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Tim Guilford


Professor of Animal Behaviour

Tutorial Fellow in Zoology at Merton College

Research interests:

My early research focussed on the role of receiver psychology in the evolution and design of animal signals, but I now concentrate on trying to unravel the mechanisms by which animals map the environments through which they travel. What cues do birds use to navigate home across familiar areas? What do their maps look like? How versatile is the spatial knowledge they store?

The questions range from cognitive to ecological, shearwaters and homing pigeons are the principal models, and the techniques involve field experiments using miniature biologging technologies, and analytical approaches borrowed from computational engineering. My research group’s work now focusses on trying to understand how long distance wandering seabirds move, migrate, map and navigate across the open oceans, and extends to a broad range of behavioural, ecological, and conservation-related questions.

For overviews see:

Guilford, T. (2019) "The shearwater's world." British Birds, 112: 9-25.

Guilford, T. & Biro, D.  (2014). “Route following and the pigeon’s familiar area map.”  Journal of Experimental Biology, 271:169-179. DOI:10.1242/jeb.092908


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