profile

Prof Christian Rutz:
Professor of Biology



Following research as a Rhodes Scholar (DPhil), Junior Research Fellow (Postdoc) and BBSRC David Phillips Fellow (PI) at the University of Oxford, I transferred my group in 2012 to the University of St Andrews, to take up a Readership in the School of Biology. I have diverse research interests in the fields of animal ecology (behavioural ecology; population biology; predation dynamics), animal cognition (tool use; culture; social learning; comparative cognition), and conservation science (large-scale conservation schemes; policy making). My group’s principal research project is on the evolutionary, ecological and social contexts of tool-use behaviour in New Caledonian crows. I enjoy developing innovative, cutting-edge research methodologies, and led the teams that first deployed miniature video-cameras (2007, Science) and proximity loggers (2012, Current Biology) on wild birds – breakthroughs that were recognised with the 'BTO Marsh Award for Innovative Ornithology 2013', a finalist entry at the ‘UK Technology and Innovation Awards 2008’, and a nomination for the ‘BBSRC Innovator of the Year Award 2012’. I hold honorary appointments at three international research universities (New South Wales, Australia; Tokyo, Japan; Oxford, UK), and was recently elected to the Royal Society of Edinburgh’s ‘Young Academy of Scotland’.

 



BIOSKETCH

Following research as a Rhodes Scholar (DPhil), Junior Research Fellow (Postdoc) and BBSRC David Phillips Fellow (PI) at the University of Oxford, I transferred to the University of St Andrews in 2012 where I am now a Professor of Biology, leading the Avian Tool Use Research Group. I have diverse research interests in the fields of animal ecology (behavioural ecology; population biology; predation dynamics), animal cognition (tool use; culture; social learning; comparative cognition), and conservation science (large-scale conservation schemes; policy making). My group’s principal research project is on the evolutionary, ecological and social contexts of tool-use behaviour in New Caledonian and Hawaiian crows. I enjoy developing innovative, cutting-edge research methodologies, and led the teams that first deployed miniature video-cameras (2007, Science) and proximity loggers (2012, Current Biology) on wild birds.

HAWAIIAN CROW IS HIGHLY PROFICIENT TOOL USER

While it was long thought that the New Caledonian crow is the only natural tool user amongst the world's >40 species of crows and ravens, we have recently discovered that the Hawaiian crow deserves to join the club. You can read the paper for free here.

ROYAL SOCIETY SUMMER SCIENCE EXHIBITION 2017

We were delighted to present our crow research at last year's Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition. This short video explains our discovery of tool use in Hawaiian crows in a nutshell:

SOCIETY LAUNCHED

The International Bio-Logging Society was launched at last year's International Bio-Logging Symposium, in Konstanz, Germany. If you are interested in bio-logging science, please get in touch!

RECENT NEWS

April 2018: Many congratulations to Barbara Klump, who has taken up a postdoctoral position at the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology, Radolfzell, Germany.

April 2018: Many congratulations to Jessica van der Wal, who has taken up a field assistant position to study hihi in New Zealand.

January 2018: James St Clair's big paper on New Caledonian crows' use of hooked tools is out in Nature Ecology and Evolution; Victoria Gill produced an excellent news story about this (with video) for the BBC.

December 2017: New paper out on New Caledonian crows in Current Biology, covered by an excellent Dispatch article by Adam van Casteren.

November 2017: Many congratulations to Will Schneider, who has taken up a research assistant position at the University of Cambridge, UK.

September 2017: Many congratulations to Axel Wiberg, who has taken up a postdoctoral position at the University of Basel, Switzerland.

September 2017: The International Bio-Logging Society has been launched (see separate entry above)!

September 2017: Welcome to Matthew Steele, who joins the group as a PhD student.

July 2017: We are delighted to present our crow research at the Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition.

source: symbiosis


Recent Publications:

5 (of 68 /dk/atira/pure/researchoutput/status/published available) for cr68 (source: University of St Andrews PURE)
Please click title of any item for full details

A deepening understanding of animal culture suggests lessons for conservation Philippa Brakes, Emma Louise Carroll, Sasha Dall, Sally Keith, Peter McGregor, Sarah Mesnick, Michael Noad, Luke Edward Rendell, Martha Robbins, Christian Rutz, Alex Thorton, Andrew Whiten, Martin Whiting, Lucy Aplin, Stuart Bearhop, Paolo Ciucci, Vicki Fishlock, John Ford, Giuseppe Notarbartolo di Sciara, Mark Simmonds, Fernando Spina, Paul Wade, Hal Whithead, James Williams, Ellen Clare Garland
Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 2021 vol. 288
A genome-wide investigation of adaptive signatures in protein-coding genes related to tool behaviour in New Caledonian and Hawaiian crows Nicolas Dussex, Verena E. Kutschera, Gavin R. Hunt, Russell D. Gray, Kim Rutherford, Hideaki Abe, Robert C. Fleischer, Michael Gordon Ritchie, Christian Rutz, Jochen B.Wolf, Neil J. Gemmell
Molecular Ecology 2021 vol. 30 pp. 973-986
A standardisation framework for bio-logging data to advance ecological research and conservation Ana M.M. Sequeira, Malcolm O’Toole, Theresa R. Keates, Laura H. McDonnell, Camrin D. Braun, Xavier Hoenner, Fabrice R.A. Jaine, Ian D. Jonsen, Peggy Newman, Jonathan Pye, Steven J. Bograd, Graeme C. Hays, Elliott L Hazen, Melinda Holland, Vardis Tsontos, Clint Blight, Francesca Cagnacci, Sarah C. Davidson, Holger Dettki, Carlos M. Duarte, Daniel C. Dunn, Victor M. Eguíluz, Mike Fedak, Adrian C. Gleiss, Neil Hammerschlag, Mark A. Hindell, Kim Holland, Ivica Janekovic, Megan K. McKinzie, Mônica M.C. Muelbert, Chari Pattiaratchi, Christian Rutz, David W. Sims, Samantha E. Simmons, Brendal Townsend, Frederick Whoriskey, Bill Woodward, Daniel P. Costa, Michelle R. Heupel, Clive R. McMahon, Rob Harcourt, Michael Weise
Methods in Ecology and Evolution 2021 vol. 12 pp. 996-1007
DNA barcoding identifies cryptic animal tool materials Linda E. Neaves, James St Clair, Joana R. S. M. Fernandes, Vanessa Hequet, Philip Shaw, Peter M. Hollingsworth, Christian Rutz
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 2021 vol. 118
Ethology adopts the STRANGE framework for animal behaviour research, to improve reporting standards Christian Rutz, Michael Munro Webster
Ethology 2021 vol. 127 pp. 99-101