MoU signed with Copperbelt University

Apr 10, 2015

Exciting news for us is that our Memorandum of Understanding between Copperbelt University (in Kitwe, Zambia), the University of Cambridge (UK) and the University of Cape Town (South Africa) was signed by our respective heads of department. This MoU sets out our commitment to continue the very positive communication and cooperation that has developed between our research team and Copperbelt University’s Department of Zoology and Aquatic Science, headed by Dr Lackson Chama, an ecologist, ornithologist and good friend of our project. The photo shows Lackson and Claire visiting Stellenbosch University in 2014.


Outreach for British Science Week at local Cambridgeshire school

During this year’s British Science Week, we’ve been engaging with local school children in Cambridgeshire. Mairenn Attwood led interactive talks at the Thomas Clarkson Academy in Wisbech,  a school partnered with ‘Teach First’ (a charity aimed at reducing educational inequality).

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New scientific paper on the “Limits to host colonization and speciation” published

Our paper “Limits to host colonization and speciation in a radiation of parasitic finches” has just been published in the journal Behavioral Ecology. In this study, led by Dr Gabriel Jamie, we explored the factors which limited the colonisation of new hosts by brood-parasitic Vidua finches. Speciation in these birds is closely connected with the colonisation of new hosts. Therefore, if we can understand what limits this process, we can understand what has limited the diversification of this radiation.

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Parasitic finches featured in new documentary “Attenborough’s Life in Colour” on BBC One

The amazing mimicry shown by nestling Pin-tailed Whydahs of their Common Waxbill hosts is showcased in David Attenborough’s Life in Colour the latest natural history documentary on BBC One. Filming of this sequence by Nick Green and Max Hug Williams of Humble Bee Films took place at our field site in Choma, Zambia, with Dr Gabriel Jamie acting as scientific consultant and contributing sound recordings.

You can watch the sequence in Episode 2: “Hiding in Colour” on BBC iPlayer.

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