Assoc. Prof. Dr. Stephanie King

University of Bristol, United Kingdom

Stephanie King is an Associate Professor in Animal Behaviour at the University of Bristol, UK. She is also an Adjunct Research Fellow at the University of Western Australia. Her research interests lie in understanding the role vocal communication plays in mediating complex social behaviours, such as cooperation, in animal systems. The nested structure of male alliance formation found in the Shark Bay dolphin population provides a unique opportunity to understand the interplay between vocal communication and cooperative strategies. Her group uses techniques such as hydrophone arrays, overhead video and sound playback experiments to explore the role of communication in the formation and maintenance of male alliances, and the communicative strategies these males employ when making decisions of when and with whom to cooperate.

Much of Dr. King’s work involves using long-term behavioural data, alongside logistically challenging field experiments, to address questions on the evolution of identity signalling in the animal kingdom, mechanisms underlying polyadic cooperation, and the consequences of anthropogenic disturbance on marine mammals. Dr King regularly publishes in high-ranking journals aimed at generalist audiences, as well as top specialty journals, such as Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Current Biology, Nature Communications, Methods in Ecology and Evolution and Proceedings B.

Dr. King’s research has received worldwide media coverage and has been the focus of TV documentaries such as BBC’s Britain’s Secret Seas (2011), Winterwatch (2014) and Chris Packham’s Animal Einsteins (2021), radio broadcasts (BBC, ABC and NPR), and has featured in many high-profile science magazine articles (e.g. New Scientist, Scientific American, Science Magazine, and National Geographic, amongst many others).

Twitter: @_StephanieLKing