Dr Stuart Sharp


Research Overview

Stuart is an animal ecologist working principally with wild populations of birds and mammals to address questions at the interface between animal behaviour and population ecology.

Published research

Much of Stuart’s published work focuses on two main projects:

  • The social behaviour and population ecology of long-tailed tits (Aegithalos caudatus). This includes research on vocal communication, dispersal and population genetics. His work on kin recognition in this species was published in Nature in 2005 and has been cited over 100 times.
  • Reproductive senescence in meerkats (Suricata suricatta). This work focuses on the relationship between sociality and senescence patterns in this species.

Current research

Stuart’s current work investigates the impact of water quality on the ecology, life history and behaviour of the dipper (Cinclus cinclus). This is part of a long-term study of this species, a well-known indicator of water quality, using a marked population in Sedbergh and nearby areas of Yorkshire Dales National Park that has been monitored since the 1950s. Stuart’s other projects include a survey of avian biodiversity in the Lower Kouilou Basin, Congo, and a study of moth diversity on the university campus.


Stuart teaches on a number of first year and third year modules for the LEC BSc degree schemes in biology and ecology, including:


Stuart is currently:

Flood avoidance behaviour in Brown Dippers Cinclus pallasii
Hong, S., Sharp, S.P., Chiu, M., Kuo, M., Sun, Y. 4/09/2017 In: Ibis. 6 p.
Journal article

Increased food availability raises eviction rate in a cooperative breeding mammal
Dubuc, C., English, S., Thavarajah, N., Dantzer, B., Sharp, S.P., Spence-Jones, H.C., Gaynor, D., Clutton-Brock, T.H. 12/04/2017 In: Biology Letters. 13, 4, 5 p.
Journal article

Dominance, not kinship, determines individual position within the communal roosts of a cooperatively breeding bird
Napper, C.J., Sharp, S., McGowan, A., Simeoni, M., Hatchwell, B.J. 12/2013 In: Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology. 67, 12, p. 2029-2039. 11 p.
Journal article

Maternal investment during pregnancy in wild meerkats
Sharp, S., English, S., Clutton-Brock, T.H. 09/2013 In: Evolutionary Ecology. 27, 5, p. 1033-1044. 12 p.
Journal article

Mating strategies in dominant meerkats: evidence for extra-pair paternity in relation to genetic relatedness between pair mates
Leclaire, S., Nielsen, J.F., Sharp, S., Clutton-Brock, T.H. 07/2013 In: Journal of Evolutionary Biology. 26, 7, p. 1499-1507. 9 p.
Journal article

Ecological and demographic correlates of helping behaviour in a cooperatively breeding bird
Hatchwell, B.J., Sharp, S.P., Beckerman, A.P., Meade, J. 03/2013 In: Journal of Animal Ecology. 82, 2, p. 486-494. 9 p.
Journal article

Colonisation of urban environments is associated with reduced migratory behaviour, facilitating divergence from ancestral populations
Evans, K.L., Newton, J., Gaston, K.J., Sharp, S.P., McGowan, A., Hatchwell, B.J. 04/2012 In: Oikos. 121, 4, p. 634-640. 7 p.
Journal article

Competition, breeding success and ageing rates in female meerkats
Sharp, S.P., Clutton-Brock, T.H. 08/2011 In: Journal of Evolutionary Biology. 24, 8, p. 1756-1762. 7 p.
Journal article

Patterns of recruitment, relatedness and cooperative breeding in two populations of long-tailed tits
Sharp, S.P., Simeoni, M., McGowan, A., Nam, K., Hatchwell, B.J. 04/2011 In: Animal Behaviour. 81, 4, p. 843-849. 7 p.
Journal article

Predation and kin-structured populations: an empirical perspective on the evolution of cooperation
Beckerman, A.P., Sharp, S.P., Hatchwell, B.J. 2011 In: Behavioral Ecology. 22, 6, p. 1294-1303. 10 p.
Journal article

Reluctant challengers: why do subordinate female meerkats rarely displace their dominant mothers?
Sharp, S.P., Clutton-Brock, T.H. 2011 In: Behavioral Ecology. 22, 6, p. 1337-1343. 7 p.
Journal article

