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!


Symposium on moult in tropical birds at International Ornithological Congress

Dr Gabriel Jamie and Dr Chima Nwaogu organised a symposium on “The ecology and evolution of moult in tropical birds” as part of the International Ornithological Congress. The symposium included a Round Table discussion as well as invited talks from a range of speakers including Dr Yahkat Barshep (A. P. Leventis Ornithological Research Institute, Nigeria), Dr Barbara Helm (Swiss Ornithological Research Institute, Switzerland), Dr Oluwadunsin Adekola (FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology, University of Cape Town, South Africa & Federal University of Technology, Akure, Nigeria) and Dr Yosef Kiat (University of Haifa, Israel).

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Dr Gabriel Jamie speaks at European Society for Evolutionary Biology conference

Dr Gabriel Jamie was an invited speaker at the European Society for Evolutionary Biology conference in Prague, Czech Republic, as part of the symposium on “Repeated and Parallel Evolution in Adaptive Radiations. Gabriel spoke on “The persistence of polymorphisms across species radiations” building on work conducted together with Dr Joana Meier. To learn more about this research you can read their Trends in Ecology and Evolution paper here.

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Evolutionary Biology Crash Course

Tanmay Dixit was a member of a team organising and lecturing in the inaugural Evolutionary Biology Crash Course. This course, aimed at undergraduate or early-postgraduate students, teaches evolutionary principles to students who have had limited opportunities to be exposed to evolutionary ideas. The course is funded by the Equal Opportunities Initiative Fund of the European Society of Evolutionary Biology (ESEB). Tanmay presented lectures on behavioural ecology and evolution, focussing on kin selection, coevolution, and parasitism. Over 700 students, with the vast majority from the global South, attended the course, which was a resounding success!

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