Profile

Dr Luke Rendell

Dr Luke Rendell
MASTS Reader in Biology


 


"The true biologist deals with life, with teeming boisterous life, and learns something from it, learns that the first rule of life is living"
John Steinbeck, The Log from the Sea of Cortez


ResearcherID: G-2594-2010 orcid.org/0000-0002-1121-9142

I am a Reader in Biology supported by the Marine Alliance for Science and Technology Scotland (MASTS). I am affiliated with the Scottish Ocean Institute, Sea Mammal Research Unit, the Centre for Biological Diversity, the Centre for Social Learning and Cognitive Evolution, and the Institute of Behavioural and Neural Sciences.

I have broad research interests, largely centred around the evolution of learning, behaviour and communication, with a special focus on marine mammals.

Latest paper(s)
Nick A.R. Jones, Mike Webster, Christopher N. Templeton, Stefan Schuster, Luke Rendell (2018) Presence of an audience and consistent interindividual differences affect archerfish shooting behaviour. Animal Behaviour DOI: 10.1016/j.anbehav.2018.04.024

In this study we investigated whether archerfish display any behavioural changes in response to the presence of an audience while using their specialized foraging tactic of spitting precisely aimed jets of water at prey targets. We found that in the presence of another fish, archerfish took longer to shoot, made more orientations (aiming events) per shot, and tended to be closer to the target at the time of shooting. Our results show that archerfish are sensitive to, and adjust their shooting behaviour in response to, the presence of an audience and highlight the importance of social context in this fish species.

Elena Miu, Ned Gulley, Kevin N. Laland & Luke Rendell (2018) Innovation and cumulative culture through tweaks and leaps in online programming contests. Nature Communications volume 9

The ability to build progressively on the achievements of earlier generations is central to human uniqueness, but experimental investigations of this cumulative cultural evolution lack real-world complexity. We studied the dynamics of cumulative culture using a large-scale data set from online collaborative programming competitions run over 14 years. Results showed that cumulative cultural evolution reduces technological diversity over time, as populations focus on refining high-performance solutions. While individual entries borrow from few sources, iterative copying allows populations to integrate ideas from many sources, demonstrating a new form of collective intelligence. Our results imply that maximising technological progress requires accepting high levels of failure.

Book
Our book, The Cultural Lives of Whales and Dolphins is even available at Amazon! Hear it discussed on BBC Radio 4's "Start the Week". Listen to a podcast of a discussion between myself and author Phillip Hoare at the LSE Philosophy Forum here

Research
Sperm whale society and ecology
I have been studying the ecology, communication and societies of sperm whales, the largest of the toothed whales, showing how long lasting social groups use distinctive vocal dialects that appear to be culturally transmitted. Part of this work is my involvement in running the Balearics Sperm Whale Project and as a collaborator of the Dominica Sperm Whale Project.

Culture in whales and dolphins
In whales and dolphins we find examples of both complex communication and apparently widespread social learning, a simple form of culture. I am using statistical models to assess the evidence for social learning in wild cetaceans.

Evolutionary modelling
I also use evolutionary simulation models to understand how these processes like social learning might have evolved, and how they might be related to the evolution of other kinds of behaviour, such as cooperation and niche-construction.

Human social learning
I use experimental approaches to understand how we negotiate the trade-offs involved in deciding whether to use social information to make simple decisions, as a window into how we have evolved to make best use of our cultural inheritance.

East Coast Marine Mammal Acoustic Study (ECOMMAS)
We are deploying passive listening buoys along the Scottish coastline in collaboration with Marine Scotland Science to monitor the impact of coastal windfarm development and also to give insight into acoustic behaviour of marine mammals.

Science without borders!

An approach to academic life: 12 guidelines for survival

Alumni
Dr Charlotte Dunn finished her PhD "Insights into Blainville's Beaked Whale (Mesoplodon densirostris) communication" in January 2015

Dr Thomas Morgan completed his PhD, co-supervised with Kevin Laland and titled "Experimental studies of human social learning and its evolution" in December 2013

Dr Laurel Fogarty completed her PhD, co-supervised with Kevin Laland and titled "From social learning to culture: Mathematical and computational models of cultural evolution" in June 2012

Dr Ricardo Antunes completed his PhD, co-supervised with Phil Hammond and Jonathan Gordon, and titled "Variation in sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus) coda vocalizations and social structure in the North Atlantic Ocean" in March 2009


eXTReMe Tracker

source: symbiosis

 

12 (of 12 published available) for ler4 with keyword Sperm whale clear keyword filter. (source: University of St Andrews PURE)
Please click title of any item for full details

Habitat use of culturally distinct Galápagos sperm whale Physeter macrocephalus clans A Eguiguren, E Pirotta, M Cantor, Luke Edward Rendell, H Whitehead
Marine Ecology Progress Series 2019 vol.609 pp.257-270
Kinship and association do not explain vocal repertoire variation among individual sperm whales or social units Christine M. Konrad, Timothy R. Frasier, Luke Edward Rendell, Hal Whitehead, Shane Gero
Animal Behaviour 2018 vol.145 pp.131-140
Cultural turnover among Galápagos sperm whales Mauricio Cantor, Hal Whitehead, Shane Gero, Luke Edward Rendell
Royal Society Open Science 2016 vol.3
Individual, unit and vocal clan level identity cues in sperm whale codas Shane Gero, Hal Whitehead, Luke Edward Rendell
Royal Society Open Science 2016 vol.3
Mediterranean sperm whales, Physeter macrocephalus Luke Edward Rendell, Alexandros Frantzis
2016 pp.37-74
Novel application of a quantitative spatial comparison tool to species distribution data Esther Lane Jones, Luke Edward Rendell, Enrico Pirotta, Jed Long
Ecological Indicators 2016 vol.70 pp.67-76
Abundance and movements of sperm whales in the western Mediterranean basin Luke Edward Rendell, S. Simião, J. M. Brotons, S. Airoldi, D. Fasano, A. Gannier
Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems 2014 vol.24 pp.31-40
Assessing sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus) movements within the western Mediterranean Sea through photo-identification Eva Carpinelli, Pauline Gauffier, Philippe Verborgh, Sabina Airoldi, Léa David, Nathalie Di-Méglio, Ana Maria Canadas, Alexandros Frantzis, Luke Edward Rendell, Tim Lewis, Barbara Mussi, Daniela Silvia Pace, Renaud De Stephanis
Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems 2014 vol.24 pp.23-30
Foraging dives of sperm whales in the north-western Mediterranean Sea Alexandre Gannier, Estelle Petiau, Violaine Dulau, Luke Edward Rendell
Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom 2012 vol.92 pp.1799-1808
Individually distinctive acoustic features in sperm whale codas Ricardo Nuno Antunes, Tyler Schulz, Shane Gero, Hal Whitehead, Jonathan Charles David Gordon, Luke Edward Rendell
Animal Behaviour 2011 vol.81 pp.723-730
Measuring inter-pulse intervals in sperm whale clicks Ricardo Nuno Antunes, Luke Edward Rendell, Jonathan Charles David Gordon
Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 2010 vol.127 pp.3239-3247
Sperm whale diet variation by sex, location, year, social group and clan M Marcoux, H Whitehead, Luke Edward Rendell
Marine Ecology Progress Series 2007 vol.333 pp.309-314

Contact

The Secretary
Scottish Oceans Institute
Institiud Chuantan na h-Alba
Gatty Marine Laboratory
East Sands St Andrews
KY16 8LB
Scotland
UK

tel: +44 (0) 1334 463472
fax: +44 (0) 1334 463443
email: soi@st-andrews.ac.uk

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