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Navigation, movement and behaviour are complex subjects, so our research covers a suitably wide range of themes. Building on previous OxNav studies to elucidate the mechanisms of homing in pigeons, we are now addressing an array of related and complementary questions, from group decision making to long distance migration, in several different species.
Using miniaturised logging devices in a variety of different applications we are exploring exciting new directions in behavioural research. The work carried out using our long-running study population of homing pigeons is providing new insights into how these birds solve spatial problems. Innovative quantitative techniques are combined with custom-built GPS loggers to understand how an individual bird learns and refines a flight path.
Utilizing the natural flocking behaviour of the homing pigeon, together with what we have learnt about the birds' individual navigational strategies, we are also investigating how groups of pigeons make collective homing decisions. Our experiments aim to answer questions concerning information flow, mechanisms of group consensus, and the effect of individual attributes on collective decision making.
Meanwhile, our seabird research team is investigating the spatial and behavioural challenges faced by pelagic seabirds during the UK based breeding season and through migration. This has already uncovered previously unidentified behaviour in our main study species, the Manx shearwater, and we hope to continue to link this detailed behavioural research to large scale ecological questions.
We use fish as model systems to research the behavioural mechanisms that are used to orient through local areas. In two overlapping streams of research we investigate how spatial information is sensed (particularly using non-visual systems), and how this information is learned, memorised and used to orient efficiently.
As a multidisciplinary group we have strong collaborations with researchers from a wide range of different scientific fields across the globe. To find out more head to our individual research pages.