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Department of Zoology



I completed my undergraduate degree in Marine Science and PhD in Behavioural Ecology at the University of Sydney, Australia, under the supervison of Professor Ashley Ward. I then moved to Sweden as a postdoc to work with Professor David Sumpter at Uppsala University and Professor Niclas Kolm at Stockholm University. Following six years in Sweden, I moved to the UK to work with Dr Christos Ioannou at Bristol University, before moving to Cambridge to take up the Whitten Lectureship in Marine Biology at the Department of Zoology. 


My research group investigates the causes and consequences of animal behaviour, with a strong focus on marine organisms. The questions we ask include; how do animals gather information from their social and physical environment, and how do they use this information to inform their behavioural decisions? What benefits do animals gain from behaving the way they do, and why do they not adopt other behavioural strategies? How do animals adapt their behaviour to different ecological or social environments, and what benefits, costs and constraints do they face when doing so?  We primarily use fishes as model systems to answer these questions. Our research framework uses theory-driven questions, manipulative experimental methods, and highly quantitative data acquisition techniques to analyse and interpret behaviour. We use this framework in controlled laboratory experiments as well as in the field to understand the outstanding diversity of behavioural adaptations in marine organisms.


Key publications: 

For a full list of publications, please click here

Herbert-Read, J. E., Kremer, L., Bruintjes, R., Radford, A. N., & Ioannou, C. C. (2017). Anthropogenic noise pollution from pile-driving disrupts the structure and dynamics of fish shoals. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. 284, 20171627.

Herbert-Read, J. E., Rosén, E., Szorkovszky, A., Ioannou, C. C., Rogell, B., Perna, A., Sumpter, D.J.T. (2017). How predation shapes the social interaction rules of shoaling fish. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences.284, 20171126.

Herbert-Read, J. E., Ward, A. J., Sumpter, D. J., & Mann, R. P. (2017). Escape path complexity and its context dependency in Pacific blue-eyes (Pseudomugil signifer). Journal of Experimental Biology220, 2076-2081.

Herbert-Read, J.E., Romanczuk, P., Krause, S., Strömbom, D., Couillaud, P., Domenici, P., Kurvers, R.H., Marras, S., Steffensen, J.F., Wilson, A.D. and Krause, J., (2016) Proto-cooperation: group hunting sailfish improve hunting success by alternating attacks on grouping prey. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. 283, 20161671.

Herbert-Read, J.E. (2016). Understanding how animal groups achieve coordinated movement. Journal of Experimental Biology. 219, 2971-2983.

Whitten Lecturer in Marine Biology
Dr James Herbert-Read

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