Dr Alexander Wilson

Dr Alexander Wilson

Lecturer in Behavioural Ecology

School of Biological and Marine Sciences (Faculty of Science and Engineering)



Lecturer in Behavioural Ecology
Programme Leader - BSc Zoology


2018- Lecturer in Behavioural Ecology, Plymouth University (UK)
2016-2017 Post-Doc, University of Sydney (Australia)
2015-2016 Alfred Deakin Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Deakin University (Australia)
2014 Certificate in University Teaching, Carleton University (Canada)
2013-2015 Post-Doc, Carleton University (Canada)
2010-2013 IGB/ Alexander von Humboldt Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Leibniz Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries (Germany)
2006-2010 PhD Biology, Carleton University (Canada)
2003-2005 MSc Zoology, University of Guelph (Canada)
1999-2003 BSc (Hons) Marine & Freshwater Biology, University of Guelph (Canada)

Professional membership

Fellow, Higher Education Academy (FHEA)

Roles on external bodies

Associate Editor: Behaviour (Brill)



Teaching interests

I am the programme lead for the BSc Zoology Programme

I lead the following modules:

  • BIOL132Z Ecology and the Diversity of Life
  • BIOL230Z Zoology Field Course (Kenya)
  • BIOL232Z Comparative Zoology



Research interests

My research is focused on understanding how individual-level attributes (behaviour, physiology, morphology) influence higher-level (groups, populations) processes in terms of ecology and evolution. My interests span: (a) social network analysis and collective behaviour, (b) animal cognition and behavioural syndromes, (c) human-induced rapid environmental change (tourism, harvest, pollution), and (e) the use of animal tracking technologies and electronic sensory tags in ecology and conservation.




Wilson, A.D.M., Schaerf, T. Ward, A.J.W. (In press). Individual and collective behaviour of fish subject to differing risk-level treatments with a sympatric predator. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology.

Firth, L.B., Clubley, C., Mcgrath, A. et al. (In press). If you can’t beat them, join them: enemy shells as refugia from grazing & competition pressure.  Oceanography and Marine Biology: An Annual Review, Volume 61

Cooke, S.J., Auld, H.L., Birnie-Gauvin, K. et al. (2022). On the relevance of animal behavior to the management and conservation of fishes and fisheries. Environmental Biology of Fishes. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10641-022-01255-3

Birnie-Gauvin, K., Larsen, M.H., Peiman, K.S., Midwood, J.D., Wilson, A.D.M., Cooke, S.J., Aarestrup, K. (2021). No evidence for long-term carryover effects in a wild salmonid fish. Physiological and Biochemical Zoology, 94(5):319-329. doi: 10.1086/716000.

Szekeres P., Haak, C.R., Wilson, A.D.M., Danylchuk, A.J., Brownscombe, J.W., Shultz, A.D., and S.J. Cooke. (2020). Juvenile bonefish (Albula vulpes) show a preference to shoal with mojarra (Eucinostomus spp.) in the presence of conspecifics and another gregarious cooccurring species. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, 527, 151374. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jembe.2020.151374

Raby, G., Chapman, J.M., de Bruijn, R., Eliason, E.J., Elvidge, C.K., Hasler, C.T., Madliger, C.L., Nyboer, E.A., Reid, A.J., Roche, D.G., Rytwinski, T., Ward, T.D., Wilson, A.D.M., and S.J. Cooke. (2020). Teaching post-secondary students in ecology and evolution: Strategies for early-career researchers. Ideas in Ecology and Evolution, https://doi.org/10.24908/iee.2020.13.3.e PDF

Hansen, M.J., Krause, S., Breuker, M., Kurvers, R.H.J.M. , Dhellemmes, F., Viblanc, P.E., Müller, J., Mahlow, C., Boswell, K., Marras, S., Domenici, P., Wilson, A.D.M., Herbert-Read, J.E., Steffensen, J. F., Fritsch, G., Hildebrandt, T.B., Zaslansky, P., Bach, P., Sabarros P.S., and J. Krause. (2020). Linking hunting weaponry to attack strategies in sailfish and striped marlin. Proceedings of the Royal Society B, https://doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2019.2228 PDF

Gallagher, A.J., Lawrence, M.L., Jain-Schlaepfer, S.M.R., Gilmour, K.M., Wilson, A.D.M., and S.J. Cooke. (2019). Effects of predator exposure on baseline and stress-induced glucocorticoid hormone concentrations in pumpkinseed Lepomis gibbosus. Journal of Fish Biology, 95(3): 969-973. https://doi.org/10.1111/jfb.14084

