My research is primarily aimed at understanding of how individual behaviour and ecology interact to shape social structure, and the consequences of this for processes in societies. Within my research, I use two overlapping approaches: First, I construct and apply a range of analytical methods (e.g. simulation modelling, big data processing), to examine how individual-level traits and ecological factors underpin social organisation, and to determine how social networks affect various biological processes. I apply this approach within simulated networks, as well as within large data sets detailing social associations within natural systems. Second, I design and implement methods for experimentally manipulating social networks of wild animal populations. This allows large-scale tests of sociality within natural ecological settings, and can elucidate the direct consequences of social associations for other aspects of life. Going forward, I particularly hope to combine these two approaches to address how individuals change their social behaviour with age, and how these age-related changes in sociality scale up to shape the structure and the functioning of societies.
Along with studying animal social networks, I enjoy collaborating across various topics in biology and beyond. My past (and ongoing) involvement with such projects has included investigating predator effects in fish, senescence in red deer, wild mice microbiome, the spread of conservation initiatives in Peru fisheries, and working with biomedical researchers in implementing big datasets to assess human health in relation to activity patterns, physical capacities and cognitive performance.