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

To: "" <>
Subject: Fenner PhD proposal seminar - White-winged choughs (a Canberra favourite!)
From: Kathryn Eyles <>
Date: Mon, 14 Sep 2015 21:35:59 +0000
Dear Chatliners  

Connie’s seminar is now at 9.45 am on Wednesday 16 September not 11.15 am. 

Constanza (Connie) Leon will present her Thesis Proposal Review seminar on Wednesday 16 September 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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