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 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.



Stansbury, A, de Freitas, M , Wu, G-M & Janik, VM 2015, ' Can a gray seal ( Halichoerus grypus ) generalize call classes? ' Journal of Comparative Psychology , vol 129, no. 4, pp. 412-420.
Stansbury, A, Deecke, V , Gotz, T & Janik, VM 2015, ' Potential uses of anthropogenic noise as a source of information in animal sensory and communication systems ' Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology , vol 875.
King, SL & Janik, VM 2015, ' Come dine with me: food-associated social signalling in wild bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) ' Animal Cognition , vol 18, no. 4, pp. 969-974.
Hastie, GD , Russell, DJF , McConnell, BJ , Moss, S , Thompson, D & Janik, VM 2015, ' Sound exposure in harbour seals during the installation of an offshore wind farm: predictions of auditory damage ' Journal of Applied Ecology , vol 52, no. 3, pp. 631-640.
Gotz, T & Janik, VM 2015, ' Target-specific acoustic predator deterrence in the marine environment ' Animal Conservation , vol 18, no. 1, pp. 102-111.
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