Team members

Ariana Strandburg-Peshkin

Konstanz, 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.

Marta Manser

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.

Ben Hirsch

Townsville, 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.

Kay Holekamp

Lansing, 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.

Marie Roch

San Diego, 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.

Frants Havmand Jensen

Woods Hole, USA

Frants is a Visiting Investigator at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. He 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.

Andy Gersick

Princeton, USA

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

Meg Crofoot

Konstanz, 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.

Vlad Demartsev

Konstanz, 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. 

Kiran Dhanjal-Adams

Konstanz, Germany

Kiran is a Postdoc at the University of Konstanz, 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.

Eli Strauss

Lincoln, Nebraska | Kenya | Konstanz, Germany (starting 2021)

Eli is a postdoc at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. 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. 

Baptiste Averly

Konstanz, Germany

Baptiste is a PhD student in the group of Ariana Standburg-Peshkin, 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. 

Emily Grout

Konstanz, 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 in Panama. She will be using GPS collars with audio recorders to determine how coati groups use vocal communication for group coordination. This data will be used in the project to compare how communication is used between species of varying levels of social cohesion. 

Mathieu Duteil

San Diego, USA

Mathieu is a postdoctoral researcher at San Diego State University. His work focuses on the analysis of acoustic collar data in order to identify calls through machine learning techniques. He aims to develop probabilistic models of how information flows through the group and influences the collective behaviour.

Mark Johnson

St Andrews, Scotland

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.

Mara Thomas

Konstanz, Germany

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.

Vivek Hari Sridhar

Konstanz, Germany

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.

Pranav Minasandra

Konstanz, Germany

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.