Alex Jordan’s research group uses quantitative approaches to study the evolution and adaptive value of animal behaviour in natural contexts. Alex is interested in how behaviour has evolved, what the adaptive value of behaviour is, and what the mechanisms that underlie behaviour are.
Jordan borrows computational approaches developed for model laboratory systems like Drosophila and Zebrafish, and employs them in settings where animal behaviour has evolved – Lake Tanganyika, the Mediterranean Sea, coral reefs, and tropical rainforests. Using techniques like computer vision and machine learning, automated tracking of behaviour, and 3D reconstruction of environments, he aims for a quantitative assessment of the expression and value of behaviour in the places it naturally occurs.
Using many different taxa, Jordan seeks to understand how social interactions are modified by current context, how animals perceive and process social cues, and how environments – both social and physical – change and are changed by behaviour. He take a broad approach, combining studies of proximate neurobiological and genetic mechanisms, with analyses of the physics of interactions, up to broad evolutionary and ecological studies of social influence and behaviour.
He is a permanent Group Leader at the Max Planck Institute of Animal Behavior, heading up the Comparative 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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