College Research Associate, (Ph.D. 2022 University of Cape Town) Newton International Fellow, Department of Earth Sciences
Research interestsDr Carla du Toit completed her PhD in Biological Sciences at the FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology in the University of Cape Town, South Africa. Carla is interested in the sensory ecology of birds, particularly their sense of touch using their beaks, and how we can combine methodological approaches to determine how living birds perceive the world around them and find food. Furthermore, she uses comparative methods to examine the morphology of the beaks of extinct birds from fossils to answer questions about their palaeoecology and the evolutionary trends of some of the earliest known crown birds. Her previous work has shown that the ancestors of the group of birds containing ostriches and emu possessed specialised organs in their beaks which enabled them to remotely detect vibrations in the ground, enabling them to locate invisible buried prey at a distance from their beaks. She holds a Newton International Fellowship from The Royal Society, and is based in the Earth Sciences Department at the University of Cambridge. Her current research project is focused primarily on seabirds, waterfowl and waders, though she is also looking at various specialisations in the beaks of birds across the entire phylogeny of modern birds.