New Research Fellow – Sam Patrick
16th October 2013
I have just joined the University of Gloucestershire as a Research Fellow in Environmental Dynamics and Governance. My position is mainly research based, but I will teach sessions throughout biology and run the Fundamentals in Ecology course for first years. In my research I examine why individuals behave differently, and is generally conducted in avian systems. I currently work on albatross species, but in the past have worked on a range of species.
I work on three main themes:
1) Animal Personality: Animals, like humans, are known to have personality differences. So some individuals may be bolder and more aggressive, whereas other are shyer and calmer. I measure these differences among populations and look at how they are inherited through families.
2) Foraging behaviour: Seabirds spent the majority of their lifetime at sea, and until recently we understood very little about this part of their life cycle? With modern GPS loggers we can now measure their foraging and migration with great precision. I use these data to study individual foraging behaviour, asking why birds go to different place, make trips of different length, and forage in different habitats. In particular, I look at birds which forage at fishing boats, a try to understand what drives individuals to engage in this risky strategy.
3) Reproductive success: Albatross can live for over 50 years, and show pronounced aging in later life. As a result individuals show differences in their investment with time. For example, some birds may start breeding early and invest a lot in each chick, where as others may start breeding later, and invest heavily only when conditions are good. As a result individuals display different reproductive strategies and I link these to foraging and personality.