The School has modern and well-equipped animal facilities for research on vertebrates and invertebrates. These facilities are currently used for experimental work in animal perception, cognition and behaviour in fish, birds, bees and mammals.
There is a state of the art freshwater aquarium room which is used for long and short-term experiments with tropical freshwater fish behaviour and evolution. We also have excellent facilities for studies of insect social behaviour and insect sensory ecology. We have access to controlled rearing facilities for pheasants and partridges, and can release these reared birds into areas of mid Devon where their subsequent behaviour can be monitored and manipulated. We also work on humans and have access to subject pools and computer test facilities to investigate human behaviour.
Our position within Psychology ensures close cooperation with researchers in fields beyond traditional areas of animal behaviour, making for novel collaborations. The Cognition group uses a variety of quantitative measures (EEGs, ERPs, fMRI, TMS and eye-tracking) and considers both developmental and comparative perspectives. These techniques, developed for work on humans, can inform our understanding of mechanisms underpinning animal behaviour. The Social, Economic, Environmental and Organisational Research Group investigates a range of areas that, although developed from work on humans, can both inform our understanding of aspects of animal behaviour, and in turn benefit from novel insights from our studies of animals.
Our links with the Biosciences ensures interaction with researchers in the Ecology and Conservation, ESI and the Environmental Biology Research Group, which have interests in conservation of wild populations, evolutionary ecology, ecotoxicology and environmental biology. Thus, our work can both inform applied questions, and be set within a wider evolutionary framework, with opportunities to pursue questions to the genetic level.
Our group has strong links with researchers at Paignton Zoo and other local wildlife organisations. We are also well equipped for field studies in animal behaviour, and have links to a number of important field sites in the Southwest region -as well as in Australia, South Africa and North and South America. For example, Dr Madden does his field research on Australian Bowerbirds, Dr Croft does his field work on wild population of guppies on the Caribbean island of Trinidad, Dr Darden does her research on populations of swift foxes in Colorado, USA.
Such a strong network of contacts, coupled with our existing body of staff and post-graduate students ensures that we are poised for rapid development and growth.