Dr Gabrielle Davidson

Dr Gabrielle Davidson

  • Position Fellow Junior Research Fellow
  • Subject areas Zoology
  • School Biological Sciences
  • Department Psychology
  • Twitter @GabsDavidson
  • Department link Psychology

Gabrielle is a comparative psychologist and a behavioural ecologist with a keen interest in the development, function and evolution of cognition in wild animals.

Dr Gabrielle Davidson

Gabrielle obtained a First Class Honours BSc Zoology at University College London. She completed her PhD in Experimental Psychology at the University of Cambridge in 2014 where she studied behaviour in wild corvids (birds of the crow family). As a Post-Doctoral Research Associate at the University of Cambridge, she studied the development of causal reasoning in juvenile Eurasian jays. At University College Cork, Ireland she was a Senior Post-Doctoral Researcher where she studied proximate mechanisms of individual variation in cognitive abilities in great tits (Parus major).

Gabrielle is a British Trust for Ornithology Licenced bird ringer and a member of the British Ecological Society, The American Ornithology Society, and the Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour.

Research interests

Gabrielle studies the interplay between the microbial community in the gut (microbiome) and host behaviour and cognition. She currently works on a nestbox population of wild great tits (Parus major) at Madingley Woods, a Site of Special Scientific Interest. She has also dabbled in invertebrate host-microbe interactions in pond snails (Lymnaea stagnalis). The foundations of her research depend on good measures of cognitive traits, therefore she has focused on developing rigorous cognitive tasks to investigate causes and consequences of variation in intelligence in wild populations. Other interests include predator-prey interactions and her doctoral work investigated how wild birds (rooks, jackdaws, crows and great tits) responded to where others are looking (i.e. gaze sensitivity), and how this influences decision-making when foraging, finding nesting locations, guarding chicks and escaping predators.