My research focuses on how animals use information in their daily decisions and how this can be reliably inferred from their movement path. GPS recorders indeed provide very detailed and intimate data on individual spontaneous behaviour that I think are still under-exploited in ecological and cognitive research.
For instance, for my PhD I have applied this framework to GPS-tracked albatrosses to better understand their attraction to fishing boats, a major conservation concern worldwide. The biases in the directions flown by albatrosses reveal that they can somehow detect fishing boats up to 30km away. However they do not approach all fishing boats within their perception range, opening up questions about the sources of this variation. Combined with other analyses on a broader set of seabirds at larger spatial scales, it questions the common view that seabirds have low information to search and find prey and therefore couldn’t afford to make prey selection decisions when foraging.
My interests go well beyond seabirds though, and I’ve also been involved in research on Drosophila or Chacma baboons. Now working with Dora Biro in the OxNav group in Oxford University, I will be studying the homing behaviour of pigeons. I will perform release experiments to try teasing apart the mechanisms through which pigeons can increase their homing efficiency when they fly in groups, and the potential links between cumulative culture effects and collective intelligence.