especially warning signals, which was the subject of my early research, I now concentrate on trying to unravel the mechanisms by which animals map the environments through which they travel. What cues do birds use to navigate home across familiar areas? What do their maps look like? How versatile is the spatial knowledge they store? The questions range from cognitive to ecological, homing pigeons are the principal model, and the techniques involve field experiments using miniature GPS loggers, on-board cameras, and analytical approaches borrowed from computational engineering. Most recently I have been extending my research group’s work to trying to understand how long distance wandering seabirds (many of which are of vulnerable conservation status) migrate, map and navigate across the open oceans.
I have a strong interest in promoting the public understanding of biological science through TV and radio.
- Biro, D., Freeman, R., Meade, J. Roberts, S. J, & Guilford, T. (2007) “Pigeons combine compass and landmark guidance in familiar route navigation.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 104:7471-7476.
- Biro, D., Sumpter, D., Meade, J. & Guilford, T. (2006). “From compromise to leadership in pigeon homing”. Current Biology, 16:2123-2128.
- Meade. J., Biro, D. & Guilford, T. (2005). “Homing pigeons develop local route stereotypy.” Proceedings of the Royal Society B, 272:17-23.
- Biro, D., Meade, J. & Guilford, T. (2004). “Familiar route loyalty implies visual pilotage in the homing pigeon.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 101:17440-17443.
- Guilford, T., Roberts, S., Biro, D. & Rezek, I. (2004). “Positional entropy during pigeon homing II: navigational interpretation of Bayesian latent state models.” Journal of Theoretical Biology, 227: 25-38.