Animal Behaviour research in Oxford has a long and distinguished history, beginning with the arrival of Niko Tinbergen (who was subsequently awarded the Nobel Prize) in 1949. Since then, research from both mechanistic and evolutionary standpoints has flourished, with the work of Richard Dawkins, Bill Hamilton and Marian Dawkins. The Department played a pivotal role in the development of the field of Behavioural Ecology, with John Krebs and Nick Davies (then at Oxford, now at Cambridge) co-authoring the book that defined the field.
Current behavioural research employs a wide range of approaches from field and laboratory studies, and from theoretical modeling via biomimetics to applied animal welfare research research. A wide range of organisms are studied from bacteria to vertebrates.
Staff working in this area include: Dora Biro, Theresa Burt de Perera, Marian Dawkins,Alan Grafen, Ashleigh Griffin, Tim Guilford, Alex Kacelnik, Tom Pizzari, Ben Sheldon, Graham Taylor, Adrian Thomas, Fritz Vollrath, Simon Walker, Stuart Wigby and Stuart West