Julia Kilgour

Julia Kilgour fieldwork at nightPhD Candidate (2013-present)

The behaviour of individual animals is heavily influenced by changes in their surroundings, including the social environment. However, the social environment is rarely static, and individuals will interact with new conspecifics on a regular basis. Animals often exhibit variable levels of behaviour depending on the specific social context and the behaviour of their social partner. It remains unclear how these social influences can alter the behavioural phenotype over an animal’s lifetime, and the resulting fitness consequences.

For my PhD thesis, I will examine how individual behaviour is altered by the behaviour of conspecifics. Specifically, I am interested in how individual aggression levels are influenced by aggressive behaviour in group mates, and how these influences persist into subsequent social interactions and across seasons. Using Drosophila melanogaster as a model system, I plan to explore ecological and evolutionary consequences of social influences and how these effects are mediated by seasonality and density.


Kilgour, RJ, McAdam, AG, Betini, GS, Norris, DR. 2018. Experimental evidence that density mediates negative frequency-dependent selection on aggression. Journal of Animal Ecology  87: 1091-1101.

Kilgour, RJ, Faure, PA, Brigham, RM. 2013. Evidence of social preferences in big brown bats (Eptesicus fuscus). Canadian Journal of Zoology 91: 756-760.

Kilgour, RJ, Brigham, RM. 2013. The relationships between behavioural categories and social influences in the gregarious big brown bat (Eptesicus fuscus). Ethology 119: 189-198.

Kilgour, RJ, Hillerby, R, McLennan, DA. 2010. The role of acoustic cues in the breeding repertoire of the brook stickleback. Journal of Ethology 28: 175-178.

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