Burns, A.L., Wilson, A.D.M., and A.J.W. Ward. (2019). Behavioural interdependence in a shrimp-goby mutualism. Journal of Zoology, 308(4): 274-279. https://doi.org/10.1111/jzo.12673 PDF

Wilson, A.D.M., Burns, A.L.J., Crosato, E., Lizier, J. Prokopenko, M., Schaerf, T., and A.J.W. Ward. (2019). Conformity in the collective: Differences in hunger affect individual and group behaviour in a shoaling fish. Behavioral Ecology, 30(4): 968-974. https://doi.org/10.1093/beheco/arz036

Wilson, A.D.M. and C.D. Kelly. (2019). Do alternative reproductive strategies in the Wellington tree weta represent different behavioural types? Ethology, 125:380-391. https://doi.org/10.1111/eth.12862 PDF

Kent, M.I.A., Burns, A.L., Figueira, W.F., Mazue, G.P.F., Porter, A., Wilson, A.D.M. and A.J.W. Ward. (2019). Risk-balancing through selective use of social and physical information. Journal of Zoology, 308(4): 235-242. https://doi.org/10.1111/jzo.12669 PDF

Sbragaglia, V., Alós, J., Fromm, K., Monk, C.T., Diaz-Gil, C., Uusi-Heikkilä, S., Honnsey, A.E., Wilson, A.D.M., and R. Arlinghaus. (2019). Experimental size-selective harvesting affects behavioral types of a social fish. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society, 148:552-568. https://doi.org/10.1002/tafs.10160 PDF

Finger, J.S., Guttridge, T., Wilson, A.D.M., Gruber, S. and J. Krause (2018). Are some sharks more social than others? Short and long-term consistency in the social behavior of juvenile lemon sharks. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 72:17. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00265-017-2431-0 PDF

Landsman, S.J., Wilson, A.D.M., Cooke, S.J. and M.R. van den Heuvel. (2017). Fishway passage success for migratory rainbow smelt (Osmerus mordax) is not dictated by behavioural type. River research and Applications, 33(8):1257–1267 PDF

Wilson, A.D.M., “Thermal imaging techniques to survey and monitor animals in the wild: A methodology. Kirk J. Havens, Edward J. Sharp,” The Quarterly Review of Biology, 92, no. 2 (June 2017): 183-184 (book review)

Peiman, K.S., Birnie-Gauvin,K., Midwood, J.D., Larsen, M.H., Wilson, A.D.M., Aarestrup, K. and S.J. Cooke. (2017). If and when: Intrinsic differences and environmental stressors influence migration in brown trout (Salmo trutta). Oecologia, 184(2):375-384 PDF

Wilson, A.D.M., Szekeres, P., Violich, M., Gutowsky, L.F.G., Eliason, E. and S.J. Cooke. (2017). Activity syndromes and metabolism in giant deep-sea isopods. Deep-Sea Research Part 1, 121:237-244 PDF

Krause, J., Herbert-Read J.E., Seebacher, F., Domenici, P., Wilson, A.D.M., Marras S., Svendsen M.B.S., Strömbom, D., Steffensen J.F., Krause, S., Viblanc P.E., Couillaud P., Bach, P., Sabarros, P.S., Zaslansky, P. and Kurvers R.H.J.M. (2017). Injury-mediated decrease in locomotor performance increases predation risk in schooling fish. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B, 372: 20160232 PDF

Kurvers R.H.J.M., Krause S., Viblanc P.E., Herbert-Read J.E., Zalansky P., Domenici, P., Marras S., Steffensen J.F., Svendsen M.B.S., Wilson A.D.M., Couillaud P., Boswell, K. and J. Krause. (2017). The evolution of lateralisation in group hunting sailfish. Current Biology, 27:521-526 PDF

Griffin, L., Brownscombe, J.W., Gagne, T.O., Wilson, A.D.M., Cooke, S.J.C. and A.J. Danylchuk. (2017). Individual-level behavioral responses of immature green turtles to snorkeler disturbance. Oecologia, 183(3): 909-917 PDF

Cooke, E., Wilson, A.D.M., Elvidge, C. and S.J. Cooke. (2017). Does capture method or the presence of aquatic protected areas influence the selective harvest of behavioural types in largemouth bass? Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, 74(8):1151-1157 PDF

