Lecturer and NERC Fellow
Since my PhD with Prof. Jens Krause at the University of Leeds, I've been interested in the evolution of group living in animals and how these groups form and are maintained. My research has covered mutliple aspects of group living, including more subtle group properties such why groups show polarisation (all individuals facing the same direction) or leadership rather than egalitarianism. I generally use fish as a model system to test predictions and assumptions of theoretical models; working alongside modellers has been and continues to be a big part of my research.
Collective behaviour is a very inter-disciplinery area of research as it has importance to any organism that interacts socially, from microbes and plants all the way to humans. Although my training is very much in animal behaviour and behavioural ecology, I try to keep a broad perspective and collaborate with researchers in other fields. This includes physics and mathematics which provides a solid theoretical grounding for group processes and new analytic tools, and psychology which has a long history of studying social relationships in humans, many aspects of which apply to non-human animals as well.