Prof Darren Croft
Professor of Animal Behaviour
The UK project is coordinated by Prof Darren Croft at the University of Exeter, with the help of Co-Investigators Prof Michael Cant and Dr Dan Franks at the University of York.
Prof Croft is a behavioural ecologist and his research interests lie in two main questions (i) What are the mechanisms and functions that underpin the structure of animal societies? (ii) What are the evolutionary implications of this structure? To address these questions Prof Croft’s research group combines experimental and observational work on wild animal populations with controlled laboratory experiments. The research topics covered by his group are broad and include; the evolution of cooperation, life history evolution, social recognition and sexual conflict. As such they work on a wide range of study systems ranging from small fresh water fish to resident killer whales. The team use social network analysis as a tool to unravel the complex nature of how animal societies are structured. Recently they have extended the group’s research to questions of animal health and welfare and are working with the UK dairy industry to study social components of welfare and productivity in commercial dairy cattle.