Dr Mike Webster

Lecturer in Behavioural and Evolutionary Biology

tel: 01334 461690
fax: 01334 461690
email: mmw1@st-andrews.ac.uk
room: 3.9  (Harold Mitchell)
Harold Mitchell Building
University of St Andrews
St Andrews
KY16 9TH

General Information

My research is concerned with the functions and evolution of social behaviour in animals. I’m particularly interested in how groups are organised, how animals interact and acquire information from one another, and in how individual behaviour affects and is affected by that of the group. For the most part I use shoaling fishes and aquatic crustaceans as study systems for understanding more general aspects of social behaviour.

For more information and a full list of publications please see my other site.






Recent Publications

Webster, MM & Laland, KN 2017, 'Social information use and social learning in non-grouping fishes' Behavioural Ecology. DOI: 10.1093/beheco/arx121
Riddell, J & Webster, MM 2017, 'How does hunger affect convergence on prey patches in a social forager?' Ethology, vol Early View. DOI: 10.1111/eth.12653
Ward, A, Schaerf, T, Herbert-Read, J, Morrell, L, Sumpter, D & Webster, MM 2017, 'Local interactions and global properties of wild, free-ranging stickleback shoals' Royal Society Open Science. DOI: 10.1098/rsos.170043
Webster, MM, Whalen, ACZ & Laland, KN 2017, 'Fish pool their experience to solve problems collectively' Nature Ecology and Evolution, vol 1, 0135. DOI: 10.1038/s41559-017-0135
Webster, MM 2017, 'Experience and motivation shape leader-follower interactions in fish shoals' Behavioral Ecology, vol 28, no. 1, pp. 77-84. DOI: 10.1093/beheco/arw133
Taylor, DEF, Cownden, D & Webster, MM 2016, 'Sticklebacks show consistent prey-share hierarchies within but not between patchy and sequential prey distributions' Journal of Zoology, vol 300, no. 2, pp. 137-141. DOI: 10.1111/jzo.12350
Seebacher, F, Webster, MM, James, RS, Tallis, J & Ward, AJW 2016, 'Morphological differences between habitats are associated with physiological and behavioural trade-offs in stickleback (Gasterosteus aculeatus)' Royal Society Open Science, vol 3, 1603316. DOI: 10.1098/rsos.160316
Ward, AJW & Webster, MM 2016, Sociality: The Behaviour of Group Living Animals. 1 edn, Springer.
Smith, L & Webster, MM 2015, 'Gammarus pulex show a grouping response to conspecific injury cues but not to predator kairomones' Behavioral Ecology, vol 26, no. 4, pp. 1188-1195. DOI: 10.1093/beheco/arv071
Webster, MM & Laland, KN 2015, 'Space-use and sociability are not related to public-information use in ninespine sticklebacks' Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, vol 69, no. 6, pp. 895-907. DOI: 10.1007/s00265-015-1901-5
Webster, MM & Laland, KN 2015, 'Public information use by foraging ninespine sticklebacks: social learning or an unlearned social influence on travel direction?' Behaviour, vol 152, no. 11, pp. 1569-1584. DOI: 10.1163/1568539X-00003293
Atton, N, Galef, BJ, Hoppitt, W, Webster, MM & Laland, KN 2014, 'Familiarity affects social network structure and discovery of prey patch locations in foraging stickleback shoals' Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, vol 281, no. 1789, 20140579. DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2014.0579
Webster, MM & Laland, KN 2013, 'Local enhancement via eavesdropping on courtship displays in male guppies, Poecilia reticulata' Animal Behaviour, vol 86, no. 1, pp. 75-83. DOI: 10.1016/j.anbehav.2013.04.014
Webster, MM, Atton, N, Hoppitt, WJE & Laland, KN 2013, 'Environmental complexity influences association network structure and network-based diffusion of foraging information in fish shoals' American Naturalist, vol 181, no. 2, pp. 235-244. DOI: 10.1086/668825
Webster, MM & Laland, KN 2013, 'The learning mechanism underlying public information use in ninespine sticklebacks (Pungitius pungitius)' Journal of Comparative Psychology, vol 127, no. 2, pp. 154-165. DOI: 10.1037/a0029602
Ward, A, James, R, Wilson, A & Webster, MM 2013, 'Site fidelity and localised homing behaviour in three-spined sticklebacks (Gasterosteus aculeatus).' Behaviour, vol 150, no. 14, pp. 1689 – 1708. DOI: 10.1163/1568539X-00003115
Atton, N, Hoppitt, W, Webster, MM, Galef, BG & Laland, KN 2012, 'Information flow through threespine stickleback networks without social transmission' Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, vol 279, no. 1745, pp. 4272-4278. DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2012.1462
