Department of Life Sciences

Visiting address
1069 Parkstead House, Whitelands

Phone: +44 (0)20 8392 3566


  • Diploma (Bsc and MRes equivalent) in Zoology (Philips University Marburg, Germany)
  • PhD in Natural Sciences (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich, Switzerland)
  • MSc in Applied Statstics (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich, Switzerland)

Research interests

My research is concerned with the evolution of sociality and the factors influencing social organisation in mammals, including humans. These can be ecological factors as well as demographic effects. I am especially interested in social dynamics/social networks and relationships within and between species. My long-term research interest is in the evolution of mammalian sociality and how social cohesion can be maintained in dispersed living animals. I am using a combination of different methods to study these topics, such as experimental studies, behavioural observations, comparative approaches, phylogenetic, mathematical and agent-based modelling and social network analysis. Research questions I have worked on in the past include the following topics: i) Survival versus reproductive success: sex differences in behavioural and physiological strategies in infants (Marmota marmota) ; ii) Long-term biobehavioural consequences of early environmental manipulations (Rattus norvegicus). ore recently I have ben looking at questions related to effects of group size and composition on behaviour; friendships in primates; intra-group competition, coping strategies, activity co-ordination,and the importance of social networks in primate communities; primate biogeography and responses to climte change. Currently, I am working on the projects related to

i) the importance of social network position for individual survival (with R MacFarland, Pretoria University), reproductive success (with C. Ross) and health (with C. Berbesque)

ii) effects of intra-group competition on social networks (with B. Majolo, Lincoln University)

iii) network plasticity and complexity (several collaborators)

iv) the importance of information exchange in shaping dynamics systems (with J. Bryson, Bath University)

Current PhD students

  • Piotr Fedurek:Social networks and health in an egalitarian hunter-gatherer society; Co-supervised with Dr Colette Berbesque

Past PhD students

  • Charlotte Carne (2014): Modelling approaches to primate conservation; Co-supervised with Prof Stuart Semple
  • Nienke Alberts (2012): Fission-fusion sociality among olive baboons in Gashaka-Gumti National Park, Nigeria;Co-supervised with Prof Stuart Semple

Professional affiliations

  • Fellow of the HEA
  • Treasurer of EFP
  • Past Council member of PSGB


Primatology, Zoology, Reseach Methods, Statistics, Animal Behaviour
I am currently teaching on the following modules:

UG Year 1
Being Human
Special Topics in Anthropology

UG Year 2
Bio and Health Sciences Research Methods
Understanding Behaviour
The Brain in Health and Disease

UG year 3
Animal Behaviour & Cognition
Primate Biology & Conservation

PG Primate Biology, Behaviour and Conservation (all modules)

ID: 29602