Professor Ben Sheldon FRS

Research Interests

I have broad interests in evolution, ecology and behaviour, with a particular focus on understanding the causes and consequences of individual-level variation, and how these interact with environmental change. My empirical work often uses wild bird populations as a model, particularly exploiting insights drawn from long-term population studies such as that of the great tit in Wytham Woods, but increasingly placing such organisms in wider ecological contexts.

My research group typically consists of 4-5 postdocs and associated fellows, 2-3 research assistants and 7-8 graduate students; I am happy to supervise MBiol project students. I welcome inquiries about developing PhD or Postdoc projects with me here in Oxford; please send a CV and a one page outline of the research topics you are interested in.

Current research themes include: (1) Spatial scaling of phenological co-adaptation between trees, insects and birds; (2) Life-history evolution in variable environments; (3) Social ecology of wild bird populations. We use a combination of field observations and experiments, quantitative and molecular genetic analysis, to understand these problems. In the last decade our work has been funded by several major grants from the ERC, UKRI, NERC and BBSRC, and I have hosted several externally funded fellows from national or European post-doc funding schemes (e.g. Marie Curie Fellowships).

Additional affiliations: In 2004 I was elected as the inaugural holder of the Luc Hoffmann Chair in Field Ornithology and appointed Director of the Edward Grey Institute, a research institute based within the Department of Biology. I was Head of the Department of Zoology between 2016-2021, and also served as the Senior User Representative for the Life and Mind Building from 2019-2022.

Group Members
Contact Details

01865 (2) 81069