Prof. Dr. Richard Connor

UMASS Dartmouth, USA

Richard Connor is a Professor of Biology at the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth. He obtained his Bachelor’s degree from the University of California at Santa Cruz, his Ph.D. from the University of Michigan. After his Ph.D., Richard had post-doctoral appointments at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and Harvard University. He was a fellow at the Michigan Society of Fellows and at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University.

Prof. Connor co-founded the Shark Bay dolphin research project in 1982 (with Rachel Smolker), is a Principal Investigator of the Dolphin Alliance Project (DAP) and President of an American Foundation, the Dolphin Alliance Project, Inc., that is seeking contributions to continue funding DAP research. The main focus of Prof. Connor’s work is dolphin behaviour and the males’ alliance relationships. He examines alliance relationships from a broad, comparative perspective and has developed new theory on alliance formation and cooperation in general.

Prof. Connor has published over 80 scientific articles and book chapters on dolphins and his other major interest, the evolution of cooperation and mutualism. His research has been published in top scientific journals (e.g. Nature, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Proceedings of the Royal Society), featured in television documentaries, including the National Geographic Society’s Dolphins: the Wild Side and NOVA’s The Private Lives of Dolphins, and reported in major news outlets (e.g. The New York Times, Science Online).

The Dolphin Alliance Project’s research has produced important discoveries with profound implications for understanding the evolution of large brains and intelligence, including that in humans. Accordingly, Prof. Connor has been invited to speak to academic audiences in a range of disciplines, including biology, anthropology, psychology and even political science, and at such prestigious institutions as Harvard, Yale, Oxford, the École Normale Supérieure in Paris and the Royal Society of London. He is available for public speaking engagements.