Grabowska-Zhang Ada


Lecturer in Biological Sciences, Brasenose College 
Departmental Lecturer in Environmental Sciences, Department for Continuing Education


BA(Oxon), DPhil(Oxon), AFHEA, PGC THE

Academic Background and Previous Positions

I completed my DPhil in behavioural ecology at the department of Zoology, Oxford, in 2012. During this time I researched the fitness consequences of social behaviour in the great tit (Parus major). I subsequently worked as a post-doctoral researcher in ethnobiology and became a Departmental Lecturer in Environmental Sciences at the Department for Continuing Education in 2018. I am also Senior Lecturer in Environmental Sciences at Brunel University London.

Undergraduate Teaching Areas

Animal Behaviour, Evolution, Social Evolution, Animal Cognition, Statistics, Field Research Techniques

Graduate Teaching Areas

Statistics, Ecological Surveying Techniques

Research Interests

I have broad research interests ranging from evolutionary ecology to conservation and society, all revolving around birds. For my doctorate I studied social evolutionary processes in a common British bird, the great tit. My post-doctoral research involved linking bird conservation to culturally-relevant knowledge of birds in traditional communities. The project involved creating an open platform for sharing cultural knowledge of birds. My current research interests lie within the area of citizen science, urban ecology and conservation.

Selected Publications

Tobias, J.A., Sheard, C., Pigot, A.L., Devenish, A.J.M., Yang, J., Sayol, F., et al. (2022) AVONET: morphological, ecological and geographical data for all birds. Ecology Letters, 25, 581– 597.

Pirzio Biroli, A., Van Doren, B. and AM Grabowska-Zhang (2020). "Drivers of avian species richness and community structure in urban courtyard gardens." Journal of Urban Ecology 6(1)

Gardner E, Hesselberg T, Grabowska-Zhang AM and J Hughes (2019) The effect of woodland area on avian community composition in a fragmented southern UK landscape and associated management recommendations. Bird Study 66(3): 293-305.

Grabowska-Zhang AM, Hinde CA, Garroway C and BC Sheldon. (2016) Wherever I may roam: social viscosity and kin affiliation in a wild population despite natal dispersal. Behavioral Ecology 27(4): 1263-1268

Wyndham FS, Grabowska-Zhang AM, Gosler AG, Park KE, Fanshawe J, Nathan D, Fletcher H and J Del Hoyo (2015) The ethno-ornithology world archive (EWA): an open science archive for biocultural conservation. Chilean Journal of Ornithology vol. 21(2)

Grabowska-Zhang AM, Sheldon BC and CA Hinde (2012) Long-term familiarity promotes joining in neighbour nest defence. Biol Lett 8, 544-546.

Grabowska-Zhang AM, Wilkin TA, Sheldon BC (2012) Effects of neighbor familiarity on reproductive success in the great tit (Parus major). Behav Ecol 23(2), 322-333.


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