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Dr Edmund Hunt

Dr Edmund Hunt

Dr Edmund Hunt
BSc (Lond) ARCS, MPhil (Oxon), PhD (Bris)

EPSRC Doctoral Prize Fellow

Area of research

Collective animal behaviour

Office 2.51
Merchant Venturers Building,
Woodland Road, Clifton BS8 1UB
(See a map)

+44 (0) 117 954 5149


I am currently an EPSRC Doctoral Prize Fellow (i.e., postdoctoral researcher) working on translating insights from collective animal behaviour into applications in swarm robotics. I am working at the Bristol Robotics Laboratory with Dr Sabine Hauert, and have a base in University of Bristol Engineering Mathematics in the Merchant Venturers Building.

Prior to my current position I spent a year at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) Ecology & Evolutionary Biology Department, working on social networks of social spiders, with Prof Noa Pinter-Wollman.

My PhD research was concerned with the exploration and decision-making behaviour of the house-hunting ant Temnothorax albipennis, within the field of behavioural ecology and complexity sciences, as an EPSRC-funded PhD student. I was interested in how the behavioural interactions of individual worker ants allows collective problem-solving abilities to emerge. In between science degrees, I studied economics and worked in financial regulation, which is where I first began to think about collective animal behaviour. 


2012-16  PhD in complexity sciences - in progress
2012-13 MRes in complexity sciences, Bristol University - Distinction
2012 Secondee, banking regulation, European Commission
2009-12  Graduate scheme in financial regulation (insurance & banking), FSA*
2007-09  MPhil in economics, Oxford University
2004-07 BSc in physics with theoretical physics, Imperial College London - 1st class
2004 Secondary School Exchange Scholar (PA USA), The English-Speaking Union
  (*now PRA, Bank of England)









Activities / Findings

9 May 2015

Lately I have done my first couple of peer reviews, and to record this contribution to academic life, I have set up a Publons profile here. A useful innovation!

25 Mar 2016

I have spent the past month in Australia visiting the University of Sydney following a generous grant from the Research Mobility Programme of the World Universities Network. Hosted in group of Dr Tanya Latty, I have undertaken field work to investigate the behaviour of the meat ant Iridomyrmex purpureus. I had a great time, and saw a lot of kangaroos! I hope to publish my findings at some point soon.

13 Jan 2016

I have a new paper published today on ant movements. We found that ant movement durations are determined before commencement, which implies that ants only intermittently respond to their social environment. 

See the Bristol Uni press release, and coverage at Science News: 'Ants don't make decisions on the move'

6 Jan 2015  My first paper is now recommended on F1000 Prime:

  Access the recommendation on F1000

24 Dec 2014  My first paper reports that ants have a leftward bias when exploring unknown nest sites. We suggest that this may have adaptive value rather than being incidental. The ants' eusocial organisation may bring additional benefits to coordinating a bias. 

There was a range of media coverage, including:  NPR RadioBBC Radio BristolScience NewsAFP News, Spiegel Online and several other foreign language news sites.


  • Collective animal behaviour
  • Complex systems
  • Social learning
  • Social insects

Recent publications

View complete publications list in the University of Bristol publications system

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