Kevin Healy

Marie-Curie Research Fellow in St Andrews University- UK


 

I am a macroecologist interested in the large patterns that govern life

My research is mainly focused on understanding the fundamental drivers of foraging and life history evolution. However, if you know me already you will know that if its a big pattern, especially body size scaling, I'm also probably interested in that too. I mainly use a mix of theoretical and comparative approaches to understand the variation of animal traits such as venom potency in snakes, scavenging efficiency in theropod dinosaurs, lifespan in birds and mammals, and time perceptions in vertebrates. My PhD with Andrew Jackson in Trinity College Dublin focused on the evolution of traits relating to the capture of prey, such as venom toxicity and motion perception, and the expected influence of high predation pressures on life-history traits such as lifespan. I followed my PhD with a post-doc with Professor Yvonne in Trinity College Dublin were I my research centered on using comparative methods and data from the demography databases COMPADRE and COMADRE to investigate patterns of variation in life-history traits in plants and animals.

I am currently a Marie Curie Fellow in St Andrews University working on my newly developed SCAVENGER project. The aim of the project is to investigate the drivers of scavenging by developing an individual based modelling approach. I will apply this model to ecological scenarios such as early human foraging and to species of conservation concern to understand the role of scavenging in population dynamics and evolution. I am also interested in developing new statistical tools for ecology and evolution. I have developed a package SIDER which estimates trophic enrichment factors for the use in stable isotope analysis. I have also co-developed with Thomas Guillerme a package mulTree that incorporates the error associated. Finally, I am also testing the behaviour of metrics used to measure population survival curves. I also actively communicate my work through teaching and by promoting evolutionary sciences to the general public (namely through the EcoEvo@TCD blog and events such as Discover Research Night.