Marco Casoli

I have a Bachelor degree summa cum laude in Natural Sciences from the University of Bologna, and a Master degree in Marine Mammal Science from the University of St Andrews. In November 2016, I started a PhD in Biology at St Andrews under the supervision of Prof. Peter Tyack (University of St Andrews), Dr. Mark Johnson (University of St Andrews), and Dr. Frants Jensen (Aarhus University).

I am broadly interested in behavioural ecology and evolutionary biology. In particular, my main fields of interest are reproductive and social behaviour, animal communication, sexual selection, and processes of social learning in mammals and marine mammals. Due to their cognitive skills and social complexity, cetaceans have received considerable research attention in the broad scientific field of social behaviour. However, only recent technologies are starting to offer comparable levels of detail in the behavioural data of cetaceans and terrestrial mammalian case studies. For my PhD project I focus on bottlenose dolphin reproductive behaviour, and I study fine-scale acoustic communication and movement patterns used by individuals in order to mediate agonistic and cooperative reproductive interactions. For this purpose, I rely on Dtag, drone and focal-follow data from the resident dolphin population in Sarasota Bay, Florida, where individuals within social pairs are simultaneously instrumented with Dtags and followed throughout tagging periods.

I also study male reproductive behaviour and agonistic communication in northern elephant seals, a species with an extreme female defence polygyny and intense male-male competition. In particular, I collaborate with on-going research projects on the population in Año Nuevo, California.