Dr. Jim Quinn

What is the overall goal of your research program?

My lab aims to understand cooperation and conflict within two species of cooperative birds with different mating systems that drive distinct conflicts of interest.  These species are excellent models of complex social behaviour on par with that of humans.  Socially monogamous smooth-billed anis share a single nest and engage in conflict by tossing and covering each other’s eggs in the nest structure.  Promiscuous pukeko rarely engage in any form of reproductive conflict over eggs or chicks even though females in the same group share a single nest, which leads to increased risk of hatching failure.

What would be one of your biggest research highlights?

We showed experimental evidence that suggests male pukeko coercion preventing  primary breeding females from expelling the eggs of secondary females despite reduced hatching success resulting from supersized clutches.  While researching a separate area of interest my lab group showed that herring gulls and lab mice suffered higher rates of germ-line mutations, mutations in gametes that affect offspring, when exposed to breathable particulate air pollution associated with integrated steel mills.

How can we find out more information about the research you do?

My web site lists publication of research contributions of myself and my students.


What are your main interests outside of research?

I am very concerned about environmental neglect and impacts of the rapid and reckless use of fossil fuels.  I am engaged in writing and activism on this front.  Also, I really like bicycles and canoes.