Centre for Ecology and Conservation
University of Exeter, Cornwall campus
Penryn TR10 9FE
victoria.lee2212 AT gmail.com
Growing up in rural west Wales, I’ve always been fascinated by wildlife and started watching birds at a young age. It was partly these experiences which led me to study for a BSc in Zoology at the University of Exeter’s Cornwall campus, which is a great place to learn whilst having a whole range of natural habitats right on your doorstep. Over time I developed more of an interest in animal behaviour, particularly how individuals obtain information from their social environment and use this to make behavioural decisions. For my undergraduate research project I studied aggressive behaviour and competitive ability in burying beetles, looking at how males make decisions on when and how to fight.
Complex social environments are constantly changing, and therefore the ability to recognise individuals, track their relationships and anticipate their actions would be highly beneficial from a decision-making perspective. This requires a large amount of sophisticated cognitive processing, making jackdaws an ideal system for investigating these types of questions. For my Masters project, I am using acoustic analyses and playback experiments to find out whether jackdaws recognise each other’s calls, and whether they respond to changes in their own and others’ social relationships.