Academic and professional history
First degree: Natural Sciences (University of Pavia , Italy)
Web site: www.cooperativecrows.com[/tab_item] [tab_item title=»Research interests»]
I have been investigating cooperative behaviour of carrion crows since 1999, when I started my Master at Pavia University ( Italy ). I obtained my PhD in Cambridge (UK) in 2005, studying the factors determining the division of labour among crow group members. In cooperative crow groups, some individuals (the dominant pair and most adult male immigrants) have access to reproduction, while others (retained offspring and immature immigrants) do not breed and may obtain indirect fitness benefits from helping at the nest. I analysed the individual trade-off between benefits and costs of care through behavioural observations and experimental manipulations.
My current research focuses on the relationship between brood parasitism (when a bird species lays its eggs in the nest of another species, the host) and host social behaviour. Cooperative crows are parasitized by the Great spotted cuckoo Clamator glandarius , a brood parasite specialised in corvids. I am currently analysing the costs of brood parasitism on cooperative crows, the effect of group size on cuckoo reproductive success, and the effect of group size on parasitism rate, in order to investigate whether cooperative host behaviour represents a benefit or a disadvantage for the brood parasite.[/tab_item] [tab_item title=»Publications»]
Associate Professor in Ecology