Dr Christina Halpin
- Email: email@example.com
- Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 6914
- Fax: +44 (0) 191 208 5622
Following an undergraduate degree in Zoology at Newcastle (1998-2001) I completed an MPhil at at the Northern Institute for Cancer Research (2002-2005). This research involved investigating the effects of retionds on Meulloblastoma cell lines. In 2005 I moved back into the field of Zoology and did a PhD supervised by Dr Candy Rowe. My thesis, entitled ‘Avian Cognition and the Evolution of Defences and Warning Signals in Insects’ investigated the initial evolution of conspicuous warning coloration in chemically defended prey. In my BBSRC/NERC co-funded post-doctoral work (2008-2012), I investigated how avian predators make foraging decisions based on nutrient-toxin trade-offs and how these decisions impact on the evolution of prey defences. In 2013 I was awarded a Medical School Faculty Fellowship to further pursue my interest in the evolution of anti-predator defences and avian foraging strategies, with a particular focus on the role of taste.
My research investigates how the foraging strategies of predators direct the evolution of prey defences. During my PhD, I addressed the theoretical challenge of how warning coloration can initially evolve, specifically asking: how can conspicuous signals be advantageous to toxic prey when they increase the chances of being detected? I showed that the ways in which avian predators taste and reject toxic prey, by detecting the bitter taste of toxins, can increase the survival chances of rare conspicuous prey. My post-doctoral research investigated how birds make foraging decisions based on nutrient-toxin trade-offs, and how these decisions generate selection pressures on prey. I recently demonstrated that birds will increase their intake of toxic prey when these are nutritionally enriched. This fundamentally alters our understanding of the evolution of prey defences and I am currently involved in preparing state-dependent models investigating how the nutritional value of prey affects the evolutionary dynamics of prey defences.
- Halpin CG, Skelhorn J, Rowe C, Ruxton GD, Higginson AD. The Impact of Detoxification Costs and Predation Risk on Foraging: Implications for Mimicry Dynamics. PLoS One 2017, 12(1), e0169043.
- Skelhorn J, Halpin CG, Rowe C. Learning about aposematic prey. Behavioral Ecology 2016, 27(4), 955-964.
- Smith KE, Halpin CG, Rowe C. The benefits of being toxic to deter predators depends on prey body size. Behavioral Ecology 2016, epub ahead of print.
- Halpin CG, Rowe C. The effect of distastefulness and conspicuous coloration on the post-attack rejection behaviour of predators and survival of prey. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 2016, epub ahead of print.
- Skelhorn J, Halpin CG, Rowe C. What do predators do? A response to comments on Skelhorn et al. Behavioral Ecology 2016, 27(4), 968-968.
- Chatelain M, Halpin CG, Rowe C. Ambient temperature influences birds' decisions to eat toxic prey. Animal Behaviour 2013, 86(4), 733-740.
- Halpin CG, Skelhorn J, Rowe C. Predators' decisions to eat defended prey depend on the size of undefended prey. Animal Behaviour 2013, 85(6), 1315-1321.
- Rowe C, Halpin CG. Why are warning displays multimodal?. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 2013, 67(9), 1425-1439.
- Halpin CG, Skelhorn J, Rowe C. The relationship between sympatric defended species depends upon predators’ discriminatory behaviour. PLoS One 2012, 7(9), e44895.
- Halpin C, Rowe C. Taste-rejection behaviour by predators can promote variability in prey defences. Biology Letters 2010, 6(5), 617-619.
- Syed AA, Halpin C, Irving JAE, Unwin NC, White M, Bhopal RS, Redfern CPF, Weaver JU. A common intron 2 polymorphism of the glucocorticoid receptor gene is associated with insulin resistance in men. Clinical Endocrinology 2008, 68(6), 879-884.
- Halpin CG, Skelhorn J, Rowe C. Being conspicuous and defended: Selective benefits for the individual. Behavioral Ecology 2008, 19(5), 1012-1017.
- Halpin CG, Skelhorn J, Rowe C. Naïve predators and selection for rare conspicuous defended prey: the initial evolution of aposematism revisited. Animal Behaviour 2008, 75(3), 771-781.