University of St Andrews

Prof Vincent Janik
Professor of Biology

Scottish Oceans Institute
East Sands
University of St Andrews
St Andrews
KY16 8LB

  • 1992 German 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)
  • 2001Marie-Curie Postdoctoral Investigator (University of St Andrews, UK)
  • 2002- Royal Society University Research Fellow & Reader (University of St Andrews, UK)



I am a member of the Sea Mammal Research Unit and the Centre for Social Learning and Cognitive Evolution (SLACE) at the University of St Andrews. 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. If you want to join my group, please click here.



Janik, VM 2014, ' Cetacean vocal learning and communication ' Current Opinion in Neurobiology , vol 28, pp. 60-65.
Russell, DJF , Brasseur, S , Thompson, D , Hastie, GD , Janik, VM , Aarts, G , McClintock, BT , Matthiopoulos, J , Moss, S & McConnell, BJ 2014, ' Marine mammals trace anthropogenic structures at sea ' Current Biology , vol 24, no. 14, pp. R638-R639.
Gridley, T, Cockcroft, V, Hawkins, ER, Lemon Blewitt, M, Morisaka, T & Janik, VM 2014, ' Signature whistles in free ranging populations of Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins, Tursiops aduncus ' Marine Mammal Science , vol 30, no. 2, pp. 512-527.
Hastie, GD , Donovan, CR , Gotz, T & Janik, VM 2014, ' Behavioral responses by grey seals ( Halichoerus grypus ) to high frequency sonar ' Marine Pollution Bulletin , vol 79, no. 1-2, pp. 205-210.
Cheney, B, Corkery, R, Durban, J , Grellier, K , Hammond, PS , Islas Villanueva, V , Janik, VM , Lusseau, S, Parsons, K, Quick, NJ, Wilson, B & Thompson, P 2014, ' Long-term trends in the use of a protected area by small cetaceans in relation to changes in population status ' Global Ecology and Conservation , vol 2, pp. 118-128.
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