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SML > SML Alumni

Julia Myatt Dr Julia Myatt

Julia is currently a lecturer (teaching focused) at the University of Birmingham teaching various aspects of zoology at an undergraduate level. She is continuing to work with the Structure and Motion Lab (CARDyAL project) (funded by EPSRC) on free-ranging sheep movements and the dynamics of hunting in African wild dogs in order to understand more about their cooperative actions, in addition to their locomotor abilties to out-manoeuvre prey.


2006-2010: PhD (Funded by BBSRC: 'Applying an ecomorphological framework to the study of orangutan positional behaviour and morphological variation within the non-human apes'), supervised by Dr Susannah K S Thorpe, examined by Dr Kris D'Aout and Dr Stephen Publicover. - involved 12 month period of fieldwork on Sumatra Indonesia

2001-2005: BSc (first class honours) Applied Biology (University of Bath) - research project: Behaviour of New World vs Old World monkeys in a captive system.


2010-2012: Postdoctoral researcher in the Structure and Motion Lab, RVC, University of London with prof Alan Wilson(Funded by EPSRC: Cooperative aerodynamics and radio-based dynamic localisation).

2005-2006: Research Technician in the Insect Ecology Group, Lancaster University with Prof Ken Wilson (Funded by NERC: Costs of Immunity: A Nutritional Perspective).

2003-2004: Student placement at Syngenta Ltd in the Entomology Team -research project into the production of the root-knot nematode in a soil system.


Julia's research has focused on understanding the relationship between the morphology of primates and the behaviours they perform in the complex forest environment (morphlogy-behaviour-habitat interface). She has a strong interest in all aspects of animal locomotion and behaviour, from the level of the muscle fibre through to the movement patterns and social interactions of whole groups. She is particularly interested in the relationship with the natural environment and how this shapes the evolution of the systems observed.


Julia taught comparative ape locomotion and anatomy (CAL) to RVC VetSci undergraduates and primate conservation to final-year undergraduates.  She has also supervised a number of final-year students carrying out both zoo-based and field-based primate studies.

Selected Publications

Usherwood, J.R., Channon, A.J., Myatt, J.P., Rankin, J.W. and Hubel, T.Y. (2012). The human foot and heel-sole-toe walking strategy: a mechanism enabling an inverted pendular gait with low isometric force?.J. Roy. Soc. Interface.

van Casteren, A; Sellers, W.I., Thorpe, S.K.S., Coward, S., Crompton, R.H., Myatt, J.P. and Ennos, A.R. (2012). Nest-building orangutans demonstrate engineering know-how to produce safe, comfortable beds.Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci.

Myatt, J.P., Crompton, R.H. and Payne-Davis et al. (2012). Functional adaptation in the forelimb muscles of non-human great apes.J Anat.

King A.J., Cheng, L., Starke, S.D. and Myatt, J.P. (2011). Is the true 'wisdom of the crowd' to copy successful individuals?.Biol Lett.

Myatt J.P. and Thorpe, S.K.S. (2011). Postural strategies employed by orangutans (Pongo abelii) during feeding in the terminal branch niche.Am J Phys Anthropol. 146: 73-82

Myatt J.P., Crompton, R.H. and Thorpe, S.K.S (2011). Hindlimb muscle architecture in non-human great apes and a comparison of methods for analysing inter-species variation.J Anat. 219: 150-166

Myatt J.P., Crompton, R.H. and Thorpe, S.K.S (2011). A new method for recording complex positional behaviours and habitat interactions in primates.Folia Primatol. 83: 13-24

Myatt J.P., Schilling, N. and Thorpe, S.K.S. (2011). Distribution patterns of fibre types in the tricep surae muscle group of chimpanzees and orangutans.J Anat. 218: 402-412

Portugal, S.J., Thorpe, S.K.S., Green, J.A., Myatt, J.P. and Butler, P.J. (2009). Testing the use/disuse hypothesis: pectoral leg muscle changes in captive barnacle geese Branta leucopsis during wing moult.J Exp Biol. 212: 2401-2410.

Cotter, S.C., Myatt, J.P., Benskin, C.M.H. and Wilson, K. (2008). Selection for cuticular melanism reveals immune function and life-history trade-offs inSpodoptera littoralis.J Evol Biol. 21: 1744-1754.

Outreach Activities

- STEM ambassador for Hertfordshire (2011- 2012)

- Co-organised sessions for GCSE-level in the Structure and Motion Lab, presenting lectures and undertaking practical experiments with small groups of children (2012)

- Co-organised RVC Open Day events (2011 and 2012) investigating aspects of swarm intelligence

- Attended secondary school careers days as an advisor (Potter's Bar; 2012)

- Demonstrated at the Science Museum 'Robotville Festival' with Dr Andrew Spence (SML; 2011)

- Presented sessions and activities related to being a field biologist at a year 9 Science at Work Day (Milton Keynes; 2011)



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