PROGRAMME for 2018
Monday 12 November — 6.30 pm — Joe Tobias — The shape of birds, and why it matters.
Abstract: Birds vary widely in size from the Bee Hummingbird Mellisuga helenae to Common Ostrich Struthio camelus, and come in a staggering range of shapes. Last century, the field of ecomorphology began to shed light on the way birds are shaped by habitat preferences and foraging behaviour, but studies focused on relatively few species and left numerous gaps in understanding. This talk will explore recent research based on detailed measurements of almost all of the world’s bird species, describing how this new influx of information has been combined with spatial, phylogenetic and ecological data to help answer some fundamental questions, such as how does bird diversity arise, and how can it best be conserved?
Biography: Joe Tobias studied the behaviour of the European Robin Erithacus rubecula for his Ph.D. at Cambridge University, then worked for ten years in environmental NGOs including BirdLife International, focusing on bird research and conservation projects in South-East Asia, Madagascar and the Neotropics. Returning to academia, he developed a research programme in evolutionary ecology and conservation biology as a Lecturer at Oxford University, before taking up a Senior Lectureship at Imperial College London. His current research focuses on the evolution and conservation of avian diversity.