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. 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. My research group typically consists of several postdocs and associated fellows, and 5-6 graduate students. Current research themes include: (1) Social ecology of wild bird populations; (2) Spatial scaling of phenological co-adaptation; (3) Life-history evolution in variable environments. 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 major grants from the ERC, NERC and BBSRC, and I have hosted several externally funded fellows from national or European post-doc funding schemes (e.g. Marie Curie). My aim has always been to create a research environment where curiosity and collaboration flourish, and I am most proud of the former members of my group who have established their own research groups in many parts of the world. I welcome inquiries about developing PhD or Postdoc projects with me here in Oxford. 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.

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