For social animals the advantages of living in groups are numerous, and the resulting societies are often intricately organized webs of interactions whose maintenance and consequences are of intense current scientific interest. My group’s research focuses on several issues faced by members of such societies: what is the nature of individuals’ interactions with each other, how do they reach joint decisions about common problems, how does information pass from one individual to another, and how does the presence of others impact individuals’ interactions with their environment? The DPhil project, defined in discussions with the student, would have opportunities to explore such questions in either avian or primate systems, focusing on collective movement dynamics and/or the maintenance of cultural traditions, using a combination of empirical behavioural studies and mathematical modelling. We currently employ and are further developing a range of cutting-edge technologies, including on-board sensors, motion-sensitive camera networks and computer-vision based analysis of behaviour to obtain high-resolution data on individuals’ behaviour and interactions both in the laboratory and in the field.
Personal Research Keywords
Social behaviour, group decision-making, social learning, culture, birds, primates