Matthew Silk
PhD researcher


Research projects

Project Title: Facebook for geese: the causes and consequences of non-random associations in a social forager

Supervisors: Professor Stuart Bearhop, Professor Tom Tregenza, Dr Darren Croft, Dr Pete Robertson (FERA)

Funding Body: FERA

Project Description:

In this project we aim to investigate social structure of a long-term study population of light-bellied brent geese (Branta bernicla hrota) in their winter and spring staging areas using social network analysis. The role of geography and relatedness in governing social interactions will be determined, as well as their stability over time and the extent to which individuals form stable long-term associations. We will then go on to explore the behavioural and fitness consequences of variation in social strategies using individuals selected based on their location in the observed social network.


Couvillon M.J., Barton S.N., Cohen J.A., Fabricius O.K., Kärcher M.H., Cooper L.S., Silk M.J., Helanterä H., and Ratnieks F.L.W. (2010). Alarm pheromones do not mediate rapid shifts in honey bee guard acceptance threshold. Journal of Chemical Ecology, 36, 1306-1308.

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