Animal and Environment Research Group (AERG)

Examining animal skulls.

Our Animal and Environment Research Group (AERG) carries out fundamental and applied research to provide innovative solutions to the urgent, complex global issues of biodiversity loss and adaptation to climate change.

The main research themes within our group are:

Global change ecology

Global environmental change is putting increasing pressure on our planet’s biodiversity. Therefore, there is an urgent need to develop a clearer understanding of global change ecology to allow us to develop innovative solutions to the complex challenges we face. Our cutting edge research uses a range of modern tools, including network analysis, molecular techniques, satellite tracking and GIS to study the adaptation of species to urban and agricultural environments, habitat restoration, ecosystem services and the impact and control of alien invasive species.

Conservation and evolutionary genetics

We apply modern molecular methods to address ecological and evolutionary research questions with a view to assisting species conservation and management. Our research includes using molecular tools to understand breeding behaviours, the evolutionary history of hybridising species, landscape genetics, animal-mediated dispersal of plants and the effects of introducing non-native species on native animal populations.

Animal Behaviour

Whilst animal behaviour is embedded within much of our research within the global change ecology and conservation and evolutionary genetics themes, we also use a range of experimental approaches to address more specific questions relating to behavioural ecology and animal welfare. Our research includes: predator avoidance behaviour, contest behaviour and sexual signalling, animal performance capacities, physiological and cognitive mechanisms underlying social behaviour, the function of primate colour vision, cognition and training in domestic dogs, assessment of stress in domestic and managed animals and the welfare of kennelled animals. 

Learn more about our current research project 'Validation of a Quality of Life scoring system for kennelled cats'.

Our members work closely with our Global Sustainability Institute in a fourth key area: engineering monitoring, management and policy.

We offer our Animal and Environmental Sciences PhD and our Zoology PhD. We welcome enquiries from potential incoming Marie Sklodowska-Curie fellows under the European Union's new Horizon2020 programme. We have also identified a range of innovative research project opportunities for you as a postgraduate research student.

Group members

Dr Thomas Ings - Director of AERG 
Dr Peter Brown - Deputy Director of AERG
Dr Marian Bond
Dr Toby Carter
Dr Paty Celis
Dr Sarah Hart
Dr Dawn Hawkins
Dr Alvin Helden
Fabrizio Manco
Dr Sophie Mowles
Dr Philip Pugh
Dr Andrew Smith
Dr Claudia Wascher
Dr Jacob C. Dunn

PhD researchers

Sean Carlisle
Hilary Conlan
Rachel Farrow
Stewart Finlayson
Stephanie Maher
Fredrick Mofulu
Alice C Poirier