How do animals interact in groups? What benefits and costs can this bring? What are the ecological effects of social living? How do differences between individuals, including different personality traits, impact group behaviour, and vice versa? How do predators target prey, especially those in groups? What selection does this impose on prey? These are some of the questions that the Ioannou group (http://ioannougroup.com) tackle, using fish as a model system. We use the latest technology (virtual and robotic prey, computer tracking of fish movements) in laboratory and field studies. Most of our work happens in our state-of-the-art fish facility at the University of Bristol, but we also have fieldsites in Trinidad (working with wild guppies) and Tanzania (working with wild cichlids). Although we do experimental work, we also do a lot of statistical analysis.
We are increasingly interested in how these behaviours interact with wider environmental variables, especially in the context of human-induced rapid environmental change. This includes anthropogenic noise (in collaboration with Prof. Andy Radford and Prof. Steve Simpson) and turbidity (in collaboration with Dr. Amy Deacon), the role they may play in invasive species biology (in collaboration with Prof. Martin Genner), and how behaviour in groups can be quantified to determine health status (in collaboration with Prof. Andy Dowsey and Prof. Carlos Garcia De Leaniz).
If you’re interested in doing a postgraduate degree in this area of research, I am keen to be contacted by students who have identified sources of funding that they are eligible for, or self-funded students. Although we are based in the School of Biological Sciences, those with backgrounds in physics, engineering, mathematics, psychology and computer science and with a strong interest in animal behaviour are very welcome to apply, as well as biologists. We particularly welcome and encourage applications from under-represented groups and disadvantaged backgrounds. There is the option for these research degrees to be conducted part-time or with flexible working.