Dr David Jacoby

Lancaster University

Email: d.jacoby@lancaster.ac.uk

David is a Lecturer in Zoology in the Lancaster Environment Centre. Prior to this, he completed his PhD at the University of Exeter before becoming a Research Associate and then a Research Fellow at the Institute of Zoology within the Zoological Society of London. David leads the Network Ecology and Telemetry Lab and his research focuses on animal movement and social ecology, biotelemetry, and broadly exploring how the behavioural strategies of marine organisms can inform the management and conservation of marine biodiversity and the ecosystem services they provide. He has a number of field studies running in the Indian, Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.

Research Interests

David’s research covers the behavioural ecology, functional role and conservation of marine predators largely using reef sharks as a model. His research covers three main research areas:

Exploring the interface between spatial and social ecology. There is an inherent link between the ways in which animals move and how the socialise and understanding this relationship is critical for determining how populations are structured in space and time. This is especially challenging for wide-ranging, marine species. This work aims to establish what drives marine predators to aggregate and socialise and how this influences nutrient dynamics through their role as vectors which is important for determining the true role of these animals in delicately balanced ecosystems such as coral reefs.

Understanding how behaviour can influence functional processes and inform management and conservation. Sharks globally are highly threatened and many populations of both coastal and pelagic species have faced unprecedented declines in the last 50 years. The basic ecology of a number of these declining species remains a mystery which has hampered conservation efforts to help with recovery. This research focuses on better understanding how shark behaviour influences their susceptibility to threat and their capacity to recover from disturbance using several model systems inside and outside Marine Protected Areas (e.g. reef sharks in the British Indian Ocean Territory MPA, tiger sharks around ecotourist ventures).

Development of new methodological approaches for inferring behaviour from tracking data. This research area is focused on making the most of tracking data deployed on animals, often at great expense under challenging circumstances. Using network analyses, remote sensing and machine learning, this work attempts to derive metrics that describe an animals relationship to its local environment, providing a toolkit to measure change over time and in response to a changing climate.

Royal Society: Inferring animal social networks and leadership

Bertarelli Foundation Seminar: The application of tracking data for improving MPA enforcement

Selected Publications

  • Jacoby DMP, Ferretti F, Freeman R, Carlisle AB, Chapple TK, Curnick DJ, … Block BA (2020) Shark movement strategies influence poaching risk and can guide enforcement decisions in a large, remote Marine Protected Area. Journal of Applied Ecology 57(9): 1782-1792.
  • Williams JJ, Papastamatiou YP, Caselle JE, Bradley D & Jacoby DMP (2018) Mobile marine predators: An understudied source of nutrients to coral reefs in an unfished atoll. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 285 (1875).
  • Jacoby DMP & Freeman R (2016) Emerging Network-Based Tools in Movement Ecology. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 31(4): 301-314.
  • Jacoby DMP, Papastamatiou YP & Freeman R (2016) Inferring animal social networks and leadership: applications for passive monitoring arrays. Journal of The Royal Society Interface 13(124): 20160676.
  • Jacoby DMP, Croft DP & Sims DW (2012) Social behaviour in sharks and rays: analysis, patterns and implications for conservation. Fish and Fisheries 13(4): 399–417.