Tel.: +44 (0)1223 336685
My research involves the use of game theory and evolutionary simulation modelling to predict how animals behave under different social and ecological conditions. I am particularly interested in communicative behaviour, and the design of animal signals (including sexual and agonistic display, and signalling between parents and their offspring). My work in this area has focused on potential conflicts of interest between signallers and receivers, which may favour deception or concealment of information, and the mechanisms that can serve to maintain honesty in the face of such conflict. I have also, however, tried to integrate this strategic perspective with more mechanistic theories, which emphasise the influence of receiver psychology on signal design. Another area of interest is the tactics of mate choice, particularly in species where both sexes exercise a degree of selectivity. Finally, I have recently begun to develop a series of models examining conflict and cooperation in communal breeders. I am particularly interested in factors influencing the partitioning of reproduction within animal groups (i.e. the level of 'reproductive skew'), and the ways in which dominant group members are able to control or check the reproductive activities of subordinates.
- Bro-Jørgensen, J., Johnstone, R.A. & Evans M.R. 2007. Uninformative exaggeration of males sexual ornaments in barn swallows. Current Biology. 17(10): 850-855.
- Rands, S.A., Cowlishaw, G., Pettifor, R.A., Rowcliffe, J.M. & Johnstone, R.A. 2003. Spontaneous emergence of leaders and followers in foraging pairs. Nature. 423(6938): 432-434.
- Hager, R. & Johnstone, R.A. 2003. The genetic basis of family conflict resolution in mice. Nature. 421(6922): 533-535.
- Johnstone, R.A . 2002. The evolution of inaccurate mimics. Nature. 418(6897): 524-526.
- Johnstone, R. A. and Cant, M. A. (1999) Reproductive skew and the threat of eviction: a new perspective. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, Series B 266: 1-5.
- Johnstone, R. A., Reynolds, J. D. and Deutsch, J. C. (1996) Mutual mate choice and sex differences in choosiness. Evolution 50: 1382-1391.
- Johnstone, R. A. (1997) Recognition and the evolution of distinctive signatures: when does it pay to reveal identity? Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, Series B 264: 1547-1553.
- Johnstone, R. A. (1994) Female preference for symmetrical males as a by-product of selection for mate recognition. Nature 372: 172-175.