Dr James Savage


James was a postdoctoral fellow at University College Cork and a visiting researcher at the University of Sheffield (UK). He completed his PhD at the University of Cambridge (UK) in 2014, and has since worked at Wageningen University (NL), Cambridge, and Sheffield as a postdoc. Prior to his PhD, James was a research assistant on field projects in Australia, Canada, and the USA.

Research Interests

James is a behavioural ecologist who uses a combination of theoretical, empirical, and comparative methods to answer questions around animal reproduction and sociality, and how these behaviours change under different conditions. Currently, his key research themes are:


  1. Savage JL & Crane JMS (2020) What can we learn from antique ornithology? Emu.
  2. Nomano FY, Savage JL, Browning LE, Griffith, SC & Russell AF (2019) Breeding Phenology and Meteorological Conditions Affect Carer Provisioning Rates and Group-Level Coordination in Cooperative Chestnut-Crowned BabblersFrontiers in Ecology and Evolution 7, 423.
  3. Savage JL & Hinde CA (2019) What can we quantify about carer behaviour? Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution 7, 418.
  4. Clare C, Cruz M, Papadopoulou E, Savage JL, Teperek M,  Wang Y, Witkowska I & Yeomans J (2019) Engaging Researchers with Data Management: The Cookbook. Open Book Publishers, Cambridge, UK.
  5. Lejeune L, Savage JL, Bründl AC, Thiney A, Russell AF & Chaine AS (2019 ) Environmental effects on parental care visitation patterns in blue tits Cyanistes caeruleusFrontiers in Ecology and Evolution 7, 356.
  6. Johnstone RA & Savage JL (2019) Conditional cooperation and turn-taking in parental careFrontiers in Ecology and Evolution 7, 335.
  7. Franks VR, McCready M, Savage JL & Thorogood R (2019) Time spent with parents varies with early-life condition, but does not predict survival or sociality of juvenile hihiFrontiers in Ecology and Evolution 7, 322.
  8. Riley RJ, Gillie BR, Savage JL, Boogert NJ, Manica A & Jungwirth A (2019) The role of tactile interactions in flight responses in the Bronze Cory catfish (Corydoras aeneus)Ethology 125, 810-20.
  9. Savage JL, & Cadwallader L (2019) Establishing, developing, and sustaining a community of Data ChampionsData Science Journal 18, 23.
  10. Khwaja N, Preston, S. A. J., Hatchwell, B. J., Briskie, J. V., Winney, I. S., Savage, J. L. (2017). Flexibility but no coordination of visits in provisioning riflemenAnimal Behaviour, 125, 25–31.
  11. Snijders, L., Nieuwe Weme, L. E., De Goede, P., Savage, J. L., Van Oers, K. & Naguib, M. (2017). Context-dependent effects of radio transmitter attachment on a small passerineJournal of Avian Biology 48. 650–9.
  12. Crane, J. M. S., Savage, J. L. & Russell, A. F. 2016. Diversity and function of vocalisations in the cooperative chestnut-crowned babblerEmu, 116, 241–253.
  13. Savage, J. L., Russell, A. F. & Johnstone, R. A. 2015. Maternal allocation in cooperative breeders: should mothers match or compensate for expected helper contributions? Animal Behaviour, 102, 189–197.
  14. Engesser, S., Crane, J. M. S., Savage, J. L., Russell, A. F. & Townsend, S. W. 2015. Experimental Evidence for Phonemic Contrasts in a Nonhuman Vocal SystemPLOS Biology, 13, e1002171.
  15. Nomano, F. Y., Browning, L. E., Savage, J. L., Rollins, L. A., Griffith, S. C. & Russell, A. F. 2015. Unrelated helpers neither signal contributions nor suffer retribution in chestnut-crowed babblersBehavioral Ecology, 26, 986–995.
  16. Savage, J. L., Russell, A. F. & Johnstone, R. A. 2013a. Intra-group relatedness affects parental and helper investment rules in offspring careBehavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 67, 1855–1865.
  17. Savage, J. L., Russell, A. F. & Johnstone, R. A. 2013b. Maternal costs in offspring production affect investment rules in joint rearingBehavioral Ecology, 24, 750–758.
  18. Young, C. M., Browning, L. E., Savage, J. L., Griffith, S. C. & Russell, A. F. 2013. No evidence for deception over allocation to brood care in a cooperative birdBehavioral Ecology, 24, 70–81.
  19. Rollins, L. A., Browning, L. E., Holleley, C. E., Savage, J. L., Russell, A. F. & Griffith, S. C. 2012. Building genetic networks using relatedness information: a novel approach for the estimation of dispersal and characterization of group structure in social animalsMolecular Ecology, 21, 1727–1740.
  20. Browning, L. E., Young, C. M., Savage, J. L., Russell, D. J. F., Barclay, H., Griffith, S. C. & Russell, A. F. 2012. Carer provisioning rules in an obligate cooperative breeder: Prey type, size and delivery rateBehavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 66, 1639–1649.

Professional Activity

James is the course designer and primary instructor for “Introduction to Animal Behaviour” on the edX platform. This Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) first ran in summer 2016 and has now attracted over 30,000 students from 164 countries.



James Savage

Contact Details:

  • School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences, North Mall Campus, University College Cork Location Map


Post Doctoral Researcher


Past Members

UCC Ornithology Research Group

School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences, UCC North Mall Campus, North Mall, Cork City,