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About Us Staff McDonald Grant C.

McDonald Grant C.


Dr. Grant C. McDonald

PhD (Oxon)
Department of Zoology
Position: associate professor
Institute for Biology
Position: associate professor
+361 478 4100
Rottenbiller street ground-floor, office 22


Grant C. McDonald is an evolutionary ecologists studying how the social organisation of animal societies governs male and female reproductive strategies. He obtained his PhD from the University of Oxford where he studied how variation in social and sexual networks impact on patterns of sexual selection and sexual conflict. His current research explores the impact of social behaviour and ecological variation on the evolution of mating systems and parental care in shorebirds.



  • Sexual Selection
  • Sexual Conflict
  • Mating System Evolution
  • Sociality
  • Sexual and Social Networks



2020-Present    Independent Research Fellow, OTKA Young Researcher Excellence Program, Dept of Ecology, University of Veterinary Medicine Budapest


2019-2020       Postdoctoral Research Assistant, Dept of Ecology, University of Veterinary Medicine Budapest

2017- 2019       Stipendiary lecturer, Keble College, University of Oxford

2016- 2017       Stipendiary lecturer, St. Catherine’s College, University of Oxford

2014-2019       Postdoctoral Research Assistant, Dept of Zoology, University of Oxford

2010-2015       University of Oxford, Doctor of Philosophy in Zoology

2008-2009       Imperial College London, Master of Science in Ecology, Evolution & Conservation

2002-2006       University of Glasgow, Bachelor of Science in Zoology with Honours,

Full publication list: googlescholar mtmt

Selected papers:

*(joint first author)

  1. McDonald*, G.C., Á. Bede-Fazekas*, A. Ivanov, L. Crecco, T. Székely and A. Kosztolányi (2022) Landscape and climatic predictors of Kentish plover (Charadrius alexandrinus) distributions throughout Kazakhstan. IBIS.
  2. Roth, A.M., N. Dingemanse, S. Nakagawa, G.C. McDonald, H. Løvlie, D. Robledo-Ruiz, and T. Pizzari (2021) Sexual selection and personality: individual and group-level effects on mating behaviour in red junglefowl. J. Anim. Ecol. 90:1288-1306.
  3. Carleial*, R., G.C. McDonald*, L.G. Spurgin, E.A. Fairfield, Y. Wang, D.S. Richardson and T. Pizzari (2020) Temporal dynamics of competitive fertilisation in social groups of red junglefowl (Gallus gallus) shed new light on avian sperm competition. Philos. Trans. R. Soc. B Biol. Sci. 375:20200081.
  4. Halimubieke, N., K. Kupán, J.O. Valdebenito, […] G.C. McDonald, Y. Liu, A. Kosztolányi and T. Székely (2020) Successful breeding predicts divorce in plovers. Sci. Rep. 10:15576.
  5. McDonald, G.C., N. Engel, S.S. Ratão, T. Székely and A. Kosztolányi (2020) The impact of social structure on breeding strategies in an island bird. Rep. 10:1387210.
  6. McDonald, G.C., L.G. Spurgin, E.A. Fairfield, D.S. Richardson and T. Pizzari (2019) Differential female sociality is linked with the fine-scale structure of sexual interactions in replicate groups of red junglefowl, Gallus gallus. R. Soc. B Biol. Sci. 286:20191734.
  7. Carleial*, R., G.C. McDonald* and T. Pizzari (2019) Dynamic phenotypic correlates of social status and mating effort in male and female red junglefowl, Gallus gallus. J. Evol. Biol. 33:22-40.
  8. Alvarez-Fernandez*, A., K. Borziak*G.C. McDonald, S. Dorus and T. Pizzari (2019) Female novelty and male status dynamically modulate ejaculate expenditure and seminal fluid proteome over successive matings in red junglefowl. Sci. Rep. 9:5852.
  9. McDonald, G.C., A. Gardner and T. Pizzari (2019) Sexual selection in complex communities: integrating interspecific reproductive interference in structured populations. 73:1025-1036.
  10. Pizzari, T. and G.C. McDonald (2019) Sexual selection in socially-structured, polyandrous populations: some insights from the fowl. Adv. Study Behav. 51:77-141.
  11. Morimoto, J., G.C. McDonald, E. Smith, D. Smith, J. Perry, T. Chapman, T. Pizzari and S. Wigby (2019) Sex peptide receptor-regulated polyandry modulates the balance of pre- and post-copulatory sexual selection in Drosophila. Nat. Commun. 10:283.
  12. McDonald, G.C. and T. Pizzari (2018) Structure of sexual networks determines the operation of sexual selection. Natl Acad. Sci. U. S. A. 115:E53-E61.
  13. McDonald, G.C., D.R. Farine, K.R. Foster and J.M. Biernaskie (2017) Assortment and the analysis of natural selection on social traits. 71:2693–2702.
  14. McDonald, G.C., L.G. Spurgin, E.A. Fairfield, D.R. Richardson and T. Pizzari (2017) Pre- and postcopulatory sexual selection favour aggressive, young males in polyandrous groups of red junglefowl. 71:1653–1669.
  15. Miller, C.W., G.C. McDonald, and A.J. Moore (2016) The tale of the shrinking weapon: seasonal changes in nutrition affect weapon size and sexual dimorphism, but not contemporary evolution. J. Evol. Biol. 29:2266–2275.
  16. McDonald, G.C. and T. Pizzari (2016) 162. Sexual networks. Encyclopedia of Evolutionary Biology.
  17. McDonald, G.C. and T. Pizzari (2016) Why patterns of assortative mating are key to study sexual selection and how to measure them. Ecol. Sociobiol. 70:209–220.
  18. McDonald, G.C. and T. Pizzari (2015) Mating behaviour: sexual networks and sexual selection. Pp. 24–37 in Animal social networks: Perspectives and challenges. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
  19. McDonald, G.C., R. James, J. Krause and T. Pizzari (2013) Sexual networks: measuring sexual selection in structured, polyandrous populations. Trans. R. Soc. B Biol. Sci. 368:20120356.