May Meeting

Wed 08 May 2019 07:30pm

Cassandra Taylor - Interactions between Australian bronze-cuckoos and their hosts
Connie León - Exploring the social structure of a cooperatively breeding bird, the White-winged Chough

The short presentation will be by Cassandra Taylor, a Ph D student at the Research School of Biology at the ANU on “Interactions between Australian bronze-cuckoos and their hosts.”

Cassandra will give an overview of her proposed Ph D work, putting it in the context of what has already been done and how it will extend this work/answer some outstanding questions.

The main speaker will be Constanza (Connie) León, who has just completed her Ph D studies at the Fenner School for Science and the Environment at the ANU, on “Exploring the social structure of a cooperatively breeding bird, the White-winged Chough.”

Group-living animals are affected by both the physical and social environment they inhabit, influencing population dynamic processes such as reproductive success, survival and dispersal patterns; all of which ultimately shape the evolution of a species.

During her PhD Connie examined the social structure of White-winged Choughs (Corcorax melanorhamphos), a highly social species of Australian bird. Choughs are obligate cooperative breeders, meaning they must breed in groups to produce offspring successfully. She explored the influence of variable climatic conditions and urbanisation on the population genetics of choughs and the fitness consequences of varying levels of relatedness between group members. Connie used network analysis to investigate the social dynamics within cooperative groups, including the patterns of associations among individuals according to life history traits (age, sex), relatedness, cooperative efforts and personality.

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