About Me

My research group (www.SHOALgroup.org) uses a question-oriented approach to address a range of issues in animal behaviour and ecology, and we have strong applied themes. An over-arching aim of our research is to understand how costs and benefits shape individual behaviour, and how these behaviours relate to the structure and functioning of groups and populations. To achieve this, we conduct research on a variety of group-living fish, bird, and mammal systems (including humans) in the wild and in the lab, and use novel technologies and analytical tools to access information about interactions at many spatial-temporal scales. Our latest work aims not only to test discipline specific hypotheses, but measure, understand, and predict how social animals deal rapid ecological change.

Areas of Expertise

  • Animal behaviour
  • Behavioural ecology
  • Collective behaviour
  • Social networks

Publications

  1. & Environmental quality determines finder-joiner dynamics in socially foraging three-spined sticklebacks (Gasterosteus aculeatus). Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 70(6), 889-899.
  2. & The ecological determinants of baboon troop movements at local and continental scales. Movement Ecology 3(1)
  3. & Social density processes regulate the functioning and performance of foraging human teams. Scientific Reports 5, 18260
  4. & Visible implant elastomer (VIE) tagging and simulated predation risk elicit similar physiological stress responses in three-spined stickleback Gasterosteus aculeatus. Journal of Fish Biology, n/a-n/a.
  5. & The effects of social conformity on Gouldian finch personality. Animal Behaviour 99, 25-31.

See more...

Teaching

  • BIB700 Trends in Biosciences

    In this module you will discover what it takes to be a research scientist and discuss world-leading research with biologists from Universities and research institutes from all over the UK and further afield. You will attend our Biosciences seminar series, generally held every second Thursday at 1pm, as well as a series of journal clubs and more informal talks, held on the Thursdays in between the biweekly seminars. Following each seminar there will be a group workshop with the speakers where you will to learn to evaluate critically current research and advanced scholarship in the discipline, and gain a practical understanding of how established techniques of research and enquiry are used to create and interpret knowledge in Biosciences. For a selection of seminars, you will summarise the research highlights (3 to 5 bullet points, maximum 85 characters) and write an abstract on the research (max 300 words). You will also produce brief, webinar-style presentations and blogs for the BioTalks, the blog for our seminar and journal club series at the Department of Biosciences. These tasks will allow you to fine-tune your communication skills and increase your depth of understanding of the latest research in Biosciences.

  • BIO108 Molecular and Evolutionary Biology

    “Nothing in Biology makes sense except in the light of evolution” was the title of a 1973 essay by the evolutionary biologist Theodosius Dobzhansky. The module links fundamental understanding of molecular processes in the cell to principles of genetics and inheritance to a broader appreciation of evolution and how it shapes the natural world around us.

  • BIOM51 MRes Literature Reviews (Biosciences)

    Students in this course will learn to (1) identify scientific papers of relevance to their program of study using literature databases, (2) appraise the results of primary research and effectively extract and summarise scientific information, and (3) present the results of a literature search in a clear and logical manner within a correctly structured review format Assessment for this module is 100% through continuous assessment. This module requires the submission of two pieces of work of appropriate standard and according to the format of a peer-review publication. The topic of the first review will be given by the instructor and will be submitted before the end of term 1 (worth 40% of the mark), while the second term review (topic chosen by the student) will be submitted at the end of the term (worth 60% of the mark). There are no examinations for this module

  • BIOM64 MRes Research Project (Biosciences)

    The student will carry out an independent piece of research in Biosciences under the guidance of academic staff in one or more of our Research Pathways: 1) Behavioural and Movement Ecology; 2) Evolutionary and Molecular Biology; 3) Marine Biology, Fisheries and Aquaculture; 4) Mathematical and Statistical Ecology; 5) Population and Community Ecology 6) Whole Organism Biology; 7) Wildlife Diseases and Pest Control. The research project will be undertaken during terms 2 and 3, and the student will produce a written dissertation (thesis) and give an oral presentation of their results. The thesis will be written in a format suitable for publication in an appropriate journal.

  • BIZ300 Collective Animal Behaviour

    Animal groups frequently exhibit complex and coordinated behaviours that result from social interactions among individuals. Research in collective animal behaviour attempts to understand the causes, patterns and consequences of these behaviours. This module will showcase the latest developments in the field of collective animal behaviour, first describing the fundamental processes that lead to collective behaviour, and then working through empirical examples - from insects, fish, birds and mammals (including humans).

