Animal behaviour

Social behaviour, ecology and conservation

Investigating behavioural interactions, underlying cognitive mechanisms and ecological pressures within an evolutionary context

Our key areas of interest are the evolution of animal societies, the interactions that occur within these societies and their link to emotion, cognition, communication, human-wildlife interactions and conservation.


By studying these interactions, we can help certain species in terms of wildlife conservation and the improvement of welfare in captive settings. Although there is a focus on studies of primates (including humans), our research extends to other species including elephants and hamsters.

We use observational, experimental, field, laboratory and modelling approaches in our research. We are engaged in several international collaborative projects on topics ranging from the regulation of social relationships to more recent developments in evolutionary psychology, cognitive evolution and captive welfare.

Impact case study: Community development and capacity building as key aspects of conservation strategy

Current collaborations

  • Caribbean Primate Research Center
  • DPZ German Primate Center
  • MRC Center for Macaques
  • University of Amsterdam
  • Durham University
  • University of Venda
  • Lajuma Research Centre
  • University of Kwazulu-Natal
  • University of Pretoria
  • University of Edinburgh
  • Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology

  • Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Program
  • Orangutan Information Centre
  • University of Kent
  • Bournemouth University
  • University of Leipzig
  • Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle, Paris
  • Portsmouth University
  • Bogor Agricultural University
  • Universitas Sam Ratulangi
  • Universiti Sains Malaysia


Search publications written by members of this group.

Search for a research paper

15 papers found

  • Journal article

    Non-invasive assessment of metabolic responses to food restriction using urinary triiodothyronine and cortisol measurement in macaques

    Sadoughi B, Girard-Buttoz C, Engelhardt A and Heistermann M and Ostner J

    Publish date:15/05/2021

  • Journal article

    Where Might We Find Ecologically Intact Communities?

    Plumptre AJ, Baisero D, Travis Belote R, Vázquez-Domínguez E, Faurby S, Jȩdrzejewski W, Kiara H, Kühl H, Benítez-López A, Luna-Aranguré C, Voigt M, Wich S, Wint W and Gallego-Zamorano J and Boyd C

    Publish date:15/04/2021

  • Conference publication

    Adapting effects of emotional expression in anxiety: evidence for an enhanced Late Positive Potential

    Richards A, Holmes A and Pell P and Bethell EJ

    Publish date:10/04/2021

  • Journal article

    High-resolution global map of smallholder and industrial closed-canopy oil palm plantations

    Descals A, Wich S, Meijaard E, Gaveau DLA and Peedell S and Szantoi Z

    Publish date:24/03/2021

  • Journal article

    Fermented food consumption in wild nonhuman primates and its ecological drivers.

    Amato KR, Chaves ÓM, Mallott EK, Eppley TM, Abreu F, Baden AL, Barnett AA, Bicca-Marques JC, Boyle SA, Campbell CJ, Chapman CA, De la Fuente MF, Fan P, Fashing PJ, Felton A, Fruth B, Fortes VB, Grueter CC, Hohmann G, Irwin M, Matthews JK, Mekonnen A, Melin AD, Morgan DB, Ostner J, Nguyen N, Piel AK, Pinacho-Guendulain B, Quintino-Arêdes EP, Razanaparany PT, Schiel N, Sanz CM, Schülke O, Shanee S, Souto A, Souza-Alves JP, Stewart F, Stewart KM, Stone A, Sun B, Tecot S, Valenta K, Vogel ER and Wich S and Zeng Y

    Publish date:02/03/2021

  • Journal article

    Optimism and pasture access in dairy cows

    Bethell E

    Publish date:01/03/2021


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