Szekeres, P., Wilson, A.D.M., Haak, C.R., Danylchuk, A.J., Brownscombe, J.W., Elvidge, C.K., Shultz, A.D. Birnie-Gauvin, K., Cooke, S.J. (2017). Does coastal light pollution alter the nocturnal behavior and blood physiology of juvenile bonefish (Albula vulpes)? Bulletin of Marine Science, 93(2):491-505 PDF

Cooke, S.J., Wesch, S., Donaldson, L.A., Wilson, A.D.M. and N. Haddaway. (2017). A call for evidence-based conservation and management of fisheries and aquatic resources. Fisheries, 42(3): 143-149 PDF

Twardek, W.M., Elvidge, C.K., Wilson, A.D.M., Algera, D.A., Zoldero, A., Lougheed, S.C., and S.J. Cooke. (2017). Do protected areas mitigate the effects of fisheries-induced evolution on parental care behaviour of a teleost fish? Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems, 27:789-796 PDF

Magel, J.M.T., Pleizier, N., Wilson, A.D.M., Shultz, A.D., Vera-Chang, M.N., Moon, T.W. and S.J. Cooke. (2017). Do physical habitat complexity and predator cues influence the baseline and stress-induced glucocorticoid levels of a mangrove-associated fish? Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology A, 203: 281-287 PDF

Gutowsky, L.F.G., Sullivan, B., Wilson, A.D.M. and S.J. Cooke. (2017). Synergistic and interactive effects of angler behaviour, gear type, and fish behaviour on hooking depth in passively angled fish. Fisheries Research 186(3):612-618 PDF

Wilson, A.D.M., Hayden, T., Vandergoot, C., Kraus, R.T., Dettmers, J., Cooke, S.J. and C. C. Krueger. (2017). Does implantation of internal telemetry transmitters alter the post-release behaviour of migratory fish? Ecology of Freshwater Fish, 26:292-300 PDF

Krause, S. *, Wilson, A.D.M. * , Ramnarine, I.W., Herbert-Read, J.E., Clement, R.J.G. and J. Krause. (2017). Guppies occupy consistent positions in social networks: Mechanisms and consequences. Behavioural Ecology , 28 (2): 429-438 PDF *Equal Contribution

Herbert-Read, J., Romanczuk, P., Krause, S., Strömbom, D. Couillaud, P., Domenici, P.,Kurvers, R.H.J.M., Marras, S., Steffensen, J.F., Wilson, A.D.M. and J. Krause. (2016). Proto-cooperation: Group hunting sailfish improve hunting success by alternating attacks on grouping prey. Proceedings of the Royal Society B, 283:20161671 PDF

Binder, T.R., Wilson, A.D.M., Wilson, S.M., Suski, C.D., Godin, J.-G., and S.J. Cooke. (2016). Is there a pace-of-life syndrome linking boldness and metabolic capacity for locomotion in bluegill sunfish? Animal Behaviour, 121: 175-183 PDF

Cooke, S.J., Wilson, A.D.M., Elvidge, C.K., Lennox, R.J., Jepsen, N., Colotelo, A.H. and R.S. Brown. (2016). Ten practical realities for Institutional Animal Care and Use Committees when evaluating protocols dealing with fish in the field. Reviews in Fish Biology and Fisheries, 26(1): 123-133 PDF

Gallagher, A.J., Lawrence, M.J., Jain-Schlaepfer, S.M.R., Wilson, A.D.M. and S.J. Cooke. (2016). Predators transmit fear in three-dimensions and influence parental care of prey. Canadian Journal of Zoology, 94:863-870 PDF

Svendsen, M.B.S., Domenici, P., Marras, S., Krause, J., Boswell, K.M., Rodriguez-Pinto, I., Wilson, A.D.M., Kurvers, R.H.J.M., Viblanc, P., Finger, J.P. and J.F. Steffensen. (2016). Maximum swimming speeds of sailfish and three other large marine predatory fish species based on muscle contraction time and stride length. Biology Open, 5(10):1415-1419 PDF

Gutowsky, L.F.G., Brownscombe, J.W., Wilson, A.D.M., Szekeres, P., Cooke, S.J. (2016). Improved performance, within-individual consistency and between-individual differences in the righting behaviour of the Caribbean sea star, Oreaster reticulatus. Behaviour, 153: 1763-1776 PDF

Cooke, S.J., Nguyen, V.M., Wilson, A.D.M., Donaldson, M.R., Gallagher, A., Hammerschlag, N. and N.R. Haddaway. (2016). The need for speed in a crisis discipline: perspectives on peer review duration and implications for conservation science. Endangered Species Research, 30:11-18 PDF

