Personal profile


I lead the Roehampton University Behaviour and Energetics Lab (RUBEL), which researchers questions about the behavioural-physiology and energy expenditure of a range of animals including humans. My body of publications covers the macro-physiology and respiratory gas exchange of diving birds, comparative analyses of diving and pedestrian locomotion across species, the development of the 'accelerometry technique' as a method for quantifying behaviour and energy expenditure in terrestrial and aquatic animals, and energy management.

A full list of my publications is available here - GoogleScholar and ResearcherID - access to the majority of them as pdfs can be found here - ResearchGate.

Research interests

My present research quantifies the energetic costs for animals in situations where energy expenditure can be high or highly variable. This line of enquiry is motivated by the theory that greater energy costs for an animal can have detrimental consequences for its reproductive success. I am therefore interested both in how animals are adapted to reduce energy costs to tenable levels, and the effects on reproductive fitness of fluctuations in an animal's energy costs. For example, I have studied the energy costs of arboreal locomotion in great apes and how they utilise the inherent elasticity in their environment to their energetic advantage. I also study how perturbations to the environment affect the foraging energy efficiency of seabirds from the UK to the tropics to the sub Antarctic, and in turn how this affects chick rearing during the breeding season.

Particularly for fieldwork but also for laboratory based studies, I use miniaturised data loggers to record key behavioural and physiological variables. I employ and develop, in particular, the use of acceleration loggers for recording both the behaviours and associated energetics of wild animals, mainly in collaboration with the groups led by:

Dr Susannah Thorpe, University of Birmingham

Dr Charles Bishop, Bangor University

Dr Jon Green, University of Liverpool

Dr Yves Handrich, CNRS Strasbourg

Prof. Rory Wilson, Swansea University

Prof. Craig White, Monash University

Prof. Shaun Killen, University of Glasgow

Research projects

I am involved in several on-going funded projects including:

- Savings the sea turtles of Anguilla: combining community action with scientific evidence to drive legislative change, funded by BEST EU

- Studying the behaviour, movements, macro-physiology and thus developing conservation management plans for seabird species inhabiting the Caribbean including the British Virgin Islands (funded by DEFRA Darwin Plus and the Leverhulme Trust)

- Assessing the validity of using heart rate loggers and acceleration loggers to measure the costs of wing adornments in volant birds (Royal Society funded).


Present research associates and alumni

Yvonne McMeel, (2010-2011) industry funded.
Differences between breakfast eaters and breakfast skippers as a result of morningness and eveningness preferences and sleep habits.

Dr Tina Smith, (2012-2013) industry funded.
Uncovering the mechanisms explaining differences in body mass index between breakfast eaters and breakfast skippers.

Dr Sam Coward, (2011-2012) NERC funded.
Energy costs and savings of arboreal locomotion in great apes: measuring a tractable model species - humans.

Dr Louise Soanes, (2015-2018) Leverhulme Trust Early Career Research Fellow and DEFRA Darwin Plus research associate.
Seabird ecophysiology and conservation.

Dr Nicholas Payne, (2016-2018) Cascade Fellow.
Barriers in the sea: how temperature affects the physiology of oceanic megafauna and defines their global distribution limits.

Dr Mircea Iliescu, (2019-2019) funded by the Office for Students.
It’s  not  black and white – the multiple factors explaining university attainment gaps between ethnicities.

Dr Shannon Fowler, (2021-2024) Daphne Jackson Trust Fellow, funded by NERC.
Unravelling the mysteries of how elderly seabirds keep flying, diving, thriving when they should be retiring: the effects of ageing on the physiology, behaviour, and ecology of a long-lived seabird.



Past and present Ph. D students

Astrid Willener, (PhD student, 2008-2014), funded by the University of Roehampton and CNRS, France.
The biomechanics and energetics of a common behaviour for poorly-adapted species: a thorough analysis of pedestrian locomotion in penguins. (Field work undertaken on the Crozet Archipelago). Co-supervisors: Dr Yves Handrich, CNRS Strasbourg; Dr Siobhan Strike, University of Roehampton.

Gillian Lyons, (PhD student, 2009-2012), funded by Queen's University of Belfast. (Secondary Supervisor)
Aspects of the behavioural and physiological ecology of the cuttlefish Sepia officinalis with relation to present and future oceans. Primary supervisor: Dr Jon Houghton, Queen's University Belfast; Co-supervisor: Dr Hansjoerg Kunc, Queen's University Belfast.

Philip Collins, (PhD student, 2013-2016), funded by the University of Roehampton.
Do phenotypic traits explain reproductive skew in seabirds? (Field work undertaken on Puffin Island). Co-supervisor: Dr Jon Green, University of Liverpool.

Christle Coxon, (PhD student, 2013-2019), funded by the University of Roehampton.
Drivers of obesity? Characterising biopsychological and environmental factors associated with overeating. Primary supervisor: Dr Leigh Gibson, University of Roehampton.

Tessa van Walsum, (PhD student, 2014-2021).
How can king penguins dive so deeply? A study of their cardio- and thermo-physiology. Co-supervisors: Dr Andrea Perna, University of Roehampton; Dr Yves Handrich, CNRS Strasbourg.

Christina Mulvenna, (PhD student, 2014-2019), funded by the Northern Ireland Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD). Enhancing farm management by improving both commercial production and animal welfare: development and application of remote sensing technologies. Primary supervisor: Dr Michael Scantlebury, Queen's University Belfast; Co-supervisor: Dr Nikki Marks, Queen's University Belfast.

Kelly Edwards (PhD student, 2017- ), funded by the University of Roehampton.
Working title: Aspects of the ecology and energetics of bird flight. Co-supervisor: Dr Andrea Perna, University of Roehampton.

Mary Henderson, (PhD student, 2018- ), funded by the University of Roehampton.
Working title: Macro-nutrient regulatory influences on physical activity. Co-supervisor: Dr Leigh Gibson, University of Roehampton.

Alann Rathery (PhD student, 2019- ), funded by the University of Roehampton.
Working title:The effects of ambient temperature and terrain on the movement and metabolic rate of social insects. Co-supervisor: Dr Andrea Perna, University of Roehampton.

Naima Rizwan (PhD student, 2019- ).
Working title: The effects of ambient temperature on the metabolic rate and movement of aquatic invertebrates. Co-supervisors: Dr Andrea Perna, Dr Daniel Perkins, University of Roehampton.

Professional affiliations

Member of the Society for Experimental Biology

Reviews editor for the Royal Society journal Biology Letters

Handling editor for the journal Animal Biotelemetry


I presently teach on the undergraduate modules 'Biometrics: Physiology, Statistics and Maths', 'Core skills in Biological Sciences' and 'Biosciences Research Methods'.

I supervise a number of second year project proposals and third year projects, which often review and research issues of energy expenditure in humans, diving behaviour in animals and various non-invasive physiological questions.


Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

Recent external collaboration on country/territory level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots or