Profile

Prof Vincent Janik:
Professor of Biology
Director of Scottish Oceans Institute



I am interested in the evolution of complexity in communication systems and how this complexity can affect social interaction. This work takes two different approaches. On the one hand I investigate environmental constraints that influence the design of vocal communication systems, and on the other I study the underlying cognitive skills required to overcome or circumvent such constraints. Much of this work concentrates on vocal communication in the bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus). This species combines the ability of vocal learning with complex cognitive skills that exceed those of most other animals. Furthermore, dolphins rely almost exclusively on acoustic communication which avoids the difficulties connected with studying multi-modal communication systems.

 



  • 1992 German Masters degree in Biology (Freie Universität Berlin, Germany)
  • 1998 PhD (University of St Andrews,UK)
  • 1998-2000 German National Merit Foundation Postdoctoral Investigator (Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, USA)
  • 2001 Marie-Curie Postdoctoral Investigator (University of St Andrews, UK)
  • 2002-2009 Royal Society University Research Fellow (University of St Andrews, UK)
  • 2009/2010 Fellow of the Wisseschaftskolleg Berlin - Centre for Advanced Study, Germany
  • 2009-2014 Reader in Biology (University of St Andrews, UK)
  • since 2014 Professor in Biology (University of St Andrews, UK)

I am working in the field of animal communication, specializing in marine mammals. My main research interest is the evolution of complexity in communication systems and how this complexity can affect social interaction. This work takes two different approaches. I investigate environmental constraints that influence the design of vocal communication systems and the underlying cognitive skills required to overcome or circumvent such constraints. Much of this work concentrates on vocal communication in the bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus). This species combines the ability of vocal learning with complex cognitive skills that exceed those of most other animals. Comparative work focuses on grey and harbour seals as well as other dolphin species. I am a member of the Sea Mammal Research Unit and the Centre for Social Learning and Cognitive Evolution. If you want to join my group, please click here.

source: symbiosis


Recent Publications:

Recent publications listed in research@st-andrews