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Andrew King Dr Andrew King


Andrew left the RVC to join Swansea University’s College of Science in a permanent academic position on 1 September 2012.  A NERC Research Fellow, Andrew’s work uses a question-oriented approach to address a range of issues in behavioural and evolutionary ecology, especially concerning group-living animals. For more information see Andrew's personal research pages.

Andrew has a PhD in Behavioural Ecology. He is an Honorary Research Fellow at the Department of Zoology, University of Cambridge (Evolutionary Ecology Group), and is a member of the Tsaobis Baboon Project(Zoological Society of London) and theBaboon Research Unit(University of Cape Town). He is also serves as an Editor forAnimal Behaviour,and is a Member of The NERC Peer Review College.


At the RVC Andrew was based in the Structure and Motion Laboratory, a Centre of Excellence at the forefront of developing technologies to study animal movement, where he uses a question-oriented approach to examine how costs and benefits shape individual behaviour, so that he can understand how these behaviours relate to the structure and functioning of groups and populations. He uses a variety of group-living fish, bird, and mammal systems to answer these important research questions.

Andrew's research is team-oriented, and he collaborates with a variety of individuals and institutions to find innovative ways to tackle his research questions, blending theoretical modelling and field observations and experiments. He has spent nearly three years in Southern Africa, studying the behaviour and ecology of baboons in the Namib Desert, and meerkat sociality in the Kalahari Desert. He still gets into the field to study wild populations, but is enjoying answering his questions in his new fish laboratory at the RVC.


Andrew lectures on the 'Animal Behaviour and Welfare' and 'Comparitive Animal Locomotion' modules as part of the BSc Bioveterinary Science degree. Andrew guest lectures for Imperial College, London. Andrew supervises two PhD students, Leah Williams (personality and leadership in a social bird) and Diamanto Mamuneas (collective performance in animal groups).

Selected Publications

For a full list of publications and download links, click here.

King, A. J., Wilson, A. M., Wilshin, S. D., Lowe, J., Haddadi, H., Hailes, S., Morton, A. J. (2012). Selfish-herd behaviour of sheep under threat.Current Biology. In Press.

King, A. J., Cheng, L., Starke, S. D., Myatt, J. P. (2012) Is the true “wisdom of the crowd” to copy successful individuals?Biology LettersOnline early.

King, A. J.& Sumpter, D. J. T. (2012) Murmurations.Current Biology22: R112-R114.

King, A. J., Sueur, C., Huchard, E., Cowlishaw. G. (2011) A rule-of-thumb based on social affiliation explains collective movements in desert baboons.Animal Behaviour82: 1337-1345.

King, A. J.,Narraway, C., Hodgson, L., Weatherill, A., Sommer, V. & Sumner, S. (2011) Performance of human groups in social foraging: the role of communication in consensus decision-making.Biology Letters7: 237-240.

King, A. J.& Sueur, C. (2011). Where next? Group coordination and collective decision-making by primates.International Journal of Primatology.32: 1245-1267.

King, A. J., Clark, F. E. & Cowlishaw, G. (2011) The dining etiquette of desert baboons: the roles of social bonds, kinship, and dominance in co-feeding networks.American Journal of Primatology73: 768-774.

King, A. J.(2010) Follow me! I'm a leader if you do; I'm a failed initiator if you don't?Behavioural Processes. 84: 671-674

King, A. J.,Johnson, D. D. P. & Van Vugt, M. (2009) The origins and evolution of leadership.Current Biology19: R911-R916.

King, A. J., Isaac, N. J. B. & Cowlishaw, G. (2009) Ecological, social, and reproductive factors shape producer-scrounger dynamics in baboons.Behavioral Ecology20: 1039-1049.

King, A. J.& Cowlishaw, G. (2009c) All together now: behavioural synchrony in baboons.Animal Behaviour78: 1381-1387.

King, A. J.& Cowlishaw, G. (2009b) Leaders, followers and group decision-making.Communicative & Integrative Biology2: 147-150.

King, A. J.& Cowlishaw, G. (2009a) Foraging opportunities drive interspecific associations between rock kestrels and desert baboons.Journal of Zoology277: 111-118.

King, A. J., Douglas, C. M. S., Isaac, N. J. B., Huchard, E.& Cowlishaw, G. (2008) Dominance and affiliation mediate despotism in a social primate.Current Biology18: 1833-1838.

King, A. J.& Cowlishaw, G. (2007) When to use social information: the advantage of large group size in individual decision-making.Biology Letters3: 137–13.

Outreach Activities

Andrew is enthusiastic about engaging others in science and hasorganised numerous public scientific meetings and international symposia.His work has also featured in The Economist, New Scientist, BBC Wildlife, and Discover Magazine, and he is regularly interviewed about his workby the media. You can learn more about these activities here.


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