Anthropogenic influences on animal behaviour are an area of increasing interest, from applied conservation & biodiversity, to fundamental questions of ethology and adaptation. Recent research on a range of taxa has revealed differences in the characteristics of acoustic signals both between areas of low and high background noise and between areas of different environmental structure (e.g. urban vs rural).
This project will focus on the implications of these differences in environment and signal traits for signal efficacy, function and evolution using wild great tits Parus major as a model system. The research will involve a combination of field-based observation & experimentation, including playback. The aim is to investigate acoustic ecology and behavioural plasticity in the context of territoriality, reproduction and associated behaviours. The successful candidate will also be encouraged to develop their own ideas and research questions within this framework.
The project will be based in Aberystwyth with fieldwork to be conducted in Aberystwyth and at locations around the UK.
The student will be based within the Aquatic, Behavioural & Evolutionary Biology Research Group (ABEB): http://www.aber.ac.uk/en/ibers/research/research-groups/abeb-new/
Candidates should have (or expect to achieve) a First Class or Upper second class honours degree and/or a masters degree (or equivalent) in a relevant subject."
We encourage prospective candidates to contact the lead supervisor Dr Rupert Marshall [Email Address Removed]; 01970 622320; http://users.aber.ac.uk/rmm/