Ines Geraldine Moran

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Doctoral Candidate - Doctor of Philosophy


I am a Ph.D researcher at the University of Auckland, working on avian bioacoustics and vocal ecology.

In 2017, I received my M.Sc from the University of Windsor, Canada. My Master's research focused on the vocal communication of Savannah Sparrows, Passerculus sandwichensis. I investigated the aggressive escalation interactions and seasonal vocal variation of Savannah Sparrows songs. I worked on a relatively unstudied signal, low-amplitude songs also known as soft songs, and on models of signal escalation. During my Master's, I was also involved in research led by Dr. Mennill that aimed to elucidate the mechanisms of social song learning in birds.

In 2015, I received my B.Sc from the University of British Columbia where I conducted undergraduate research  in the Jankowski Lab, at the University of British Columbia, using song recordings from Orange-billed Nightingale thrushes, Catharus aurantiirostris, from Costa Rica to determine whether individuals are capable of song matching. 

  • 2018-2021 Ph.D. Candidate, University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand
  • 2017-2018 Acoustic Technician for the British Columbia Conservation Foundation with assignments for the Ministry of Forests, Lands & Natural Resource Operations, British Columbia, Canada
  • 2017 M.Sc., University of Windsor, Windsor, Canada
  • 2015-2017 Graduate Assistant in Ornithology and Speciation, University of Windsor, Canada
  • 2015-2017 Founder of the Avian Taxidermy Club, University of Windsor, Canada
  • 2015 Bioacoustic Research Assistant for the Sound Analysis Lab, Kent Island, New Brunswick, Canada
  • 2015 B.Sc, Major in Biology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada
  • 2013-2014 Curational Museum Assistant, Beaty Biodiversity Museum, Vancouver, Canada
  • 2011 A.S., Science diploma from Langara College, Vancouver, Canada
  • 2010-2014 Science Teacher in Preschools and French Teacher in Language schools, Vancouver, Canada

Research | Current

My research investigates dialects, vocal networks, and vocal learning in avian kinship groups. More particularly, my research focuses on a native bird of New Zealand, the Titipounamu, also know as the Rifleman (Acanthisitta chloris). The titipounamu is of particular interest to researchers in the field of animal vocal communication as it shares a common ancestor with parrots and oscine birds- groups of birds known to learn their vocalizations. My research aims to investigate the vocal learning abilities of the titipounamu.


  1. Organization for Tropical studies Fellowship, 2020
  2. Birds NZ Research Funds, 2019-2020
  3. University of Auckland Doctoral Scholarship (UoADS), 2018-2021
  4. Animal Behaviour Society Research Award, 2017
  5. Department of Biology Chris Wysiekierski Memorial Scholarship, 2017
  6. Faculty of Science Impact Award, 2017
  7. American Ornithological Union Travel Award, 2016
  8. B.Sc with distinctions, 2015
  9. Nature Vancouver Scholarship, 2015

Areas of expertise

  • Animal Behaviour
  • Animal Communication
  • Evolution of Vocal Learning
  • Acoustic analysis
  • Wildlife ecology
  • Ornithology

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

As of 29 October 2020 there will be no automatic updating of 'selected publications and creative works' from Research Outputs. Please continue to keep your Research Outputs profile up to date.
  • Mennill, D. J., Doucet, S. M., Newman, A. E. M., Williams, H., Moran, I. G., Thomas, I. P., ... Norris, D. R. (2019). Eavesdropping on adult vocal interactions does not enhance juvenile song learning: an experiment with wild songbirds. Animal Behaviour, 155, 67-75. 10.1016/j.anbehav.2019.05.019
  • Moran, I. G., Loo, Y. Y., & Cain, K. E. (2019). Long-tailed cuckoo (Eudynamys taitensis) predation on rifleman (Acanthisitta chloris) nestlings. Notornis, 66 (2), 103-107. Related URL.
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Yen Yi Loo, Kristal Cain
  • Moran, I. G., Lukianchuk, K. C., Doucet, S. M., Newman, A. E. M., Williams, H., Norris, D. R., & Mennill, D. J. (2019). Diel and seasonal patterns of variation in the singing behaviour of Savannah Sparrows (Passerculus sandwichensis). Avian Research, 10 (26)10.1186/s40657-019-0165-6
  • Mennill, D. J., Doucet, S. M., Newman, A. E. M., Williams, H., Moran, I. G., Thomas, I. P., ... Mennill, D. J. (2018). Wild Birds Learn Songs from Experimental Vocal Tutors. Current Biology, 28 (20), 3273-3278. 10.1016/j.cub.2018.08.011
  • Moran, I. G., Doucet, S. M., Newman, A. E. M., Norris, D. R., & Mennill, D. J. (2018). Quiet violence: Savannah Sparrows respond to playback‐simulated rivals using low‐amplitude songs as aggressive signals. Ethology, 124 (10), 724-732. 10.1111/eth.12805

Contact details

Primary office location

COMMERCE A - Bldg 114
Level G, Room G02
New Zealand