Laland, KN, Atton, N & Webster, MM 2012, From fish to fashion: experimental and theoretical insights into the evolution of culture. in Culture Evolves. Oxford University Press.
Laland, KN, Dean, L, Hoppitt, WJE, Rendell, LE & Webster, MM 2012, Social learning: strategies, mechanisms and models. in TR Zentall & EA Wasserman (eds), The Oxford Handbook of Comparative Cognition. 2 edn, Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp. 832-850.
Webster, MM & Laland, KN 2012, 'Social information, conformity and the opportunity costs paid by foraging fish' Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology.
Webster, MM, Atton, N, Hart, PJB & Ward, AJW 2011, 'Habitat-specific morphological variation among threespine sticklebacks (Gasterosteus aculeatus) within a drainage basin' PLoS One, vol 6, no. 6, e21060. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0021060
Laland, KN, Atton, N & Webster, MM 2011, 'From fish to fashion: Experimental and theoretical insights into the evolution of culture' Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, vol 366, no. 1567, pp. 958-968. DOI: 10.1098/rstb.2010.0328
Webster, MM & Laland, KN 2011, 'Reproductive state affects reliance on public information in sticklebacks' Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, vol 278, no. 1705, pp. 619-627. DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2010.1562
Webster, MM & Laland, KN 2011, Social Learning and Innovation. in Ecology and Evolution of Poeciliid Fishes. University of Chicago Press.
Webster, MM & Ward, A 2011, 'Personality and Social Context' Biological Review. DOI: 10.1111/j.1469-185X.2010.00169.x
Rendell, LE, Fogarty, L, Hoppitt, WJE, Morgan, TJH, Webster, MM & Laland, KN 2011, 'Cognitive culture: Theoretical and empirical insights into social learning strategies' Trends in Cognitive Sciences, vol 15, pp. 68-76. DOI: 10.1016/j.tics.2010.12.002
Ward, A, Hensor, E, Webster, MM & Hart, P 2010, 'Behavioural thermoregulation in two freshwater fish species' Journal of Fish Biology.
Webster, MM & Laland, KN 2009, 'Evaluation of a non-invasive tagging system for laboratory studies using three-spined sticklebacks Gasterosteus aculeatus' Journal of Fish Biology, vol 75, no. 7, pp. 1868-1873. DOI: 10.1111/j.1095-8649.2009.02374.x
Webster, MM, Ward, A & Hart, P 2009, 'Individual boldness affects interspecific interactions in sticklebacks' Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology.
Ward, AJW, Webster, MM, Magurran, A, Currie, S & Krause, J 2009, 'Species and population differences in social recognition between fishes: a role for ecology?' Behavioral Ecology, vol 20, no. 3, pp. 511-516. DOI: 10.1093/beheco/arp025
Webster, MM & Laland, KN 2008, 'Social Learning Strategies and Predation Risk: Minnows copy only when using private information would be costly' Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, vol 275, no. 1653, pp. 2869-2876. DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2008.0817
Hoppitt, WJE, Brown, GR, Kendal, R, Rendell, LE, Thornton, A, Webster, MM & Laland, KN 2008, 'Lessons from Animal Teaching' Trends in Ecology and Evolution, vol 23, no. 9, pp. 486-493. DOI: 10.1016/j.tree.2008.05.008
Webster, MM, Adams, EL & Laland, KN 2008, 'Diet-specific chemical cues influence association preferences and prey patch use in a shoaling fish' Animal Behaviour, vol 76, no. 1, pp. 17-23. DOI: 10.1016/j.anbehav.2007.12.010
Webster, MM, Ward, AJW & Hart, PJB 2008, 'Shoal and prey patch choice by co-occurring fishes and prawns: inter-taxa use of socially transmitted cues' Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, vol 275, pp. 203-208. DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2007.1178
Webster, MM, Goldsmith, J, Ward, AJW & Hart, PJB 2007, 'Habitat-specific chemical cues influence association preferences and shoal cohesion in fish' Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, vol 62, pp. 273-280. DOI: 10.1007/s00265-007-0462-7
Webster, MM, Atton, N, Ward, AJW & Hart, PJB 2007, 'Turbidity and foraging rate in threespine sticklebacks: the importance of visual and chemical prey cues' Behaviour, vol 144, pp. 1347-1360. DOI: 10.1163/156853907782418222
Webster, MM & Hart, PJB 2007, 'Prior association reduces kleptoparasitic prey competition in shoals of three-spined sticklebacks' Animal Behaviour, vol 74, pp. 253-258. DOI: 10.1016/j.anbehav.2006.07.021
Webster, MM, Ward, AJW & Hart, PJB 2007, 'Boldness is influenced by social context in threespine sticklebacks (Gasterosteus aculeatus)' Behaviour, vol 144, pp. 351-371.

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