The University of Western Australia

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Amanda Ridley

Dr Amanda Ridley

Future Fellow
Biological Sciences, School of

Contact details
School of Biological Sciences
The University of Western Australia (M092)
35 Stirling Highway
+61 8 6488 3740
Personal homepage

Future Fellow
Evolutionary Biology, Centre for

Contact details
Centre for Evolutionary Biology
The University of Western Australia (M092)
35 Stirling Highway
+61 8 6488 3740
Personal homepage
PhD Camb.
2004 PhD Behavioural Ecology, Cambridge University, UK
1999 BSC (Hons) Animal Ecology, Lincoln University, New Zealand

After finishing my PhD, I was awarded a postdoctoral position at Newnham College, Cambridge University. During this time I set up the Pied Babbler Research Project in the Kalahari desert. In 2005 I took a postdoctoral position at the University of Cape Town, and then moved to a research position at Macquarie University, Sydney, in 2009. I moved to UWA in 2012 as an ARC Future Fellow.
Key research
My main interests lie in the field of behavioural ecology. I am particularly interested in the evolution and dynamics of cooperative breeding behaviour. My research involves understanding the causes of helping behaviour, and the costs and consequences of such behaviour. I have an increasing interest in long-term population dynamics, host-brood parasite interactions in cooperative systems, and the complexity of interspecific interactions. I also work at the interface between behavioural ecology and conservation biology - using behavioural information to provide more informed conservation decisions.
To see my complete publication list, visit my webpage:

Recent publications:

1. Humphries, D.J., Finch, F.M., Bell, M.B.V. & Ridley, A.R. (2015). Calling where it counts: subordinate pied babblers target the audience of their vocal advertisements. PLoS One 10(7) e0130795.

2. Edwards, E., Mitchell, N. & Ridley, A.R. (2015). The impact of high temperature on foraging behaviour and body condition in cooperatively breeding Western Australian Magpies. Ostrich Special Edition 86, 137-144.

3. Keynan, O., Ridley, A.R. & Lotem, A. (2015). Social foraging strategies and acquisition of a novel foraging skill in a cooperative breeder. Behavioral Ecology 26, 207-214.

4. Flower, T.P., Gribble, M.J. & Ridley, A.R. (2014). Drongos vary their false alarm calls to steal more food. Science 344, 513-516.

5. Ridley, A.R., Wiley, E.M. & Thompson, A.M. (2014). The ecological benefits of interceptive eavesdropping. Functional Ecology 28, 197-205.

6. Thompson, A.M., Ridley, A.R., Hockey, P.A.R., Finch, F.M. & Raihani, N.J. (2013). The influence of siblings on begging behaviour. Animal Behaviour 86, 811-819.

7. Nelson-Flower, M.J., Hockey, P.A.R., O’Ryan, C., English, S., Thompson, A.M., Bradley, K., Rose, R. & Ridley, A.R. (2013). Costly reproductive competition between females in a monogamous cooperatively breeding bird. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London Series B – Biological Sciences. 280, 20130728

8. Thompson, A.M., Raihani, N.J., Hockey, P.A.R., Britton, A., Finch, F. & Ridley, A.R. (2013). The influence of fledgling location on adult provisioning: a test of the blackmail hypothesis. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London Series B – Biological Sciences 260, 20130558.

9. Ridley, A.R., Nelson-Flower, M.J. & Thompson, A.M. (2013). Is sentinel behaviour safe? An experimental investigation. Animal Behaviour 85, 137-142.

10. Thompson, A.M. & Ridley, A.R. (2013). Do fledglings choose wisely? An experimental investigation into social foraging behaviour. Behavioral Ecology & Sociobiology 67, 69-78.

11. Flower, T.P., Child, M.F. & Ridley, A.R. (2013). The ecological economics of kleptoparasitism: payoffs from self-foraging versus kleptoparasitism. Journal of Animal Ecology 82, 245-255.
Future research
My Future Fellowship research involves investigating the long-term population dynamics of two wild, cooperatively breeding bird species. I will use these populations to investigate critical group size effects (i.e. the demographic and behavioural changes that occur when groups become too big or too small).

The research funded by an ARC Discovery grant will investigate group dynamics in the cooperatively breeding Western Australian magpie. A specific aim of this research is to understand how group-living affects the development and expression of cognitive behaviour, and what the consequences of variation in cognitive ability are.
Funding received
2011 ARC Future Fellowship 'Group dynamics, critical group size effects and population regulation in cooperative breeders'

2014 ARC Discovery Grant 'The benefits of sociality: understanding the relationship between cognition, cooperation and fitness'
Previous positions
2009-2012 Lecturer, Macquarie University
2005-2009 Postdoctoral Research Fellow, University of Cape Town
2004-2005 Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Cambridge University
Behavioural Ecology ANIM3365
Animal Populations ANIM3361
Honours Coordinator, School of Animal Biology
Current external positions
Adjunct, Macquarie University
Adjunct, University of Cape Town
Useful links
Researchgate profile:

Google scholar profile:

Current projects
Sexual selection in a cooperatively breeding bird with no sexual dimorphism (Pied Babbler Research Project)

Kin recognition behaviour in cooperative species (Pied Babbler Research Project)

Social learning behaviour and the benefits of group size (Arabian babbler Project)

Long-term population dynamics, population regulation and critical group size effects in cooperative breeders (Pied and Arabian Babbler Project)

How should we measure help? How measures of helping behaviour influence conclusions on the causes of cooperation (Pied Babbler Research Project)

The effect of extreme climate events on parental reproductive investment decisions (Pied and Arabian Babbler Research Project)

The relationship between sociality and cognitive ability (Western Magpie Research Project)

The fragile dynamic between intra-group cooperation and conflict (Western Magpie Research Project)
Research profile
Research profile and publications

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Last updated:
Tuesday, 3 November, 2015 2:39 PM