Postdoctoral Fellows

Dr Chima Nwaogu

Dr Chima Nwaogu
PhD (Groningen & St Andrews)

John Day Building: 1.02


Twitter: @ChimaobimNwaogu


Chima completed his undergraduate degree in zoology and a master’s degree in Conservation Biology in Nigeria at the University of Jos. For his master’s thesis at the A.P. Leventis Ornithological Research Institute (APLORI), he used bird ringing data collected at the APLORI to investigate trends in body mass of birds over a decade of habitat management. With a keen interest in ecology and evolution and thus, the need to develop laboratory skills, Chima participated in a molecular ecology and evolution course at the Molecular Ecology and Evolution Laboratory in Lund University in Sweden as visiting student for three months between January and April 2013. He returned to APLORI afterwards as a research associate until 2014 when he started a jointly funded and supervised PhD position at the Universities of Groningen, the Netherlands and St. Andrews, UK. As a research associate at APLORI, Chima was involved with Constant Effort Site (CES) bird ringing and tutoring of students and interns on aspects of field ornithology and statistics. He was also involved with monitoring a Rosy Bee-eater breeding colony on the river Niger - the only known extant breeding colony of the species north of the equator.

Chima's PhD thesis was entitled “avian life in a seasonally arid tropical environment: adaptations and mechanisms in breeding moult and immune function” which was jointly supervised by Professors Irene Tieleman and Will Cresswell at the Universities of Groningen (Netherlands) and St. Andrews (UK), respectively. His study investigated how spatio-temporal variation in environmental conditions and diet affect innate immune function and other life history traits in Common Bulbuls Pycnonotus Barbatus in Nigeria. Broadly, he found that in an environment where annual cycle stages are decoupled from seasonal environmental conditions, variation in innate immune function was better explain by environmental conditions than by the occurrence of annual cycle stages which are supposedly linked to variation in energy expenditure. He also found that the timing of moult in the Common Bulbul is strongly linked to rainfall but independent of variation in the timing of breeding – a finding that may apply to other species but may not visible if breeding is seasonal. 

He has been based at the Fitzpatrick Institute of African Ornithology in Cape Town, South Africa since April 2019 for a postdoctoral fellowship, where he is investigating how urbanization, weather patterns and plumage colour polymorphism relate to differences in breeding performance and physiological responses in the Black Sparrowhawk Accipiter melanoleucus.

Peer-reviewed publications

Nwaogu, C.J. and Cresswell, W. (2020) Local timing of rainfall predicts the timing of moult within a single locality and the progress of moult among localities that vary in the onset of the wet season in a year-round breeding tropical songbird. Journal of Ornithology. 

Nwaogu, C.J.; Tieleman, B.I. and Cresswell, W. (2020) Geographic variation in baseline innate immune function does not follow variation in aridity along a tropical environmental gradient – Scientific Reports 10, 5909.

Nwaogu, C.J., Galema, A.; Dietz, M.W.; Cresswell, W. and Tieleman, B.I. (2020) A fruit diet rather than an invertebrate diet maintains a robust innate immunity without a deterioration of body condition – Journal of Animal Ecology 89: 867-883

Nwaogu, C.J., Cresswell, W., Versteegh, M.A. and Tieleman, B.I. (2018) Environment explains seasonal differences in baseline innate immune function better than annual cycle stages in a natural tropical songbird population - Journal of Animal Ecology 88: 537–553.

Nwaogu, C.J., Tieleman, B.I., Bitrus K.Z. and Cresswell, W. (2018) Temperature and aridity determine body size conformity to Bergmann’s rule independent of latitudinal differences in a tropical environment - Journal of Ornithology 159: 1053–1062.

Nwaogu, C.J., Tieleman, B.I. and Cresswell, W (2018) Weak breeding seasonality of a songbird in a seasonally arid tropical environment arises from individual flexibility and strongly seasonal moult – Ibis.

Nwaogu C.J. and Ivande S. T. (2017). Greater Honeyguide Indicator indicator brood parasitismand presence of a developmental bill hook in the Rosy Bee-eater Merops malimbicus - Bulletin of African Bird Club 24(2): 204-208.

Nwaogu C.J., Agbo B.O., Bitrus K.Z.., Ottosson U. and Manu S. A. (2017) Status of the Rosy Bee-eater Merops malimbicus on the Niger River, north-central Nigeria - Bulletin of African Bird Club 24(2): 171-181.

Nwaogu, C.J., Dietz, M.W., Tieleman, B.I. and Cresswell, W (2017) Breeding limits foraging time: evidence of interrupted foraging response from body mass variation in a tropical environment - Journal of Avian Biology 48: 565 – 569.

Nwaogu, C.J. and Cresswell, W. (2016) Body reserves in intra-African migrants - Journal of Ornithology 157: 125–135.