Team members

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Ariana Strandburg-Peshkin

University of Konstanz & Max Planck Institute of Animal Behavior, Germany

Ari is a research group leader at the Max Planck Institute of Animal Behavior and the University of Konstanz. Her work focuses on understanding how animal groups use vocal communication to coordinate collective behaviors. She is the coordinator of the CCAS team and focuses especially on analysis of collective movement data.

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Marta Manser

University of Zurich, Switzerland

Marta is a Professor in the Evolutionary Biology and Environment Science Department at the University of Zurich. She studies animal communication, coordination, and cognition, and heads the long-term study of meerkats in the Kalahari Desert, South Africa.

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Ben Hirsch

James Cook University, Australia

Ben is a Lecturer in Zoology / Ecology at James Cook University. He studies movement ecology, social networks and social behavior, and is heading the field study of white-nosed coatis on Barro Colorado Island, Panama.

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Kay Holekamp

Michigan State University, USA

Kay is a professor at Michigan State University and Director of the Mara Hyena Project, which she founded in 1988. Her role in this project is to provide access to, and information about, the spotted hyenas to be fitted with multi-sensor collars in Kenya in late 2020.

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Marie Roch

San Diego State University, USA

Marie is a Professor of Computer Science who studies questions of identification, behavior, and communication through acoustics. Her role in the CCAS team is related to the analysis of acoustic collar data and determining ways to interpret these data in a multi-sensor context to shed light on group decision making processes.

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Frants Havmand Jensen

Syracuse University, USA

Frants is an expert in sensory ecology and bioacoustics and has more than a decade of experience working with multisensor sound and movement logging tags on cetaceans, hyenas, and fish. Frants develops new software tools for data visualization and processing of biologging data as well as understanding and quantifying sound propagation and information flow within animal societies. He is primarily involved in the hyena sub-project.

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Andy Gersick

Princeton University, USA

Andy is a postdoctoral researcher at Princeton University. He specializes in social behavior and communication, and is involved in the hyena sub-project.

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Meg Crofoot

University of Konstanz & Max Planck Institute of Animal Behavior, Germany

Meg heads the Ecology of Animal Societies Department at the Max Planck Institute of Animal Behaviour and is also a Humboldt Professor of Biology at the University of Konstanz. Her research broadly addresses how animal societies emerge and function, and in the CCAS project she is involved in the sub-project studying white-nosed coatis in Panama.

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Vlad Demartsev

University of Konstanz & Max Planck Institute of Animal Behavior, Germany

Vlad is a behavioural ecologist with a strong preference for field-based, experimental work. He is generally interested in mammalian vocal communication. Especially in the coordination of signalling within a group and in the dynamics of continuous signalling interactions over time. 

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Kiran Dhanjal-Adams

University of Konstanz & Max Planck Institute of Animal Behavior, Germany

Kiran worked as a postdoc at the University of Konstanz from 2019-2021, developing methods for automatically detecting and classifying animal calls from audio recordings. This data will enable us to better understand how animal groups communicate and coordinate movement decisions.

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Eli Strauss

Max Planck Institute of Animal Behavior, Germany

Eli is a postdoc at the Max Planck Institute of Animal Behavior. In this project, Eli is using conventional and remotely-sensed data on social interactions (e.g., aggressive or affiliative behaviors) to understand how social relationships influence fission-fusion dynamics and, conversely, how patterns of space use influence the way individuals experience their societies. 

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Baptiste Averly

University of Konstanz & Max Planck Institute of Animal Behavior, Germany

Baptiste is a PhD student working on the link between communication and collective movement in meerkats. He is particularly interested in understanding how local interactions between individuals can scale up to complex and relevant group-level responses that are more than the sum of their parts. To tackle these questions, he spends his time between the University of Konstanz and the Kalahari desert, where he collects high resolution acoustic and spatial data of wild habituated meerkat groups using custom-made collars. 

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Emily Grout

University of Konstanz & Max Planck Institute of Animal Behavior, Germany

Emily is a PhD student at the Max Planck Institute of Animal Behaviour studying communication and collective movement in coatis found on Barro Colorado Island and Gamboa in Panama. She will be using GPS collars with audio recorders to determine how coati groups use vocal communication for group coordination. 

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Mathieu Duteil

University of Konstanz & Max Planck Institute of Animal Behavior​

Mathieu worked as a postdoctoral on the project from 2020-2021. His work focused on the development of evaluation metrics to quantify the performance of machine learning methods for the detection and classification of calls.

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Mark Johnson

Aarhus University, Denmark​

Mark Johnson is an electronics engineer with a strong interest in animal biology. His engineering focus is in developing instruments and data processing techniques for studying animals in the wild. His biological interests are in sensory ecology, foraging, and predator-prey interactions primarily in the marine environment. To explore the behaviour of wild animals, he has developed highly integrated multi-sensor data loggers such as the DTAG. These tags have been applied to animals from more than 30 species yielding insights into foraging and social behaviour as well as the effects of human disturbance.

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Mara Thomas

University of Konstanz & Max Planck Institute of Animal Behavior​

Mara is a neurobiologist and bioinformatician, working on the development and application of computational methods to study mammalian vocal communication. Within the CCAS project, she uses unsupervised dimensionality reduction and clustering to explore the vocal repertoire of meerkats, and also develops supervised machine learning tools to detect and classify calls.

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Vivek Hari Sridhar

University of Konstanz & Max Planck Institute of Animal Behavior​

Vivek is an evolutionary biologist interested in the interplay between individual and group level properties in animal societies. More specifically, how selection operating on decision rules adopted by individuals affects collective motion, environmental sensing, information propagation and collective decision making and how these group level properties in turn affect individual fitness. Within the CCAS project, Vivek analyses GPS-based movement data, and acoustic data to understand how meerkats use vocal communication to coordinate movement.

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Pranav Minasandra

University of Konstanz & Max Planck Institute of Animal Behavior​

Pranav is a PhD student at the Max Planck Institute for Animal Behaviour, who will be investigating synchronisation of wake-sleep cycles in social fishes. He conducted his Masters thesis within the CCAS project, working on quantifying behavioural state dynamics in spotted hyena using methods from machine learning. 

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Lily Johnson-Ulrich

University of Zurich, Switzerland​

Lily is a postdoc at the University of Zurich. She is investigating how the social and physical environment affect meerkat movement decisions. In particular, she is investigating how vocalisations influence collective movement decisions and the mechanisms underlying meerkat spatial cognition & navigation.

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Sabrina Salome

Michigan State University, USA​

Sabrina is a research assistant working with Kay Holekamp on spotted hyeans. Sabrina works on the organization and processing of spatial, demographic, and behavioral data from the hyena clan we intend to collar as well as on labelling hyena vocalizations from audio data. She is broadly interested in movement ecology and is undertaking an analysis of how, and with which clanmates, hyenas use particular landscape features within their territory.

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Josué Ortega

Gamboa, Panama

Josué is a zoologist who studies movement ecology in medium and large mammals in Panama, using GPS collars. In the CCAS team, he is working with Emily Grout and Ben Hirsch on the collection of movement and audio data of group living white-nosed coatis on Barro Colorado Island and Gamboa, Panama.