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Annette Fayet


I’m a DPhil student in the Animal Behaviour Group at the University of Oxford, supported by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, an Entente Cordiale Scholarship from the British Council, a Mary Griffiths Scholarship and Microsoft Research Cambridge as a Microsoft Research – University of Oxford Scholar.


Before starting my DPhil I was a research assistant for the Oxnav Group on Skomer Island (Wales), where I was mainly involved in the long-term study of the behaviour and ecology of Manx shearwaters, but also took part in various projects including long term tracking of the migratory movements of Atlantic puffins and the use of combined GPS-Salt water immersion loggers to track Common Guillemots during foraging trips.

The main focus of my DPhil project is the study of the migration strategy of the Atlantic puffin. The OxNav group have established a long-term tracking program of puffins since 2007 on Skomer Island, and initial results suggest that migration in the puffin is dispersive, with individual birds showing remarkable diversity in overwintering destinations. Nevertheless, puffins appear to be highly conserved in their individual migration routes and destinations. Established theory for the navigational control of migration, through either genetic or cultural inheritance, cannot easily account for these two facts. The main aim of my project is to investigate migratory navigation in the Atlantic Puffin, concentrating on patterns of individual route fidelity in long-term geolocator data. Expansion of the data to encompass more individuals and more winters will allow me to refine greatly the emerging picture and to provide the first details of variation in individual migration strategies. I plan to use Bayesian machine learning techniques to detect patterns of dispersion, to investigate the route fidelity of the birds as well as their timing of migration (e.g. identifying stop-over areas which are thought to be used for refuelling or moulting). I am also expanding the study to investigate genetic and behavioural aspects of migratory route control within the Skomer study colony.

A secondary aim of my project is to compare Atlantic puffins and Manx shearwaters as examples of different migratory strategies. Comparing these species with drastically different migration routes could reveal similar patterns in wintering behaviour. I am also really interested in the migratory behaviour of immature birds, which is still mysterious in both species. I am hoping that the deployment of geolocators on puffin and Manx shearwater fledglings will help me to shed light on the birds' at-sea movements during their pre-breeding years.


After completing undergraduate and graduate degrees in engineering, physics and chemistry at the ESPCI ParisTech in Paris, I did a research project in the Behavioural Ecology Group at Cambridge University, where I studied the influence of sexual signals on parental investment in Great tits. I then read a MSc in Biology (Integrative Bioscience) at the University of Oxford, during which I worked in the Oxnav Group, helping to develop a video-based method to study behaviour of birds in flight, and in the Edward Grey Institute, where I studied the variation of vocal repertoire to investigate the role of dispersal as a cultural evolution agent in Great tits. After completing the course, I spent 6 months on Tiritiri Matangi Island, a scientific nature reserve in New Zealand, working for the Department of Conservation and the Institute of Zoology London. I was involved in the Hihi (stitchbird) conservation project and in a research project investigating the influence of parental carotenoid investment on juvenile stitchbirds’ sexual traits.


Shoji, A., K. Elliott, A. Fayet, D. Boyle, C. Perrins, and T. Guilford. "Foraging behaviour of sympatric razorbills and puffins." Marine Ecology Progress Series 520 (2015): 257-267.

Shoji, Akiko, Ellie Owen, Mark Bolton, Ben Dean, Holly Kirk, Annette Fayet, Dave Boyle, Robin Freeman, Chris Perrins, Stéphane Aris-Brosou et al. "Flexible foraging strategies in a diving seabird with high flight cost." Marine Biology (2014).

Fayet, Annette L., Joseph A. Tobias, Rogier E. Hintzen, and Nathalie Seddon. "Immigration and dispersal are key determinants of cultural diversity in a songbird population." Behavioral Ecology (2014).

Johnstone, R. A., A. Manica, A. L. Fayet, M. C. Stoddard, M. A. Rodriguez-Girones, and C. A. Hinde. "Reciprocity and conditional cooperation between great tit parents." Behavioral Ecology 25, no. 1 (2014).

Stoddard, M. C., A. L. Fayet, R. M. Kilner, and C. A. Hinde. "Egg Speckling Patterns Do Not Advertise Offspring Quality or Influence Male Provisioning in Great Tits." PLoS ONE 7, no. 7 (2012).

Guilford, T., R. Wynn, M. McMinn, A. Rodríguez, A. Fayet, L. Maurice, A. Jones, and R. Meier. "Geolocators Reveal Migration and Pre-Breeding Behaviour of the Critically Endangered Balearic Shearwater Puffinus mauretanicus." PLoS ONE 7, no. 3 (2012): e33753.

Contact Details


Annette Fayet
Department of Zoology
University of Oxford
South Parks Road
Oxford OX1 3PS