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Professor Nicola Marples

Professor (Zoology)

After reading Zoology in Somerville College, Oxford I went to the University of Wales, Cardiff to do a PhD on "Insect Colour Patterns and Avian Learning" with Prof Paul Brakefield and Dr. Richard Cowie. On completion of the thesis I went to work in the University of Leiden on a Royal Society Post-Doctoral Fellowship, studying the genetic basis for bird foraging decisions. My second post doctoral position was in the University of Sussex, funded by the AFRC investigating "Factors affecting acquisition and recall of information about food palatability in birds." This work was completed in 1996 whereupon I came to TCD as a temporary lecturer in Zoology and secured a permanent position in 2001. I was made a Fellow if the college in 2006 and a Senior lecturer in 2007.
  Animal Behaviour   Animal Health, Welfare   Aposematism   Avian Predation   Badger   Behaviour   Biodiversity and Conservation   Chicks   Conservation and wildlife biology   Diet   Ecology   Environmental Enrichment   Evolution   Food   Food Novelty   Mimicry   Neophobia   Prey   Reproduction   Selection   Zoo Biology
 Avian foraging and evolution of insects
 Ecology and behaviour of badgers
 Enrichment of zoo animal behaviour
 Avian biogeography in Indonesia

Details Date
Member of the Zoo Research Committee of the Zoo Federation of UK and Ireland. 2004- present
Chairman of the Education Sub-Committee of ASAB 2006 - 2008
Member of the Research and Conservation Committee of Dublin, Fota and Belfast Zoos 2005 - present
Invited Research Supervisor to Operation Wallacea 2001 - present
Scientific advisor to Operation Wallacea, (conservation in Sulawesi) 2000 onwards
Referee for international journals including Animal Behaviour; Behavioural Ecology, Science, Behaviour, Evolution, and Proceedings of the Royal Society B.
External referee for PhD Thesis in Bristol, Leeds, and Anglia Ruskin Universities, and MSc thesis in Southampton.
Advisor to 2001 winner of Young Scientist of the Year, senior section.
Member at large of the Fellows Standing Committee
Language Skill Reading Skill Writing Skill Speaking
Dutch Medium Basic Medium
English Fluent Fluent Fluent
French Medium Medium Basic
German Medium Basic Basic
Indonesian Basic Basic Basic
Details Date From Date To
Operation Wallacea 1999 present
Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour 1980 present
British Trust for Ornithology 1995 present
Earthwatch 2001 2002
British and Irish Association for Zoos and Aquaria 1996 present
Fionn Ó Marcaigh, Darren P. O'Connell, Kangkuso Analuddin, Adi Karya, Naomi Lawless, Caroline M. McKeon, Niamh Doyle, Nicola M. Marples, David J. Kelly, Tramps in transition: genetic differentiation between populations of an iconic "supertramp" taxon in the Central Indo-Pacific, Frontiers of Biogeography, 14, (2), 2022, pe54512 , Journal Article, PUBLISHED  TARA - Full Text  DOI  URL
Ó Marcaigh, F., Kelly, D.J., O'Connell, D.P., Dunleavy, D., Clark, A., Lawless, N., Karya, A., Analuddin, K., Marples, N.M. , Evolution in the understorey: the Sulawesi babbler Pellorneum celebense (Passeriformes: Pellorneidae) has diverged rapidly on land-bridge islands in the Wallacean biodiversity hotspot., Zoologischer Anzeiger , 293, 2021, p314 - 325, Journal Article, PUBLISHED  DOI
Fionn Ó Marcaigh; David J. Kelly; Kangkuso Analuddin; Adi Karya; Naomi Lawless; Nicola M. Marples, Cryptic sexual dimorphism reveals differing selection pressures on continental islands., Biotropica, (53), 2021, p121 - 129, Journal Article, PUBLISHED  DOI
O'Connell D.P., Martin T.E, Kelly D.J., Marples N.M., Analuddin K., Karya A. , Threats to an undescribed songbird species in Indonesia, Oryx, (55), 2021, p9 - 11, Journal Article, PUBLISHED  DOI
O'Connell DP, Kelly DJ, Analuddin K, Karya A, Marples NM, Martin TE, Adapt taxonomy to conservation goals., Science, (369(6508)), 2020, p1172 - 1172, Journal Article, PUBLISHED  DOI
Kelly D.J., Gaughran A., Mullen E., MacWhite T., Maher P., Good M., Marples N.M. , Extra Territorial Excursions by European badgers are not limited by age, sex or season. , Scientific Reports , 10, 2020, p1 - 12, Journal Article, PUBLISHED  URL
O'Connell DP, Kelly DJ, Kelly SBA, Analuddin K, Karya A, Marples NM, Rheindt FE & Martin TE , An assessment of the avifauna of the Wakatobi Islands, South-east Sulawesi, Indonesia: species recorded and taxonomic considerations. , Raffles Bulletin of Zoology, 68, 2020, p574 - 587, Journal Article, PUBLISHED  URL
O'Connell DP, Kelly DJ, Lawless N, Karya A, Analuddin K & Marples NM , Diversification of a 'great speciator' in the Wallacea region: differing responses by closely related resident and migratory kingfisher species (Aves: Alcedinidae: Todiramphus), Ibis, 2019, Journal Article, PUBLISHED  DOI
O'Connell D, Kelly DJ, Kelly SBA, Sealy S, Karya A, Analuddin K and Marples NM., Increased sexual dimorphism in dense populations of Olive-backed Sunbirds on small islands: morphological niche contraction in females but not males., Emu - Austral Ornithology, 2019, Journal Article, PUBLISHED  DOI  URL
O'Connell, D. & Ó Marcaigh, F. & O'Neill, A. & Karya, A. & Analuddin, K. & Kelly, D & Marples, N.M. , The avifauna of Muna and Wawonii Islands, with additional records from mainland South-east Sulawesi, Indonesia., Forktail, 35, 2019, p50 - 56, Journal Article, PUBLISHED

