I am a Post-Doctoral Researcher at the University of Cambridge, working with Prof. Clutton-Brock on reconstructing the evolution of the diversity of mammalian social systems
|My primary research interests are the causes and consequences of
sociality in animals. My work focuses on applying and developing
statistical techniques of phylogenetic comparisons to elucidate the
evolution of different types of social systems and to identify the
factors associated with the transitions between them.
Behavioural ecologists have documented large differences in group size, group composition, mating behaviour and social behaviour across species. In my current research I am using a broad comparative approach, focused on the phylogenetic reconstruction of the evolution of social structures in mammals. This approach uses our knowledge of the social system of current species, combined with information on the historical relationships between them, to identify under what circumstances changes have occurred in the past.
My current work has led to insights into the importance of kinship for the evolution of reproductive altruism, where individuals forego their own breeding to raise others' offspring. Another study confirmed that long male tenures lead to dispersal of females from their natal groups to avoid inbreeding. The overall aim of my work is to increase our understanding of the rules that govern the interactions among individuals within a species.