BTO Conference 2021: Session 5 The Witherby Lecture - Coevolution as an engine of biodiversity: insights from African birds
The talk will be held online using Zoom.
Ever since Darwin’s wonderful image of a tangled bank of life, we’ve known that interactions between different species are a powerful force in evolution. This talk will use African birds as a window into how coevolution between species, both parasitic and mutually beneficial, can generate beautiful adaptations and help power the diversification of life.
Prof. Claire Spottiswoode is an evolutionary biologist and passionate naturalist with a particular interest in the ecology, evolution and conservation of species interactions. She is Principal Research Associate and the Hans Gadow Lecturer in the Department of Zoology, Cambridge University and the Pola Pasvolsky Chair in Conservation Biology at the FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology, Cape Town. She runs two long-term field projects on African birds: one in southern Zambia focusing on coevolution between brood-parasitic birds and the hosts that they exploit to raise their young, and one in northern Mozambique on the mutually beneficial interactions between honeyguides and the human honey-hunters with whom they cooperate to gain access to bees’ nests. Both projects involve close cooperation with rural communities, and rely on their local field knowledge and skill.