Department of Natural Sciences, Faculty of Science & Engineering
ECOLOGICAL GENETICS & CONSERVATION
My principal research interest is in the evolution of sociality, particularly in the fitness benefits and consequences of social bonds and social networks. I am currently in the final stages of PhD research on the influences of kinship and social bonds on reproductive success, social networks and behaviour using two extremely diverse study species: Equus caballus, the domestic horse, and Diploptera punctata, the Pacific beetle-roach.
I have recently conducted five years of behavioural, genetic and demographic data collection on a semi-feral population of Carneddau mountain ponies in North Wales. I use these data to answer key questions and develop analytical techniques relating to social stability, genetic population structure, social bonding and genetic influences on reproductive success. I am also currently conducting behavioural experiments on a laboratory population of the Pacific beetle-roach D. punctata in order to investigate social networks, social influences on development and personality in this species. From this work, I hope to increase our current understanding of the evolution of sociality and social complexity in the animal kingdom.