Fenner PhD proposal seminar - White-winged choughs (a Canberra favourite

To: "" <>
Subject: Fenner PhD proposal seminar - White-winged choughs (a Canberra favourite!)
From: "David McDonald (personal)" <>
Date: Sun, 13 Sep 2015 08:17:12 +0000
The Canberra Birds Conservation Fund has provided a grant to financially support Connie's research.

You are invited to make a tax-deductible donation to the Fund. Information about the Fund, and how to donate, are here: .

The Committee of Management of the Fund thanks those who have already donated this year. Your generosity has supported some important projects, as detailed at the Fund's website.

In addition, the Fund invites applications for funding of projects (not only research, but also on-the-ground projects) that meet its conservation objectives:
  • To encourage interest in, and develop knowledge of, the birds of the Canberra region
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  • To promote the conservation of native birds and their habitats.
Please contact me for further information.

David McDonald
Canberra Birds Conservation Fund
1004 Norton Road, Wamboin NSW 2620
T: (02) 6238 3706
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On 12/09/2015 9:33 AM, Kathryn Eyles wrote:

Constanza (Connie) Leon will present her Thesis Proposal Review seminar on Wednesday 16 September at 11.15 am in Seminar Room, Frank Fenner Building. ANU


Complex cooperation and the effects of climate on white-winged choughs (Corcorax melanorhamphos)


Cooperation among social animals is one of the most intriguing subjects in the field of evolutionary biology because individuals assume costs to help and benefit others. White-winged choughs are one of the few bird species that are obligate cooperative breeders, meaning they must breed in groups to reproduce successfully. During my PhD I will examine the ecological conditions and the evolutionary mechanisms that favoured the rise of cooperative breeding in choughs. 

I will explore the underlying ecological conditions that promote cooperative breeding, by exploiting differences in demography and behaviour between choughs living in habitats with higher food and water availability in Canberra city parks and gardens, and habitats with more limited resources outside the city in nature reserves. I will also study the impacts that climate change may have on obligate cooperatively breeding species, since extreme environmental perturbations may drive groups below the critical size they need to reproduce successfully.


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