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Department of Zoology



I was born in Wales but then spent my early childhood in Zimbabwe, which nurtured my fascination with the natural world. After finishing A-levels, I spent a year working in a laboratory and volunteering on conservation projects across Australia before I began my undergraduate studies. In 2007, I was awarded a First Class honours degree in Zoology at the University of Bristol, where my interest in birds and song were cemented by a self-generated research project studying the effects of anthropogenic noise on European robin song. After graduating, I stayed in Bristol for a year to investigate host-parasite dynamics as a BBSRC-funded research assistant with Prof. Richard Tinsley. Then in 2008, I was awarded a University of Bristol Postgraduate Scholarship to carry out my PhD thesis research. My project took me back to Southern Africa, where I studied the song of cooperatively breeding white-browed sparrow weavers, under the co-supervision of Dr Andrew Radford and Dr Andrew Young. My thesis was examined by Prof. Clive Catchpole and Prof. Innes Cuthill in 2012, and I graduated in 2013. I am currently working as an Isaac Newton Trust-funded postdoctoral research associate with Prof. Nick Davies, to investigate the role of female cuckoo calls in cuckoo-host dynamics.


I am a Behavioural Ecologist with broad interests in animal behaviour and evolution. I am especially fascinated by coevolution and its weird and wonderful consequences. My research has included studies in the following areas:

  • Bird song and vocalisations
  • Brood parasitism
  • Social evolution
  • Evolutionary parasitology

Please see my personal webpage for more information about my research, occasional blog posts about my wanderings in the natural world, and my experiences as a researcher.


Key publications: 

JE York and NB Davies, 2017. Female cuckoo calls misdirect host defences towards the wrong enemy. Nature Ecology and Evolution. doi:10.1038/549006a. 

JE York, AN Radford, B de Vries, TG Groothuis, AJ Young. 2016. Dominance-related seasonal song production is unrelated to circulating testosterone in a subtropical songbird. General and Comparative Endocrinology, 233: 43-52.

LA Walker, JE York, and AJ Young. 2016. Sexually selected sentinels? Evidence of a role for intrasexual competition in sentinel behavior. Behavioural Ecology. doi: 10.1093/beheco/arw064

JE York, AN Radford, AG Groothuis, and AJ Young. 2016. Dominant male song performance reflects current immune state in a cooperatively breeding songbird. Ecology and Evolution. doi:10.1002/ece3.1938

DL Cram, JD Blount, JE York, and AJ Young. 2015. Immune response in a wild bird is predicted by oxidative status, but does not cause oxidative stress. PLOS ONE, 10: e0122421.

XA Harrison, JE York, and AJ Young. 2014. Population genetic structure and direct observations reveal sex‐reversed patterns of dispersal in a cooperative bird. Molecular Ecology 23 (23): 5740-5755

JE York, AJ Young, and AN Radford. 2014. Singing in the moonlight: dawn song performance of a diurnal bird varies with lunar phase. Biology Letters 10 (1): 1-4.

XA Harrison, JE York, DL Cram, and AJ Young. 2013. Extra‐group mating increases inbreeding risk in a cooperatively breeding bird. Molecular Ecology 22 (22): 5700-5715.

XA Harrison, JE York, DL Cram, MC Hares, and AJ Young. 2013. Complete reproductive skew within white-browed sparrow weaver groups despite outbreeding opportunities for subordinates of both sexes. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 67 (12): 1915-1929.

RC Tinsley, LC Stott, JE York, ALE Everard, SJ Chapple, J Jackson, M Viney, and MC Tinsley. 2012. Acquired immunity protects against helminth infection in a natural host population: long-term field and laboratory evidence. International Journal for Parasitology 42 (10): 931-938.

RC Tinsley, JE York, LC Stott, ALE Everard, SJ Chapple, and MC Tinsley. 2011. Environmental constraints influencing survival of an African parasite in a north temperate habitat: effects of temperature on development within the host. Parasitology, 138: 1039-1052.

RC Tinsley, JE York, ALE Everard, LC Stott, SJ Chapple, and MC Tinsley. 2011. Environmental constraints influencing survival of an African parasite in a north temperate habitat: effects of temperature on egg development. Parasitology, 138: 1029-1038.

Research Associate

Contact Details

01223 (3)34430