David Wells


In my research I try to understand the breeding ecology of species. Breeding ecology can affect how we view a species, their behaviour and morphology as well as the vulnerability of a population. The use of genetics in this field has show that everything is not as it seems. The genetic revolution enabled studies which showed that many socially monogamous birds have multiple mates.

In my PhD I am researching inbreeding in banded mongooses (Mungos Mungo). There is an unusually high level of inbreeding in banded mongooses but it is not ubiquitous. I am hoping to explain why some individuals mate within their natal group and some do not. Interestingly, inbreeding in this species may be important for group cohesion. Inbreeding might increase the relatedness within a group and lead to an increase in altruism.

Previous Research and Other Interests

For my masters at the University of Cambridge I investigated grey seals (Halichoerus grypus). I attempted to unravel the breeding structure on two Scottish islands. I also compared the effect of heterozygosity on fitness between different demographic histories.

When I can get to the sea, I love surfing and SCUBA diving.


Dr Joe Hoffman, University of Bielefeld
Hazel Nichols, Liverpool John Moores University, UK
Bill Amos, University of Cambridge, UK
Mike Cant, University of Exeter, UK

  • 2016–Present: PhD Student – University of Bielefeld & Liverpool John Moores University
  • 2014–2015: MPhil in Zoology, University of Cambridge
  • 2010–2013: BA in Biological Sciences, University of Oxford

Contact Details

Department of Animal Behaviour
Bielefeld University
Postfach 100131
33501 Bielefeld

email: david.arthur.wells[at]gmail.com