Dr. Clutton-Brock studies and writes about the ecology of mammals.
What is your research focus?
My research focuses both on the evolution of animal breeding systems and on the way in which these affect population dynamics and selection. Specific topics we are currently working on include the evolution of cooperation and the causal mechanisms controlling it; negotiation between helpers and juveniles; sexual selection in females and males; and the evolution of aging. Members of my group work on a wide range of animals, including insects, fish, birds, and mammals. Much of my own work focuses on three long-term studies: of red deer on the Isle of Rum; of Soay sheep on St. Kilda; and of meerkats in the southern Kalahari.
What inspires you about science?
Questions of great beauty revolve around ‘why.’ Why does the extent of parental care vary so much between species? Why do only females care for eggs and young in some animals, only males in others? Why do some animals live in groups, and others not? Why do meerkats behave as they do? It’s a major human endeavor to understand the world around you; good science is its own reward.