Sullivan, B.S., Wilson, A.D.M., Gutowsky, L.F.G., Patrick, P.H., Sills, M. and S.J. Cooke. (2016). The behavioural responses of a warmwater teleost to different spectra of light-emitting diodes. North American Journal of Fisheries Management, 36 (5): 1000-1005 PDF

Wilson, A.D.M., Brownscombe, J.W., Sullivan, B., Jain-Schlaepfer, S.M.R. and S.J. Cooke. (2015). Does angling technique selectively target fishes based on their behavioural type? PLOS ONE, pone.0135848 PDF

Wilson, A.D.M.c, Brownscombe, J.W.c, Krause, J., Krause, S., Gutowsky, L., Brooks, E. and S.J. Cooke. (2015). Integrating advances in network analysis, sensor tags and direct observation to understand shark ecology and behaviour. Behavioral Ecology, 26(6):1577-1586 PDF

Wilson, A.D.M., Krause, S., Ramnarine, I., Borner, K., Clement, R.J.G., Kurvers, R.H.J.M and J. Krause. (2015). Social networks in changing environments. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 69:1617-1629 PDF

Wilson, A.D.M., Wikelski, M., Wilson, R.P. and S.J. Cooke. (2015). Utility of biological sensor tags in animal conservation. Conservation Biology, 29(4): 1065-1075 PDF

Pleizier, N., Wilson, A.D.M., Shultz, A.D. and S.J. Cooke. (2015). Puffed and bothered: personality, performance, and the effects of stress on checkered pufferfish. Physiology and Behavior, 152:68-78 PDF

Nguyen, V.M., Haddaway, N.R., Gutowsky, L.F.G., Wilson, A.D.M., Gallagher, A.J., Donaldson, M.R., Hammerschlag, N. and S.J. Cooke. (2015). How long is too long in contemporary peer review? Perspectives from authors publishing in conservation biology journals. PLOS ONE, pone.0132557 PDF

Moraga, A.D., Wilson, A.D.M., S.J. Cooke. (2015). Does lure colour influence catch per unit effort, fish capture size and hooking injury in angled largemouth bass? Fisheries Research,172: 1-6 PDF

Marras, S., Noda, T., Steffensen, J.F., Svendsen, M.B.S., Krause, J., Wilson, A.D.M., Kurvers, R.H.J.M., Herbert-Read, J., Boswell, K.M. and P. Domenici. (2015). Not so fast: Swimming behavior of sailfish during predator-prey interactions using high-speed video and accelerometry. Integrative and Comparative Biology, 55(4): 719-727, DOI: 10.1093/icb/icv017 PDF

Larsen, M.H., Johnsson, J.I., Winberg, S., Wilson, A.D.M., Hammenstig, D., Thörnqvist, P.,Midwood, J.D., Aarestrup, K. and E. Höglund. (2015). Effects of emergence time and early social rearing environment on behaviour of Atlantic salmon: consequences for juvenile fitness and smolt migration. PLOS ONE, 10(3): e0119127 PDF

Struthers, D., Danylchuk, A., Wilson, A.D.M. and S.J. Cooke. (2015). Action cameras: bringing aquatic and fisheries research into view. Fisheries, 40(10): 502-512 PDF

Brownscombe, J.W., Wilson, A.D.M., Samson, E., Nowell, L., Cooke, S.J. and A. Danylchuk. (2015). Individual differences in activity and habitat selection of juvenile queen conch evaluated using acceleration biologgers. Endangered Species Research, 27: 181-188 PDF

Domenici, P.*,Wilson, A.D.M.*, Kurvers, R.H.J.M., Marras, S. Herbert-Read, J.E., Steffensen, J.F., Krause, S., Viblanc, P.E., Couillaud, P. and J. Krause. (2014). How sailfish use their bills to capture schooling prey. Proceedings of the Royal Society B, 281(1784) (DOI:10.1098/rspb.2014.0444) PDF Sup. info.  *Equal Contribution

Wilson, A.D.M. and J. Krause. (2014). Personality and social network analysis in animals. In: Krause, J., James, R., Franks, D., and Croft, D.P. (eds.) Animal Social Networks, pp. 53-60. Oxford University Press, Oxford. DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199679041.003.0006

Krause, J., Croft, D.P. and A.D.M. Wilson. (2014). The network approach in teleost fishes and elasmobranchs. In: Krause, J., James, R., Franks, D., and Croft, D.P. (eds.) Animal Social Networks, pp. 150-159. Oxford University Press, Oxford. DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199679041.003.0014

