The aim of my PhD project is to understand how birds nests evolve. The nest’s primary function is to provide protection for developing offspring. However nests can also be very conspicuous, decorated, or associated with the presence of individuals performing remarkable displays, when we could expect that camouflaged nests should be favored by natural selection. Thus it is probable that other reasons excluding offspring protection may act upon nest’s evolution! This project is essentially trying to answer this simple question: why do bird’s nests look the way they do?
To answer this question we study the Ploceidae family and we will try to determine :
1) Which factors contribute to the evolution and diversification of the nest?
2) Which evolutionary paths the nests follow when various species live in the same area?
3) Which are the links between the nest and acoustic and visual signalling?