Evolution of cooperative behaviour
Understanding how cooperative behaviours evolve and persist in animal societies is a longstanding question in evolutionary and behavioural ecology. My research is exploring how maternal and social environment in early life in banded mongooses influences cognition, learning ability and cooperative behaviour in later life.
The role of social species in Guinea worm transmission
Guinea worm (or dracunculiasis) is a debilitating disease that affect people in deprived, rural communities in sub-Saharan Africa. Its eradication was made a WHO priority in 1986 and it is now reduced to a few cases in Chad, Angola and Ethiopia. My research is a collaboration with the Carter Center’s Guinea Worm Eradication Programme and the University of Exeter to establish whether olive baboons and dogs play role in the transmission of Guinea worm in south-west Ethiopia. The aim of this project is to identify any transmission pathways and allow the development of control measures.
Social species and environmental change
Social species' may be particularly susceptible to environmental change due to their need to devote time to social interactions as well as behaviours such as foraging. My research is exploring how social foraging behaviour varies with the environment, and then how these changes in behaviour translate into differences in the amount of time social animals need to devote to foraging. This research uses two complementary approaches: analysis of empirical data on baboon foraging behaviour, and using the results of this analysis to build an individual-based model.