Prof Christian Rutz

Professor of Biology

Harold Mitchell 
tel. 01334 463340
fax. 01334 463366
cr68@st-andrews.ac.uk

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.

 

Publications

Schneider, W, Rutz, C, Hedwig, B & Bailey, NW 2018, 'Vestigial singing behaviour persists after the evolutionary loss of song in crickets' Biology Letters, vol 14, no. 2, 20170654. DOI: 10.1098/rsbl.2017.0654
Rutz, C & Deans, S 2018, 'Nuthatch uses tool in London park' Ethology, vol 124, no. 2, pp. 135-138. DOI: 10.1111/eth.12714
St Clair, JJH, Klump, BC, Sugasawa, S, Higgott, CG, Colegrave, N & Rutz, C 2018, 'Hook innovation boosts foraging efficiency in tool-using crows' Nature Ecology and Evolution. DOI: 10.1038/s41559-017-0429-7
Rutz, C 2018, Studying corvids in lab and field. in N Bueno-Guerra & F Amici (eds), Field and Laboratory Methods in Animal Cognition : A Comparative Guide. Cambridge University Press, pp. 127-129.
Sugasawa, S, Klump, BC, St Clair, JJH & Rutz, C 2017, 'Causes and consequences of tool shape variation in New Caledonian crows' Current Biology, vol 27, no. 24, e4, pp. 3885-3890. DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2017.11.028
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