University of New England
Research Field: Animal Behaviour
Dr McDonald’s research seeks to understand both how and why animals cooperate. if we can understand what factors shape (or prevent) sociality, we gain an insight into the societies of these animals. He uses Noisy and Bell Miners as an ideal model species for his research: these birds live in complex societies similar to those of humans, but are far easier to access. Further benefits of this research include real conservation outcomes, as these aggressive birds exclude other species from forested areas and reduce vegetation health.
Paul takes advantage of the public’s interest in birds to engage with them about his research into animal behaviour. He is curator of the Zoology Museum at UNE managing visits from school groups and private visitors. He has also regularly prepared articles for the media, both newspaper and radio, as well as presenting to groups from Birdlife Australia and the Victorian Ornithological Research Group.