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. & Spatio-Temporal Variation in Length-Weight Relationships and Condition of the Ribbonfish Trichiurus lepturus (Linnaeus, 1758): Implications for Fisheries Management. PLOS ONE 11(8), e0161989
  2. & Environmental quality determines finder-joiner dynamics in socially foraging three-spined sticklebacks (Gasterosteus aculeatus). Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 70(6), 889-899.
  3. & Adaptive space use by baboons (Papio ursinus) in response to management interventions in a human-changed landscape. Animal Conservation
  4. & The ecological determinants of baboon troop movements at local and continental scales. Movement Ecology 3(1)
  5. & Two distinct hyperostosis shapes in ribbonfish, Trichiurus lepturus (Linnaeus 1758). Bulletin- European Association of Fish Pathologists 36(3), 132-136.

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Teaching

  • 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). 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. We will then working through empirical examples - from insects, fish, birds and mammals (including humans) to elucidate the fundamental principles that underlie collective behaviour across levels of biological organization.

Supervision

  • Untitled (current)

    Student name:
    MRes
  • Untitled (current)

    Student name:
    PhD
    Other supervisor: Dr Ines Fuertbauer
  • Untitled (current)

    Student name:
    MRes
  • 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
  • Understanding vulture space-use from fine to regional scales (current)

    Student name:
    PhD
    Other supervisor: Dr Emily Shepard
  • Untitled (current)

    Student name:
    MRes
  • Understanding and predicting baboon space use in a human altered landscape (current)

    Student name:
    PhD
    Other supervisor: Dr Emily Shepard
  • Implications of macroalgal plasticity for coastal ecosystem services under environmental change (current)

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

    Student name:
    PhD
    Other supervisor: Dr Rowan Brown
    Other supervisor: Dr Ines Fuertbauer
  • Characterisation of complex adaptive systems in biophysics (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
  • 'The Applicability of Animal-Attached Tri-Axial Accelerometers and Machine Learning Techniques for Inferring the Behaviour of Wild Social Primates' (awarded 2016)

    Student name:
    MRes
    Other supervisor: Dr Emily Shepard
  • '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

  • Director of Postgraduate Research - Biosciences

    2016 - Present

  • MRes Biosciences Programme Director - Biosciences

    2013 - Present

  • PGR Chair/Coordinator - Biosciences

    2013 - 2016

  • PGR Chair/Coordinator - College of Science

    2014 - 2015

  • Acting PGR Director of Studies - College of Science

    2015 - 2016

  • Ethics Committee (Member) - College of Science

    2014 - 2016

  • Academic Board for Postgraduate Research (Member)

    2013 - 2015

  • Ethics Committee (Member) - Biosciences

    2013 - 2016

  • Research Committee (Member) - College of Science

    2013 - 2016

  • PGR Degrees Admissions Tutor - Biosciences

    2012 - 2015

External Responsibilities