New paper out in Scientific Reports (open access)! Glucocorticoids do not change the badge colour or signalling behaviour of male Sceloporus lizards.


Happy New Year! I have now officially started my new position as a Marie Curie Fellow at Lund University. I am currently working in Sweden, and will spend the rest of this year as a visiting postdoc at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, Canada. I’m really excited about this project, which will investigate the context-dependence of maternal stress outcomes. More soon!


New paper out in the Journal of Zoology: lizards spend more time on trees that they are faster and quieter on! More about this here.


A busy month! I finished up at Penn State with a bang – paper accepted in Journal of Zoology (Tree selection is linked to locomotor performance and associated noise production in a lizard – watch this space). I’ll miss the Langkilde and Sheriff lab team a lot! But, I’ve started my brief Company of Biologists fellowship at the University of Tasmania, doing some pilot data collection for my Marie Curie fellowship project next year. Blog post coming soon.


Paper with Lyanne Brouwer accepted in Animal Behaviour! Social context-dependent provisioning rules in red-winged fairy-wrens do not vary with signals of increased chick need. Check it out!


It’s been a busy few weeks in lizard land: two papers accepted! See PUBLICATIONS for links.

MacLeod, K.J., Sheriff, M.J., Ensminger, D.C., Owen, D.A.S., Langkilde, T. Stress kills: the costs of ecologically-relevant stress hormone levels in a captive, wild animal. (Accepted: General and Comparative Endocrinology).

Ensminger, D.C., Langkilde, T., Owen, D.A.S., MacLeod, K.J., Sheriff, M.J. Maternal stress alters the phenotype of the mother, her eggs, and her offspring in a wild caught lizard. (Accepted: Journal of Animal Ecology)


New paper out in Biology Letters, led by Brian Trevelline and Kevin Kohl! In ovo microbial communities: a potential mechanism for the initial acquisition of gut microbiota among oviparous birds and lizards.” This was a fun collaboration – keep your eyes peeled for more!


Paper accepted in Oikos! Fear and lethality in snowshoe hares: the deadly effects of non-consumptive predation risk“.

Presentation abstract accepted for SICB 2018 in San Francisco! I’ll be talking about my lizard work on Sunday 7th: “Maternal stress in eastern fence lizards does not adaptively program offspring to a stressful environment.”


Another hihi paper out today! “Do mothers bias offspring sex ratios in carotenoid-rich environments?” Available in early access form here.


My first hihi paper came out online in Animal Behaviour today! “Minutes matter: brief hatching asynchrony adversely affects late-hatched hihi nestlings, but not life beyond the nest”. You can find it here. Please email me if you cannot access the pdf online.


I’ve moved! I am now a postdoctoral scholar at Penn State. Follow on this site for news of my upcoming research, or check out my group pages here and here.


I’m on Breaking Bio! Check out my interview episode here.


Very excited to have been offered a postdoc position in the labs of Michael Sheriff and Tracy Langkilde at Penn State. I’ll be moving there in March! More details here.


Delighted to have been awarded an ASAB Research Grant to fund my upcoming research on red-winged fairy wrens in Australia! This work will be done in collaboration with Dr Lyanne Brouwer from ANU. I’m very excited – keep an eye on my blog for research updates through the field season, starting very soon!


New paper out online in Journal of Animal Ecology: No apparent benefits of allonursing for recipient offspring and mothers in the cooperatively breeding meerkat. As always, email me for a pdf if you would like to read it!


New paper out online in Behavioural Ecology: Low costs of allonursing in meerkats: mitigation by behavioral change? Please email me for a pdf if you would like to read it, but do not have access. (Unfortunately I still can’t afford open access charges!)


The first ever issue of Biosphere magazine is out! I’m a contributor – check it out here:


Delighted to report two things: that I submitted my PhD dissertation last week (hooray! watch this space!); and, that I am beginning a post-doc position with Dr Rose Thorogood in the Behavioural Ecology group here in Cambridge, working on environmental influences on maternal investment in hihi.


Paper out today in Biology Letters! Revisiting non-offspring nursing: allonursing evolves when the costs are low Biol. Lett. June 2014, vol. 10, no. 6 20140378


New letter out in Trends in Plant Sciences with AJ Carter and others: Junior scientists are sceptical of sceptics of open access: a reply to Agrawal


This month I’m featured in Dr Hannah Rowland’s Beepcast! Listen here. I’m also featured in the Cambridge Research Horizons magazine: download a copy here.


New citation in Costly sons do not lead to adaptive sex ratio adjustment in pilot whales, Globicephala melas by Hazel Nichols and team

I’ve been awarded a research grant from the Cambridge Philosophical Society towards the completion of my thesis.

Newly cited, woohoo! Check out Sinead’s article, “Early growth, dominance acquisition and lifetime reproductive success in male and female cooperative meerkats“…

Paper covered in the Observatory column, New York Times:

Paper top story on BBC Science and Environment!

My new paper, “Factors predicting the frequency, likelihood and duration of allonursing in the cooperatively breeding meerkat”, is out online today! ( or email me for a copy 🙂

I’m featuring on the Cambridge University Public Engagement webpages, with a short post about my Countryfile experience:

The second episode of Countryfile I worked on airs tonight! Check it out on BBC2.

Tonight I was featured on “Pythagoras’ Trousers” on Radio Cardiff – you can check out my podcast here:
or via the website:

The Countryfile investigation I’ve been working on will air THIS SUNDAY – 1st Sept. Tune in!

My second paper, “Factors predicting the frequency, likelihood, and duration of allonursing in the cooperatively breeding meerkat”, has been accepted by Animal Behaviour!

Today I started my Media Fellowship placement at BBC Countryfile in Bristol. I’ll be doing the background research for a John Craven investigation that will air in September. Watch this space!

My first citation, hooray! Tilman Schneider and Peter Kappeler’s excellent review of social systems and life history characteristics of mongooses is online now, and includes the VERY exciting fact that there is no evidence that meerkats adjust their offspring sex ratios (MacLeod & Clutton-Brock, boom!)

Next month I will be undertaking a placement with the BBC in Bristol, working on Countryfile, as part of the British Media Association Fellowship I was awarded in May!


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