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Research activity per year

Personal profile


I started my research career as a behavioural ecologist, interested in the adaptive value of communication behaviour. But as my career has progressed I've become increasingly interested in the question of whether and how the behaviour of animals might tell us about how they are experiencing the world (in the sense of the potential for emotion states). I'm interested in this question both from a practical point of view: can we assess and improve the welfare of animals in our care, and a theoretical point of view: why should animals (including humans) possess emotions, what are the evolutionary advantages of things like anxiety states? 

Current teaching

I currently teach across a range of animal behaviour and welfare related modules, but I also have a keen interest in the practice of teaching statistics and statistical literacy to undergraduate students. 

Research interests

Topics of interest include: animal welfare markers and measures; evolution of emotion states; behavioural markers of affect and emotion in animals; comparative behavioural tests of cognition and affect in humans and non-human animals; the welfare value of exploration and the evolution of 'curiosity'. 

Education/Academic qualification

PGCAP, Plymouth University

Award Date: 21 Nov 2014

Behavioural Ecology, PhD, University of Cambridge

Sept 1999Jun 2003

Zoology, BSc (Hons), University College London

Sept 1996Sept 1999

External positions

Trustee for National Animal Welfare Trust

1 Jul 2022 → …


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