I am interested in the evolution of social behaviour and my research focuses on the following questions:
- How do animals in social groups gather information about one another and how is this information used to make strategic (i.e. fitness-maximising) decisions in a social context?
- What are the social and ecological conditions under which cooperative breeding evolves?
- How are conflicts over reproduction within cooperatively-breeding groups resolved?
My current research explores the evolution of cooperation and individual helping decisions in long-tailed tits (with Ben Hatchwell at the University of Sheffield) and the factors shaping maternal investment in communally-breeding house mice (with Jane Hurst at the University of Liverpool). Away from cooperative breeding, I am also investigating how information gathering mediates competition among females in harem-breeding fish.