When I finished my conjoint Bachelor of Science (majoring in biology) and Bachelor of Music (majoring in composition) at the University of Auckland, I had no idea how I could combine these disparate interests. One year later, as I handed in my Honours dissertation on arrow worm reproduction, I still had no idea. But then an amazing opportunity arose at Massey University, one that combined my passion for biology and music in a beautiful Venn-diagram intersect: a PhD on birdsong!

I am studying the cultural evolution of song diversity in New Zealand bellbirds. Do song differences between individuals and populations have genetic underpinnings, or are they purely cultural? What ecological and social selective pressures drive song diversity? How rapidly can song syllables and syntax change in a population? These are the kinds of questions I am tackling.

My long-term goal is to combine my biological expertise, music and design skills to help bridge the gap between conservation science and the public.

 

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