Supervision

  • Untitled (current)

    Student name:
    PhD
    Other supervisor: Dr John Griffin
  • When and where to move? Coordination in vertebrate groups. (current)

    Student name:
    MRes
    Other supervisor: Dr Ines Fuertbauer
  • Contextual effects on behavioural synchrony in three-spined sticklebacks (Gasterosteus aculeatus) (current)

    Student name:
    MRes
    Other supervisor: Dr Ines Fuertbauer
  • 'The Applicability of Animal-Attached Tri-Axial Accelerometers and Machine Learning Techniques for Inferring the Behaviour of Wild Social Primates' (current)

    Student name:
    MRes
    Other supervisor: Dr Emily Shepard
  • Understanding and predicting baboon space use in a human altered landscape (current)

    Student name:
    PhD
    Other supervisor: Dr Emily Shepard
  • Understanding vulture space-use from fine to regional scales (current)

    Student name:
    PhD
    Other supervisor: Dr Emily Shepard
  • ROBUSST: Research of behaviour underpinning social systems (current)

    Student name:
    PhD
    Other supervisor: Dr Rowan Brown
    Other supervisor: Dr Ines Fuertbauer
  • Understanding and managing commercially important marine finfish: the case of the largehead ribbonfish Trichiurus lepturus in the Sultanate of Oman (current)

    Student name:
    PhD
    Other supervisor: Professor Carlos Garcia De Leaniz
  • Characterisation of complex adaptive systems in biophysics (current)

    Student name:
    PhD
    Other supervisor: Dr Rowan Brown
    Other supervisor: Dr Ines Fuertbauer
  • 'Effects of social context and familiarity on the behaviour of three-spined sticklebacks (Gasterosteus aculeatus)' (awarded 2016)

    Student name:
    MRes
    Other supervisor: Dr Ines Fuertbauer
  • 'The feeding and movement ecology of yellow baboons (Papio cynocephalus) in a primate rich habitat: the Issa valley of western Tanzania' (awarded 2015)

    Student name:
    PhD
    Other supervisor: Dr Daniel Forman
  • 'Presence of animal personality in the common shore crab Carcinus maenas' (awarded 2014)

    Student name:
    MRes
    Other supervisor: Dr John Griffin
  • 'Improving survey methodologies of temperate endothermic species: a case study of grass snakes (Natrix natrix)' (awarded 2013)

    Student name:
    MSc
    Other supervisor: Professor Rory Wilson

Administrative Responsibilities

  • PGR Chair/Coordinator, Biosciences

    2013 - Present

  • MRes Biosciences Programme Director

    2013 - Present

  • Acting PGR Director of Studies, College of Science

    2015 - 2016

  • PGR Chair/Coordinator, College of Science

    2014 - 2016

  • College of Science Ethics Committee (Member)

    2014 - 2016

  • Academic Board for Postgraduate Research (Member)

    2013 - 2015

  • Biosciences Ethics Committee (Member)

    2013 - 2016

  • College of Science Research Committee (Member)

    2013 - 2016

  • Biosciences PGR Degrees Admissions Tutor

    2012 - 2015

External Responsibilities

Key Grants and Projects

  • NERC Standard Research Grant (Co-I) 2015 - 2018

    , £780k (£216k to Swansea)

  • UK-ResearcherLinks (British Council) Grant 2015 - 2016

    , £2k

  • Visiting Scholar Award (University of Cape Town, South Africa) 2015

    , £1.2k

  • ASAB Research Grant 2015 - 2016

    , £6.8k

  • Corporate Sponsorship (Aerospace Concepts) 2014

    , £5k

  • Royal Society Exchange Grant 2014 - 2015

    , £2.8k

  • NERC Added-Value Activity Fund (Co-I) 2013 - 2014

    , £92.5k

  • BBSRC Stanadard Research Grant (Researcher Co-I) 2012 - 2015

    , £768k

  • Royal Society Research Grant (PI) 2012 - 2013

    , £5.4k

  • NERC Post-doctoral Fellowship 2010 - 2013

    , £358k

  • AXA Research Fund Postdoctoral Fellowship 2009 - 2010

    , €60k

  • Centre for Ecology & Evolution Grant 2009 - 2010

    , £3.6k

  • Visiting Researcher Bursary (MPI for Human Development, Berlin) 2009

    , €3k