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David J. Kelly, Aoibheann Gaughran, Enda Mullen, Teresa MacWhite, Peter Maher, Margaret Good and Nicola M. Marples, ETE frequencies dataset, pre-publication upload, the authors, 2019, Notes: [an experiment to learn how the RSS works], Dataset, PRESENTED
David J. Kelly, Aoibheann Gaughran, Enda Mullen, Teresa MacWhite, Peter Maher, Margaret Good and Nicola M. Marples, ETE distances dataset, pre-publication upload, the authors, 2019, Notes: [a trial upload to RSS to check the protocols], Dataset, SUBMITTED
Wride M.A., Jones M., Marples M.M., Mitchell F, The light of life: can you believe your eyes?, Lightwave: ready to be illuminated?, Science Gallery, TCD, Feb 5, 2008, Science Gallery, TCD, Invited Talk, PUBLISHED
Thomas, R. J., Marples, N. M. & Kelly, D. J, Can dietary conservatism aid the evolution of aposematism?, 10th Congress of the European Society for Evolutionary Biology, Krakow, Poland., 15th-20th Aug. 2005., 2005, Conference Paper, PUBLISHED
Marples, N. M., Kelly, D. J. & Thomas, R. J., The paradox of aposematism., ASAB Summer Conference, Lancaster, 19th-21st July 2005., 2005, Conference Paper, PUBLISHED


Award Date
TCD Provost's Teaching Award 2002
Fellow of Trinity College Dublin 2006
My research interests are divided into four main themes each with a number of aspects currently under active research: 1)Avian Predatory Behaviour: Understanding of predator-prey systems particularly as they relate to avian predation on insects. ·Responses of birds to novel colour and odour cues in their prey. ·The effects of prey aggregation on learning and memory in birds. ·The stages involved in the recruitment of new prey into a birds' diet. ·Mimicry systems and their effects on predation pressures. ·The evolution of aposematic colour patterns. 2)Zoo Research: Behavioural studies leading to the effective management of captive animals in zoos. Current topics include: ·Effects of environmental enrichment on the behaviour of birds. ·Identification and alleviation of detrimental effects which visitors have on zoo animals 3) Feeding ecology and reproductive biology of badgers in Ireland. 4)I have a great interest and increasing opportunity to study bird populations in relation to biogeography and conservation in the tropical rainforests and islands of Sulawesi.