Prof Vincent Janik

Prof Vincent Janik
Professor of Biology
Director of Scottish Oceans Institute


  • 1992 German Masters degree in Biology (Freie Universität Berlin, Germany)
  • 1998 PhD (University of St Andrews,UK)
  • 1998-2000 German National Merit Foundation Postdoctoral Investigator (Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, USA)
  • 2001 Marie-Curie Postdoctoral Investigator (University of St Andrews, UK)
  • 2002-2009 Royal Society University Research Fellow (University of St Andrews, UK)
  • 2009/2010 Fellow of the Wisseschaftskolleg Berlin - Centre for Advanced Study, Germany
  • 2009-2014 Reader in Biology (University of St Andrews, UK)
  • since 2014 Professor in Biology (University of St Andrews, UK)

I am working in the field of animal communication, specializing in marine mammals. My main research interest is the evolution of complexity in communication systems and how this complexity can affect social interaction. This work takes two different approaches. I investigate environmental constraints that influence the design of vocal communication systems and the underlying cognitive skills required to overcome or circumvent such constraints. Much of this work concentrates on vocal communication in the bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus). This species combines the ability of vocal learning with complex cognitive skills that exceed those of most other animals. Comparative work focuses on grey and harbour seals as well as other dolphin species. I am a member of the Sea Mammal Research Unit and the Centre for Social Learning and Cognitive Evolution. If you want to join my group, please click here.

source: symbiosis


Recent publications listed in research@st-andrews
Harris, CM, Thomas, L, Falcone, E, Hildebrand, J, Houser, D, Kvadsheim, P, Lam, F-PA, Miller, P, Moretti, DJ, Read, A, Slabbekoorn, H, Southall, BL, Tyack, PL, Wartzok, D & Janik, VM 2017, 'Marine mammals and sonar: dose-response studies, the risk-disturbance hypothesis and the role of exposure context' Journal of Applied Ecology, vol Early view. DOI: 10.1111/1365-2664.12955
Sayigh, L & Janik, V 2017, Cetacean Communication. in J Mann (ed.), Deep thinkers: inside the minds of whales, dolphins, and porpoises. University of Chicago Press, Chicago, pp. 66-91.
Stansbury, A, Deecke, V, Gotz, T & Janik, VM 2016, Potential uses of anthropogenic noise as a source of information in animal sensory and communication systems. in AN Popper & A Hawkins (eds), The Effects of Noise on Aquatic Life II. Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology, vol. 875, Springer, pp. 1105-1111. DOI: 10.1007/978-1-4939-2981-8_137
Quick, NJ, Arso Civil, M, Cheney, B, Islas Villanueva, V, Janik, V, Thompson, P & Hammond, PS 2014, The east coast of Scotland bottlenose dolphin population: improving understanding of ecology outside the Moray Firth SAC. OESEA2 Supporting documents, no. 14D/086, Department of Energy and Climate Change.
Gridley, T, Cockcroft, V, Hawkins, ER, Lemon Blewitt, M, Morisaka, T & Janik, VM 2014, 'Signature whistles in free ranging populations of Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins, Tursiops aduncus' Marine Mammal Science, vol 30, no. 2, pp. 512-527. DOI: 10.1111/mms.12054
Cheney, B, Thompson, PM, Ingram, SN, Hammond, PS, Stevick, PT, Durban, JW, Culloch, RM, Elwen, SH, Mandleberg, L, Janik, VM, Quick, NJ, Islas Villanueva, V, Robinson, KP, Costa, M, Eisfeld, SM, Walters, A, Phillips, C, Weir, CR, Evans, PGH, Anderwald, P, Reid, RJ, Reid, JB & Wilson, B 2013, 'Integrating multiple data sources to assess the distribution and abundance of bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) in Scottish waters.' Mammal Review, vol 43, pp. 71-88. DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2907.2011.00208.x
Tyack, PL & Janik, VM 2013, Effects of noise on acoustic signal production in marine mammals. in H Brumm (ed.), Animal Communication and Noise. Animal Signals and Communication, vol. 2, Springer, Berlin, pp. 251-271.
Sayigh, LS & Janik, VM 2010, Signature whistles. in M Breed & J Moore (eds), Encyclopedia of Animal Behaviour. Elsevier.
Slater, PJB & Janik, VM 2010, Vocal learning. in M Breed & J Moore (eds), Encyclopedia of Animal Behaviour. Elsevier.
Janik, VM 2009, 'Whale Song', pp. R109-R111, Current Biology, 19 10 February.
Sayigh, LS & Janik, VM 2009, Signature whistles. in WF Perrin, B Würsig & JGM Thewissen (eds), Encyclopedia of marine mammals, 2nd edition. Academic Press Inc., pp. 1014-1016.
Wigg, Ø, Bachmann, L, Janik, VM, Kovacs, KM & Lydersen, C 2007, 'Spitsbergen bowhead whales revisited' Marine Mammal Science, vol 23, pp. 688-693. DOI: 10.1111/j.1748-7692.2007.02373.x


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

tel: +44 (0) 1334 463472
fax: +44 (0) 1334 463443