Welcome to the "Avian Cognitive Ecology" lab of uOttawa!
Cognition, a suite of neural processes including decision-making, learning, and memory, determines how individuals interact with their environment, and therefore impacts on a range of ecological and evolutionary processes. The major goal of my research is to understand how cognitive processes are shaped by natural selection. My research is focused on avian foraging and social behaviour, using experiments in the field and in aviaries, as well as comparative methods. I use an integrated approach, drawing from behavioural ecology, evolutionary ecology and experimental psychology.
1998-2001: BSc Biologie, Université Laval, Canada
2001-2006: PhD Biology, McGill University, Canada
2007-2009: Postdoc, Université du Québec à Montréal, Canada
2009-2012: Postdoc, EGI, University of Oxford, United Kingdom
2012-Now: Assistant Professor, Biology, University of Ottawa, Canada
We were just awarded a 3-years Human Frontiers Grant with 3 other PIs for a collaboration on the evolution of learning in wild great tits, Moulis, France. Research topics include: links between personality, sociality, and cognition, measuring cognition in the wild, as well as fitness consequences of individual variation in learning rates.
Students interested to participate in this project: please contact me with your CV and unofficial transcript.
Aplin, Farine, Morand-Ferron et al out in Nature:
Interview about the Nature paper on CBC's Quirks & Quarks: http://www.cbc.ca/radio/quirks/quirks-quarks-for-jan-3-2015-1.2881357/birds-conform-to-local-traditions-1.2881478
Media article in Science about a Symposium I organised on: "Individual variation in cognition and fitness consequences in natural populations" at ISBE conference in New York, 2 Aug 2014: http://www.sciencemag.org/content/345/6197/609.summary?sid=8d81a173-33a7-487c-ab0f-27d4f970779f
Lab research themes
Black-capped chickadees (Poecile atricapillus)
Spatial cognition and survival
Innovation, dominance and personality
Urbanisation and social networks
Field and captive work in and around Ottawa.
Great tits (Parus major)
Contribution of learning ability to reproductive fitness. Collaboration: John Quinn & William O'Shea (Cork Univ, Ireland).
Collaboration: Alexis Chaine & Maxime Cauchoix (CNRS Moulis, France), Thomas Serre (Brown Univ, USA) and Marleen Verhoye (Antwerpen, BE).
Social learning in the wild. Collaboration: Lucy Aplin, Damien Farine & Ben Sheldon (Oxford, UK), Alex Thornton (Exeter Univ, UK).
Gray jays (Perisoreus canadensis)
Spatial cognition and reproductive fitness
Innovation, behavioural plasticity and conservation biology
Collaboration: Ryan Norris (Guelph, Canada) and Dan Strickland.
Fieldwork in Algonquin Park.
Join the lab:
Applications for graduate positions (MSc, PhD, postdoc): please send a cover letter explaining why you would like to conduct research in my lab, along with your cv and an unofficial transcript. For international students and postdocs, also include information on scholarships for which you would be eligible to apply. For instance, French PhDs are encouraged to apply for a Fyssen Foundation postdoctoral fellowship. All graduate students will receive a salary established according to U Ottawa regulations allowing full-time commitment to postgraduate studies. Ideal candidates would have experience in ornithology, animal cognition, or with fieldwork, and would be eligible for postgraduate scholarships (NSERC, OGS or provincial equivalent; i.e. last 2 years GPA>80%).
All of the Honours positions for 2015-6 have been filled, but I will be taking UROP applications in September 2015.
Vous pouvez communiquer avec moi en anglais ou en français.