Conor Heins

Conor is a PhD student interested in the basic principles underlying the dynamics and organization of complex systems. In particular, he investigates the notion that such systems, from single cells to economies, look as if they implicitly ‘model’ their surroundings. In pursuing this idea, he relies heavily on a theoretical framework called the Free Energy Principle. He completed a BA in Neuroscience at Swarthmore College and a MSc. in Neuroscience at the University of Göttingen, with a focus on computational neuroscience and active inference. Currently, Conor borrows methods from non-equilibrium thermodynamics,

Francesca Santostefano

Francesca is interested in how social interactions among animals shape their behaviours and fitness. After completing her university studies in Padua, Italy, she moved to Germany where she earned a PhD between the Max-Planck-Institute for Ornithology in Seewiesen, and the Ludwig-Maximilians-University of Munich. Her project focused on the consequences of social interactions on the evolution of individual differences in behaviour in Field crickets, bridging the fields of behavioural ecology and quantitative genetics.

Current Biology: The multilevel society of a small-brained bird

The first publication of the vulturine guineafowl project is out! The team in the Farine lab have revealed the best evidence yet for a multilevel society in a bird species. The study demonstrates that vulturine guineafowl live in stable groups that comprise of multiple breeding units, and that these groups interact preferentially with other groups, both during the day and at communal roosts. The study combined large-scale census data with high-resolution GPS tracking to reveal the highly detailed information about the vulturine guineafowl society.