Wilson, A.D.M., Croft, D.P. and J. Krause. (2014). Social networks in elasmobranchs and teleost fishes. Fish and Fisheries, 15: 676-689 PDF

Wilson, A.D.M.*, Krause, S.*, James, R., Croft, D.P., Ramnarine, I., Borner, K., Clement,R.J.G., and J. Krause. (2014). Dynamic social networks in guppies (Poecilia reticulata). Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 68:915-925 PDF *Equal contribution

Wilson, A.D.M., Krause, J., Herbert-Read, J.E. and A.J.W. Ward. (2014). The personality behind cheating: behavioural types and the feeding ecology of cleaner fish. Ethology, 120:904-912 PDF

Kurvers, R.H.J.M., Krause, J., Croft, D.P., Wilson, A.D.M. and M. Wolf. (2014). The evolutionary and ecological consequences of animal social networks: emerging issues. Trends in Ecology and Evolution, 29:326-335 PDF

Bierbach, D., Oster, S., Jourdan, J., Arias-Rodriguez, L., Krause, J., Wilson, A.D.M. and M. Plath. (2014). Social network analysis resolves temporal dynamics of male dominance relationships. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 68: 935-945 PDF

Brownscombe, J.W., Marchand, K., Tisshaw, K., Fewster, V., Groff, O., Pichette, M., Seed,M., Gutowsky, L.F.G., Wilson, A.D.M. and S.J. Cooke. (2014). The influence of water temperature and accelerometer-determined fight intensity on physiological stress and reflex impairment of angled largemouth bass. Conservation Physiology, 2: cou057 PDF

Wilson, A.D.M., Krause, S., Dingemanse, N.J. and J. Krause. (2013). Network position: A key component in the characterization of social personality types. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 67:163-173 PDF

Wilson, A.D.M. and J. Krause. (2013). Repeated non-agonistic interactions between a bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) and sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus) in Azorean Waters. Aquatic Mammals, 39: 89-96 PDF

Ward, A.J.W., James, R., Wilson, A.D.M. and M.M. Webster. (2013). Site fidelity and localised homing behaviour in three-spined sticklebacks (Gasterosteus aculeatus). Behaviour, 150:1689-1708 PDF

Wilson, A.D.M. and J. Krause. (2012). Metamorphosis and animal personality: A neglected opportunity. Trends in Ecology and Evolution, 27: 529-531 PDF

Wilson, A.D.M. and J. Krause. (2012). Personality and metamorphosis: Is behavioral variation consistent across ontogenetic niche shifts? Behavioral Ecology, 23: 1316-1323 PDF

Wilson, A.D.M., Binder, T.R., McGrath, K., Cooke, S.J. and J.-G.J. Godin. (2011). Capture technique and fish personality: angling targets timid bluegill sunfish, Lepomis macrochirus. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, 68: 749-757 PDF

Krause, J., Wilson, A.D.M. and D.P. Croft. (2011). New technology facilitates the study of social networks. Trends in Ecology and Evolution, 26: 5-6 PDF

Wilson, A.D.M. and J.-G.J. Godin. (2010). Boldness and intermittent locomotion in the bluegill sunfish, Lepomis macrochirus. Behavioral Ecology, 21: 57-62 PDF

Wilson, A.D.M., Godin, J.-G.J. and A.J.W. Ward. (2010). Boldness and reproductive fitness correlates in the Eastern mosquitofish, Gambusia holbrooki. Ethology, 116: 96-104 PDF

Wilson, A.D.M. and R.L. McLaughlin. (2010). Foraging behaviour and brain morphology in recently emerged brook charr, Salvelinus fontinalis. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 64: 1905-1914 PDF

Wilson, A.D.M., Whattham, E. M., Bennett, R., Visanuvimol, L., Lauzon, C. and S.M. Bertram. (2010). Behavioral correlations across activity, mating, exploration, aggression and anti-predator contexts in the European house cricket, Acheta domesticus. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 64: 703-715 PDF

Wilson, A.D.M. and J.-G.J. Godin. (2009). Boldness and behavioral syndromes in the bluegill sunfish, Lepomis macrochirus. Behavioral Ecology, 20: 231-237 PDF

Wilson, A.D.M. and R.L. McLaughlin. (2007). Behavioural syndromes in brook charr, Salvelinus fontinalis: prey-search in the field corresponds with space use in novel laboratory situations. Animal Behaviour, 74: 689-698 PDF

Wilson, A.D.M. and E.D. Stevens. (2005). Consistency in context-specific measures of shyness and boldness in rainbow trout, Oncorhynchus mykiss. Ethology, 111: 849-862 PDF