John Krebs is a prominent scientist and public administrator. His research career revealed insights into the behaviour, population biology and neuroscience of birds. His seminal contribution proved that bird species that store seeds for the winter have remarkable spatial memory, enabled by an enlarged hippocampus in comparison with other bird species.
John’s passion for birdwatching began in childhood. In his career, he combined field observation with elegant experimentation to make major contributions to the understanding of territoriality, flocking, feeding strategies and vocal communication in birds. His discoveries in avian recall paved the way for others’ research in memory storage and processing.
Knighted in 1999 for services to behavioural ecology, John became a crossbench life peer in 2007. He has held many influential positions in public life, including Chief Executive of the Natural Environment Research Council, the first Chairman of the Food Standards Agency, and President of the British Science Association.