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Spatial ecology and navigation in wide-ranging birds

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  • Full or part time
    Prof T Guilford
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

Project Description

The spatial ecology of wide-ranging animals such as birds raises intriguing questions about how efficient spatial behaviour is controlled, and how spatial representations are acquired and used to map routes and resources over large scales. This project will take forward our investigations of the mechanisms of wide-ranging avian spatial cognition. Currently my research group concentrates on the very long distance movements in pelagic seabirds (migration and pelagic foraging), and mechanisms of familiar area orientation in pigeons. Potentially the successful applicant could take this research project in one or more of several directions, such as: i) testing the “exploration-refinement hypothesis” for seabird migratory navigation; ii) exploring the role of solar information and pilotage in the pigeon’s familiar area map; iii) exploring the life-history and ecological consequences of variation in individually learnt navigational maps. Students in the research group ( may combine theoretical and modeling approaches with experimental and miniature telemetry field-based approaches in wild seabirds or our research colony of homing pigeons in Oxford.

Funding Notes

Funding is competitive, via either University/Departmental Studentships or Doctoral Training Centres (


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