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Research area and approach

My main research interests lie in behavioural and evolutionary biology. In studying animal behaviour my objective has been to provide theoretical explanations of known phenomena and to motivate and steer the direction of new experiments.  My work develops approaches, methods and modelling tools for the functional analysis of behaviour. These attempt to give a careful underpinning of the theoretical foundations of the field. In particular, I have developed a general framework that exposes the logic of how individual actions contribute to lifetime reproductive success, and provides a common currency for actions.  This framework also provides a natural way of building more realistic models of behaviour, allowing behaviour to depend on state and time. A consistent theme is that a holistic approach is both necessary to rigorously expose the logic and is essential to get realistic predictions; it is necessary to consider sequences of actions rather than individual actions in isolation, to derive game payoffs from other parts of the system rather than take them as externally defined, to consider how the existence of individual differences alters strategy sets and hence predictions, and so on.

 

Major current interests

Other current research interest

Other current interests include: the food versus predation trade off and its consequences, daily and annual routines, adaptation to fluctuating environments, parental care decisions, bird migration, the effects of climate change on the timing of reproduction, evolution in metapopulations, and maternal and other intergenerational effects.

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John McNamara

School of Mathematics
University of Bristol
University Walk
Bristol. BS8 1TW



Telephone: +44 (0)117 928 7986
Fax: +44 (0)117 928 7999
Email: John.McNamara@bristol.ac.uk