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. I am also studying behaviour and cognition of field crickets (Gryllus spp.), with a focus on causes and consequences of individual differences in learning and memory. I use an integrated approach, drawing from behavioural ecology, evolutionary ecology, and experimental psychology.
1998-2001: B.Sc. Biologie, Université Laval, Canada
2001-2006: Ph.D. Biology, McGill University, Canada
2007-2009: Postdoc, Université du Québec à Montréal, Canada
2009-2012: Postdoc, Edward Grey Institute, University of Oxford, United Kingdom
2012-2017: Assistant Professor, Biology, University of Ottawa, Canada
2017-Now: Associate Professor & University Research Chair in Cognitive Ecology, Dept. Biology, University of Ottawa, Canada
For more frequent updates, see my Twitter account: @JMorandFerron
2019: I am now recruiting for a Sept 2020 or Jan 2021 start:
I am co-organizing a symposium on "Behavioural plasticity" at the joint ABS & IEC conference in Chicago this summer. Our morning session will focus on cognition and is intended as a 'festschrift' celebrating the career of my PhD avisor, Dr Louis Lefebvre: http://www.animalbehaviorsociety.org/2019/program-symposia.php
Our first cricket cognition paper in collaboration with Dr Sue Bertram is out! Individuals learned the location of a reward in a radial arm maze... Did individual performance correlate with personality? thigmotaxis? differences in perceptual strategies? https://authors.elsevier.com/a/1Yf1i_4tk~rCo
Examples of individual differences in performance in a maze by 2 female Gryllus texensis (Fig 2, Doria et al 2019 Anim Behav)
My presentation (audio+slides) at Montpellier Evolution 2018 is now available online: https://programme.europa-organisation.com/slides/programme_jointCongress...
J'ai donné la 1ere entrevue de la nouvelle émission 'Moteur de recherche' avec Mathieu Dugal à la radio de Radio-Canada. Vous pouvez écouter notre discussion à propos du vote chez les abeilles, les chiens sauvages et les mésanges: https://ici.radio-canada.ca/premiere/emissions/moteur-de-recherche
We have attended several conferences this summer: OEEEC @ Western U, SCEE @ Guelph U, HFSP annual meeting @Toronto, ISBE @ Minnesota, and Evolution @ Montpellier: thanks for the invitations from symposia organizers (Jeff Martins, John Ratcliffe, Blandine Doligez & Laure Cauchard), and to everyone for stimulating discussions... and fun banquet receptions!
I have co-guest edited the first Special Issue of Philosophical Transactions of the Royal society B on ''Causes and consequences of individual differences in cognitive abilities'': have a look at our Introductory Paper (full review, not just a list of content) or at some of the meta-analyses, articles or reviews:
Several papers out from the lab: see Publications or my Google scholar page.
1st article of 2018 is out! Does our method apply to your system? If so it could save you tons of video analysis time...
Journal of Animal Ecology Blog interview: https://journalofanimalecology.wordpress.com/2017/10/06/field-reports-ju...
On Nov 3-5, I will be co-hosting (with Vincent Careau and Gabriel Blouin-Demers) the 42nd annual meeting of the Société québécoise pour l'étude du comportement animal (SQEBC) at UOttawa for the first time in its history! Guest speakers: Nadia Aubin-Horth, Niels Dingemanse, Simon Reader and David Stephens. Information on registration and abstract submission (deadline Oct 15th): SQEBC2017 - English.pdf
Oct 1st: I was just awarded a University Research Chair in Cognitive Ecology by UOttawa.
We will be at the Animal Behavior Society (ABS) conference in Toronto, June 12-16th: come chat with us!
Tue 16h Cognition and learning: Megan Thompson
Wed 16h45 Cognition and learning: Sanjay Prasher
Wed evening posters: Catherine Jarjour
Thu 10h Behavioural plasticity: Ethan Hermer
Thu 11h30 Symposium ''Animal Cognition'' organised by Dr Reuven Dukas & Dr John Ratcliffe: Julie Morand-Ferron
Fri 10h30 Cognition and learning: Isabel Rojas-Ferrer
Fri 11h15 Social behavior: Dr Julian Evans
2 more papers out from theses in the lab:
- ''Individual and ecological determinants of social information transmission in the wild'',
Animal Behaviour: by Teri Jones, Lucy Aplin, Isabelle Devost, and Julie Morand-Ferron: https://authors.elsevier.com/a/1VAqMmjLih-h
- ''Reduced reproductive performance associated with warmer ambient temperatures during incubation in a winter-breeding, food-storing passerine'',
Ecology & Evolution: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ece3.2864/full
Great tits play a producer-scrounger game at puzzle boxes in Wytham woods: ''Stable producer-scrounger dynamics in wild birds: sociability and learning speed covary with scrounging behaviour'' by Lucy Aplin and Julie Morand-Ferron,
Proceedings of the Royal Society B: http://rspb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/284/1852/20162872
How an automated device can address questions in cognition? Interview for a blog on Scientific American, by Dr Felicity Muth: http://tinyurl.com/z7ro2qv
2 papers out in Animal Behaviour from MSc theses in the lab:
- ''Personality does not predict social dominance in wild groups of black-capped chickadees'' by Isabelle Devost, Teri Jones, Maxime Cauchoix, Chloé Montreuil-Spencer, Julie Morand-Ferron.
- ''Male experience buffers female laying date plasticity in a winter-breeding, food-storing passerine'', by Shannon Whelan, Dan Strickland, Julie Morand-Ferron, Ryan Norris.
Read this paper on our new national bird species: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.anbehav.2016.08.014
Out in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: 'Innovation in animals and humans: understanding the origins and development of novel and creative behaviour', edited by Simon Reader, Emma Flynn, Julie Morand-Ferron and Kevin Laland. http://rstb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/371/1690/20150184
The first research article on the portable learning box is out! Read the article and watch short videos of birds using the box in the wild (Wytham woods, Oxford, UK): http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0133821
Human Frontiers Grant (2015-2019): This is a new international 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; and fitness consequences of individual variation in learning rates.
Nature paper out: Aplin, Farine, Morand-Ferron, Thornton, Cockburn & Sheldon:
Related interview at 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
Join the lab:
I am now recruiting Graduate and Honours students for the academic year 2020-21 (see ad above)
Graduate and Postdoc applications: please send a short cover letter explaining why you would like to conduct research in my lab, along with your cv and an unofficial transcript. All graduate students at the Department receive an annual salary of 20000$, in addition to a complete tuition fee waiver for Canadian applicants with >80% in their last 2 academic years (i.e. UO admission scholarship worth 8000$ per year x 2 years for MSc or 4 years for PhD). International PhD students now pay tuition fees at the level of Canadians.
Vous pouvez communiquer avec moi en anglais ou en français: jmf(at)uottawa.ca
Logo by Dr Julian Evans