Kinship affects investment by helpers in a cooperatively breeding bird
Nam, K., Simeoni, M., Sharp, S.P., Hatchwell, B.J. 7/11/2010 In: Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. 277, 1698, p. 3299-3306. 8 p.
Journal article

Reproductive senescence in a cooperatively breeding mammal
Sharp, S.P., Clutton-Brock, T.H. 01/2010 In: Journal of Animal Ecology. 79, 1, p. 176-183. 8 p.
Journal article

Predominantly northward dispersal of Grey Herons Ardea cinerea from a heronry in Greater Manchester, UK
Christmas, S.E., Halton, W.J., Brides, K., Sharp, S. 2010 In: Ringing and Migration. 25, p. 52-55. 4 p.
Journal article

Independent colonization of multiple urban centres by a formerly forest specialist bird species
Evans, K.L., Gaston, K.J., Frantz, A.C., Simeoni, M., Sharp, S.P., McGowan, A., Dawson, D.A., Walasz, K., Partecke, J., Burke, T., Hatchwell, B.J. 7/07/2009 In: Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. 276, 1666, p. 2403-2410. 8 p.
Journal article

Effects of urbanisation on disease prevalence and age structure in blackbird Turdus merula populations
Evans, K.L., Gaston, K.J., Sharp, S.P., McGowan, A., Simeoni, M., Hatchwell, B.J. 05/2009 In: Oikos. 118, 5, p. 774-782. 9 p.
Journal article

Factors influencing overnight loss of body mass in the communal roosts of a social bird
Hatchwell, B.J., Sharp, S.P., Simeoni, M., McGowan, A. 04/2009 In: Functional Ecology. 23, 2, p. 367-372. 6 p.
Journal article

The effect of urbanisation on avian morphology and latitudinal gradients in body size
Evans, K.L., Gaston, K.J., Sharp, S.P., McGowan, A., Hatchwell, B.J. 02/2009 In: Oikos. 118, 2, p. 251-259. 9 p.
Journal article

Bird ringing as a tool for behavioural studies
Sharp, S. 2009 In: Ringing and Migration. 24, p. 213-219. 7 p.
Journal article

Dispersal of sibling coalitions promotes helping among immigrants in a cooperatively breeding bird
Sharp, S.P., Simeoni, M., Hatchwell, B.J. 22/09/2008 In: Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. 275, 1647, p. 2125-2130. 6 p.
Journal article

Natal dispersal and recruitment in a cooperatively breeding bird
Sharp, S.P., Baker, M.B., Hadfield, J.D., Simeoni, M., Hatchwell, B.J. 09/2008 In: Oikos. 117, 9, p. 1371-1379. 9 p.
Journal article

Competing for position in the communal roosts of long-tailed tits
McGowan, A., Sharp, S.P., Simeoni, M., Hatchwell, B.J. 11/2006 In: Animal Behaviour. 72, 5, p. 1035-1043. 9 p.
Journal article

Development of family specific contact calls in the Long-tailed Tit Aegithalos caudatus
Sharp, S.P., Hatchwell, B.J. 10/2006 In: Ibis. 148, 4, p. 649-656. 8 p.
Journal article

Kin selection, constraints, and the evolution of cooperative breeding in long-tailed tits
Hatchwell, B.J., Sharp, S.P. 2006 In: Advances in the Study of Behavior. 36, p. 355-395. 41 p.
Journal article

Learned kin recognition cues in a social bird
Sharp, S., McGowan, A., Wood, M.J., Hatchwell, B.J. 28/04/2005 In: Nature. 434, 7037, p. 1127-1130. 4 p.
Journal article

Individuality in the contact calls of cooperatively breeding long-tailed tits (Aegithalos caudatus)
Sharp, S., Hatchwell, B. 2005 In: Behaviour. 142, 11-12, p. 1559-1575. 17 p.
Journal article

The structure and function of nests of Long-Tailed Tits Aegithalos caudatus
McGowan, A., Sharp, S., Hatchwell, B. 08/2004 In: Functional Ecology. 18, 4, p. 578-583. 6 p.
Journal article