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Dr Gabrielle Davidson

Dr Gabrielle Davidson

Post-Doctoral Research Associate, Department of Psychology & Zoology Sub-Department of Animal Behaviour.

Sub Dept Animal Behaviour,
High Street,
Cambridgeshire, UK
CB23 8AA

Office Phone: +44 (0)1223 (7)47317

Research Interests

Gaze Sensitivity

My research focuses on corvids (crows, jackdaws, rooks) and their interactions with their partner, other group members, predators and humans. I am particularly interested in how corvids respond to other individual’s gaze direction (i.e. where others are looking) and how this affects decisions about nesting locations, predator escape and foraging opportunities.  I study captive corvids as part of the Comparative Cognition Lab (PI Professor Nicky Clayton) and wild corvids as part of the Cambridge Jackdaw Project in Madingley village (PI Dr. Alex Thornton). I am also interested in the evolution of morphological traits across the avian lineage as a whole, and am currently using phylogenetic comparative methods to investigate why some bird species have brightly coloured eyes. 

Phenotype-Genotype relationships

I am also interested in how variations in phenotypes can be explained by variations in genotypes. In collaboration with clinicians at the Institute of Neurology, UCL, we matched genetic mutations with behavioural and physiological phenotypes associated with hereditary neuropathies such as Charcot-Marie Tooth Disease. 


  • behaviour
  • cognition
  • genetics
  • comparative cognition in animals

Key Publications

Davidson, GL, Clayton, NS, Thornton, A. (2014) Salient eyes deter conspecific nest intruders in wild jackdaws (Corvus monedula). Biology Letters. 10:1-4.

Davidson, GL, Butler, S, Fernández-Juricic, E, Thornton, A, Clayton, NS. (2013). Gaze sensitivity: function and mechanisms from sensory and cognitive perspectives. Animal Behaviour. 87:3-15.

Davidson, GL, Murphy, SM, Polke, JM, Laura, M, Salih, MAM, Muntoni, F, Blake, J, Brandner, S, Davies, N,  Horvath, R, Price, S, Donaghy, M, Roberts, M, Foulds, N, Ramdharry, G, Soler, D, Lunn, M P, Manji, H, Davis, MB, Houlden, H, Reilly, MM. (2012) Genetic mutation frequency and clinical phenotypes in hereditary sensory and autonomic neuropathies. Journal of Neurology. 259(8):1673-85.

Murphy, SM, Davidson, GL, Bradner, S,Houlden, H, Reilly, MM. (2012) Mutation in FAM134B causing severe hereditary sensory and autonomic neuropathy. Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry. 83(1):119-20. 

Rossor AM, Davidson GL, Blake J, Polke JM, Murphy SM, Houlden H, Innes A, Kalmar B, Greensmith L, Reilly MM. (2012). A novel p.Glu175X premature stop mutation in the C-terminal end of HSP27 is a cause of CMT2. Journal of the Peripheral Nervous System. 17(2):201-5.

Murphy SM, Laura M, Fawcett K, Pandraud A, Liu YT, Davidson GL, Rossor AM, Polke JM, Castleman V, Manji H, Lunn MP, Bull K, Ramdharry G, Davis M, Blake JC, Houlden H, Reilly MM. (2012) Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease: frequency of genetic subtypes and guidelines for genetic testing. Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry. 83:706-710.

Davidson, GL, Murphy, S, Polke, J, Davis, M, Brandner, S, Reilly, M. Houlden, H, collaborators of the MRC Centre for Neuromuscular Diseases (2010) Genes for hereditary sensory and autonomic neuropathies: frequency in a UK series and genotype-phenotype correlations. Neuromuscular Disorders. Vol 20: Supplement 1, S22. 

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