Dr Safi Darden


Research interests

In my research I investigate the interplay between the behaviour of individuals and the processes and patterns expressed at the population level. My main line of research is aimed at understanding how inter-individual sexual interactions act as a driving force for social evolution. Using the Trinidadian guppy (Poecilia reticulata) as a model system, I have developed a novel research framework for exploring selection for social traits in the context of sexual conflict (i.e. the conflict of interest between the sexes over reproduction). Specifically, I am examining factors that drive social associations amongst females and how male coercive mating tactics affect female sociality over developmental and evolutionary time. A major component of this work lies in identifying the underlying biological mechanisms driving changes in social behaviour.

Research projects

I am currently taking on PhD and Masters by Research students (funding contingent). Any specific projects are listed below, but you can also get in touch with other project ideas.

PhD studentship competition: Flexible courtship strategies in the fiddler crab Afruca tangeri, NERC GW4+ DTP

Masters by Research: Social consequences of sexual harassment in a non-human primate (in collaboration with Dr. Lauren Brent)


Research grants

  • 2015 Leverhulme Trust
    The evolution of eye salience as a signal for communication
  • 2013 FNU (The Danish Council for Independent Research / Natural S
    Social niche construction and evolutionary implications for animal behaviour
  • 2010 Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour
    Research Grant: Neighbourhood effects associated with social signalling: an investigation with the European fiddler crab (Uca tangeri)
  • 2010 International Society for Behavioral Ecology
    Travel grant: Social implications of the battle of the sexes: sexual harassment disrupts female sociality and social recognition
  • 2010 Leverhulme Trust
    Early Career Fellowship: Social implications of the battle of the sexes
  • 2010 FNU (The Danish Council for Independent Research / Natural S
    Cognitive and physical aspects of animal communication networks

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