Prof Vincent Janik

Professor of Biology
Director of Scottish Oceans Institute

SOI 2.18
tel. 01334 467214
fax. 01334 463443

  • 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.



Bowers, MT, Friedlaender, AS, Janik, VM, Nowacek, DP, Quick, N, Southall, BL & Read, A 2018, 'Selective reactions to different killer whale call categories in two delphinid species' Journal of Experimental Biology, vol 221. DOI: 10.1242/jeb.162479
Merkens, K, Mann, D, Janik, VM, Claridge, D, Hill, M & Oleson, E 2018, 'Clicks of dwarf sperm whales (Kogia sima)' Marine Mammal Science, vol Early View. DOI: 10.1111/mms.12488
Harris, CM, Thomas, L, Falcone, E, Hildebrand, J, Houser, D, Kvadsheim, P, Lam, F-PA, Miller, P, Moretti, DJ, Read, A, Slabbekoorn, H, Southall, BL, Tyack, PL, Wartzok, D & Janik, VM 2018, 'Marine mammals and sonar: dose-response studies, the risk-disturbance hypothesis and the role of exposure context' Journal of Applied Ecology, vol 55, no. 1, pp. 396-404. DOI: 10.1111/1365-2664.12955
Sayigh, L, Wells, R & Janik, VM 2017, 'What's in a voice? Dolphins do not use voice cues for individual recognition' Animal Cognition, vol 20, no. 6, pp. 1067-1079. DOI: 10.1007/s10071-017-1123-5
Schakner, ZA, Götz, T, Janik, VM & Blumstein, DT 2017, 'Can fear conditioning repel California sea lions from fishing activities?' Animal Conservation, vol 20, no. 5, pp. 425-432. DOI: 10.1111/acv.12329
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