Alex studies the evolution of social behaviour in animals – the ways single individuals come together to form stable social groups, and the behavioural, cognitive, and neuroanatomical mechanisms that have evolved to facilitate group living. His research program encompasses traditional field behavioural ecology, computational ethology, physics of social behaviour, neurobiology, and most importantly evolutionary theory, aiming to understand both the mechanisms and the outcomes of social behaivour across species, with a focus on cichlid fishes and social spiders. His research is primarily field-focused, attempting to understand animal behaviour in the places it has evolved; Lake Tanganyika, the Mediterranean Sea, Coral Reefs in the Caribbean and Red Sea, as well as Central American rainforests.
He is a permanent Group Leader at the Max Planck Institute of Animal Behavior, heading up the Behavioural Evolution Research Group. He has held editorial positions at The American Naturalist and Movement Ecology. He is also active at the interface of science, art, and community engagement, working with artists and academies like Tabita Rezaire, SUPERFLEX, TBA-21, and Tomás Saraceno. Previously, Alex was the Integrative Biology Fellow, working in collaboration with Mike Ryan, Dan Bolnick, and Hans Hofmann at UT Austin, and before that a JSPS fellow in Osaka working with Masanori Kohda. He completed his PhD with Rob Brooks at the University of NSW, and did his undergraduate honours thesis with Madeleine Beekman and Ben Oldroyd at the University of Sydney.
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