New paper on embryonic movement in brood parasite chicks

Oct 27, 2021

Hatch from the egg

Stephanie McClelland’s paper entitled “Embryo movement is more frequent in avian brood parasites than birds with parental reproductive strategies” has been published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B.  Stephanie measured embryonic movement of brood parasites and their hosts at sites all over the world. She found that compared to hosts and other non-parasitic birds, brood-parasitic birds show elevated muscle movement while still in the egg, which might help to strengthen their muscles so they can more effectively  kill or outcompete host chicks as soon as they hatch. At our study site in Zambia, Stephanie collaborated with several members of the African Cuckoos team, including Tanmay Dixit, Jess Lund, Silky Hamama, Luke McClean and Claire Spottiswoode. The data from this site focused on honeyguides, cuckoo finches, and Vidua finches, as well as their respective hosts. The study was covered by press articles in The Atlantic and The Daily Mail. Well done Steph and everyone else on the team!


Tanmay Dixit awarded PhD and starting Junior Research Fellowship

Tanmay’s PhD, entitled “Signatures and forgeries: optimality in a coevolutionary arms race” was awarded with no corrections. Huge thanks to collaborators and colleagues who were instrumental to this work, and to examiners James Herbert-Read and Graeme Ruxton. Tanmay will remain on the team and continue conducting fieldwork in Choma as part of the Junior Research fellowship that he is starting at Jesus College, Cambridge.

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