People

Dr Mike Webster (PI)

Mike is interested in the functions, mechanisms and evolution of group living in animals, taking in group organisation, social information transmission and social learning, resource competition and predator-prey interactions.

He completed his PhD at the University of Leicester in 2007 before moving to the University of St Andrews, where he joined the Laland Lab as a post-doc. Remaining in St Andrews, he is now a lecturer in the School of Biology.

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Dr Nick Jones (Postdoctoral researcher)

Nick recently completed his PhD where he investigated factors that affect learning and foraging behaviour in archerfish. He is currently investigating aspects of fish welfare, and – following up one area of his PhD – exploring the consequences of inter-individual differences in cognition. Nick’s PhD was co-supervised by Luke Rendell.

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Edith Invernizzi (Postdoctoral researcher)

Edith is interested in the cues and mechanisms underpinning behaviour, from human to non-human animals. At the moment, she is extending the work started during her PhD (University of St Andrews) on the behavioural algorithm underlying self-organised collective nest construction in the ant genus Temnothorax. She combines computational simulations with statistical analysis.

Karina Vanadzina (PhD student)

Karina uses phylogenetic comparative methods to investigate the evolution of life history traits associated with parental care in ray-finned fishes and passerines. As part of the experimental component of her PhD she is assessing nest camouflage in three-spined sticklebacks using imaging techniques. Karina’s PhD is also supervised by Catherine Sheard and Kevin Laland.

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Dagmar der Weduwen (PhD student)

Dagmar is studying social learning and the potential for imitation in archerfish Toxotes sp. in regards to their hunting behaviours. Dagmar’s PhD is also supervised by Luke Rendell and Keith Sillar.

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Leah Gray (MRes student)

Leah is studying information transmission and collective alarm response in grouping animals, with specific focus on false alarms. She conducts observational studies in flocks of foraging birds on Eden Estuary and laboratory experiments using groups of sticklebacks.

Arantzazu Pagonabarraga Altisen

Arantzazu is a placement student from the University of Manchester undertaking a year-long project. She is exploring the use of social cues by hermit crabs, performing experiments in the lab and in the field.

Annie Rowe

Annie is a placement student from the University of Manchester undertaking a year-long project. Annie’s project investigates how effective different laboratory measures of shoaling are at capturing this behaviour.

Former members

Dr Helen Spence-Jones (PhD student)

Helen is interested in the role of phenotypic plasticity in evolutionary dynamics. She uses the adaptive radiation of threespine stickleback into freshwater environments as a model system to examine the dynamics of multiple plastic traits under relaxed selection. Helen’s PhD was co-supervised by Kevin Laland. She is now a postdoctoral researcher at the Alfred Wegener Institute in Germany.

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Anna Hills (placement student)

Anna was a placement student from the University of Manchester undertaking a year-long project. She investigated how sampling- and experimental-design decisions affect hermit crab activity and behaviour measured under standardised conditions. Anna is now back in Manchester finishing her degree.