One big problem young animals face is finding food, particularly when they have little experience to help them. Even human teenagers can struggle when there’s no one else around to do the shopping, and for wild animals, making the best foraging decisions is even more crucial for their survival. Victoria Franks is investigating how juvenile birds overcome this challenge during her PhD. Read about her latest results here on age differences in learning strategies by adult and juvenile hihi.
Although our work focusses mainly on birds, and the consequences of their information use for others, some of the best examples of how social behaviour evolves are to be found in invertebrates. From August, I'll be a long-term visitor to the ANTZZ team at the University of Helsinki, led by Prof. Liselotte Sundström. Lotta is one of the directors of the Centre of Excellence for Biological Interactions (our collaborator Prof Johanna Mappes, in Jyväskylä, is another), and being here offers a really exciting opportunity to learn more about social evolution from the view point of Formica ants. Vix and Liisa will be visiting regularly from Cambridge, and I'll be visiting them often too.