Research interests:

Decision theory

Conservation behaviour

Environmental Decision Support Systems

Population Consequences of Disturbances


Cognitive ecology

Career history:

Reader, University of Aberdeen, UK, 2014-

MASTS Senior Lecturer in Marine Top Predator Biology, University of Aberdeen, UK, 2011- 2014

MASTS Lecturer in Marine Top Predator Biology, University of Aberdeen, UK, 2010-2011

Lecturer in marine populations, University of Aberdeen, UK, 2007-2010

Izaak Walton Killam Postdoctoral Fellow, Dalhousie University, Canada, 2006-2007

Research Fellow, University of Aberdeen, UK, 2003-2005

PhD in Zoology, University of Otago, New Zealand, 2003

Active research projects:

We study the causes and consequences of behavioural decisions. We use mathematical and statistical models grounded in empirical studies to investigate the mechanisms and strategies individuals use to interact with their socioecological landscape.

Our main research themes are:

Population consequences of disturbances: A consensus is emerging that wildlife manages non-lethal interactions with human activities in the same manner as these species manage predation risk. We study these management strategies and the consequences cumulative exposure to disturbance has on the fitness of individuals and the resulting viability of their populations.

This work is helping us develop new ways to link decisions taken by individuals at the behavioural scale and variability in populations at the ecological scale.

The evolution of social complexity: We develop models of social network evolution and network dynamics inspired from empirical studies. We strive to develop a quantitative, non-anthropocentric, notion of social complexity and understand what drives its evolution.

This work also leads us to understand how behavioural traits, information, and diseases evolve and propagate in networked populations

Collective decisions: We are investigating how variation in social structure and cognitive abilities influences the way in which groups make collective decisions about their movement and their behavioural budget and how these decision-making processes influences the fitness of individuals.

From genes to behaviour: We are developing models to understand how information is generated and propagates in individuals to adapt behaviour to local conditions.

Current focus include the influence of perception systems on decisions, the resilience of behavioural systems and whole body interactome inference.

Recent publications:

Derous, D., Mitchell, S.E., Green, C.L., Chen, L., Han, J.D.J., Wang, Y., Promislow, D.E., Lusseau, D., Speakman, J.R. and Douglas, A., (2016). The effects of graded levels of calorie restriction: VI. Impact of short-term graded calorie restriction on transcriptomic responses of the hypothalamic hunger and circadian signaling pathways. Aging.

Senigaglia, V., Christiansen, F., Bejder, L., Gendron, D., Lundquist, D., Noren, D.P., Schaffar, A., Smith, J.C., Williams, R., Martinez, E. and Stockin, K., (2016). Meta-analyses of whale-watching impact studies: comparisons of cetacean responses to disturbance. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser, 542, pp.251-263.

Higham, J.E., Bejder, L., Allen, S.J., Corkeron, P.J. and Lusseau, D., (2016). Managing whale-watching as a non-lethal consumptive activity. Journal of Sustainable Tourism, 24(1), pp.73-90.

Pirotta, E., Harwood, J., Thompson, P.M., New, L., Cheney, B., Arso, M., Hammond, P.S., Donovan, C. and Lusseau, D., (2015), November. Predicting the effects of human developments on individual dolphins to understand potential long-term population consequences. In Proc. R. Soc. B (Vol. 282, No. 1818, p. 20152109). The Royal Society.

Christiansen, F. and Lusseau, D., (2015). Linking Behavior to Vital Rates to Measure the Effects of Non‐Lethal Disturbance on Wildlife. Conservation Letters, 8(6), pp.424-431.