Evolutionary behavioral ecology and practical conservation biology
Research Areas 2024
1. Coloration in mammals. I study the evolution of coloration in mammals from several angles. I use comparative methods to uncover the ecological drivers of camouflage, warning coloration, signaling and physiological factors in driving coat coloration in many mammalian orders. With collaborators we model how contrasting fur coloration is viewed by predators and conspecifics. Building on a decade of research as to why zebras have stripes, I study the mechanism by which tabanid flies avoid landing on striped horse coats in the field.
2. Zanzibar. I carry out annual fieldwork studying the population ecology of coconut crabs and Pemba flying foxes and advise the government on how to maintain these vulnerable species. I am involved in team-research on how community-based and government-led conservation schemes protect forest patches on Zanzibar.
Other. I have active projects on snake coloration, defense strategies in animals, particularly crabs, and on ecoside. I am finishing a book monograph on the Evolution of Coloration in Mammals that synthesizes functional and genetic approaches.
I am always interested in taking on students at the University of Bristol, UK to work on any of these projects, and on collaborating with postdocs.
Practical solutions to conservation problems on mainland Tanzania I work with WASIMA, a Tanzanian NGO involved in conservation education and preventing traditional lion killing in western Tanzania.