Professor Darren Croft
Professor of Animal Behaviour


I am a behavioural ecologist and my research interests lie in two main questions (i) What are the mechanisms and functions that underpin the structure of animal societies? (ii) What are the evolutionary implications of this structure? To address these questions my research group combines experimental and observational work on wild animal populations with controlled laboratory experiments. The research topics covered by my group are broad and include; the evolution of cooperation, life history evolution, social recognition and sexual conflict. As such we work on a wide range of study systems ranging from small fresh water fish to resident killer whales. We use social network analysis as a tool to unravel the complex nature of how animal societies are structured. Recently we have extended our research to questions of animal health and welfare and we are working with the UK dairy industry to study social components of welfare and productivity in commercial dairy cattle. 

In the news: Listen to Darren talking about is research on sexual conflict in guppies on NERC’s planet earth podcast or read about this work in NERCs planet earth publication. Read about the media interest in our work on dairy cattle or about how our work on social behaviour and life history evolution in killer whales is given new insight into the evolution of menopause. 


2017: Fellow of the Higher Education Academy

2000-2004: PhD in Behavioural Ecology, University of Leeds.

1996-1999: Bachelor of Science with Honours, Biology (Class I), University of Leeds.


2016-Current: Professor of Animal Behaviour, University of Exeter

2014-2016: Associate Professor of Animal Behaviour, University of Exeter

2009-2014: Senior Lecturer in Animal Behaviour, University of Exeter

2008-2009: Lecturer in Animal Behaviour, University of Exeter

2006-2008: Lecturer in Animal Behaviour, University of Wales Bangor

2004-2006: Post Doctoral Research Fellow, University of Leeds


Research group links

Contact details

Internal tel5649
Tel+44 (0) 1392 725649
AddressWashington Singer Laboratories
University of Exeter
Perry Road
Prince of Wales Road
Office hours

Tues 11:30-12:30am

Thurs 1-2pm

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