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Professor Ben Sheldon

My research

My research seeks to understand the causes and consequences of individual variation in natural populations, and in particular how this variation impacts the operation of population-level processes. This work - usually with wild birds as a model - currently has three main foci: (i) How do animals adjust and adapt to changing environments, and in particular, how does phenotypic flexibility arise? (ii) How does social structure emerge from, and how is it affected by, individual variation? (iii) How does information flow through populations?

My journey

I met my partner in Sweden and the flexibility of science helped in a long term relationship for the first few years. Once we settled in the same place and had children, Niki's career involved a lot of travel abroad. A supportive department coupled with the flexibility of research again made that possible. Our younger son was taken ill and diagnosed with a serious medical condition in 2008 which has emphasised even more the need for flexibility and support - from many sides of my department and university - in our lives.