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Dr Rick Bruintjes

Dr Rick Bruintjes

Dr Rick Bruintjes

Research Collaborator

Life Sciences Building,
24 Tyndall Avenue, Bristol BS8 1TQ
(See a map)

+44 (0) 117 954 5945


My main interests lie in Behavioural Ecology. Specifically, I am interesting in the impacts of anthropogenic noise on behaviour and physiology, the evolution of cooperative breeding and intergroup conflict. Many factors could influence animal behaviour and recently, it has been shown that anthropogenic noise is becoming more a more important presence throughout the world, including the underwater world. Having worked for over six years with cooperatively breeding fish, this led us to speculate about the impact of underwater noise on cooperative behaviour. Together with the lab of Dr. Andy Radford, I am currently examining questions concerning the impact of noise on helping behaviour and fry development. Moreover, we have developped several techniques to quantify behavioural responses to noise and have experience in using several fish species including European seabass, European eels and cichlid fish. 

Furthermore I am interested in:

  • physiology (especially stress hormones)
  • aggression
  • group living
  • anthropogenic disturbance


I studied Biology at the University of Groningen (the Netherlands) and completed my MSc in 2003. I did two master projects: the first lab-based project dealt with sex-ratio adjustment and the influence of maternal effects on behaviour in Zebra finches. My second Masters project was conducted at the islands of the Azores in cooperation with the institute of ISPA (Portugal) and the University of the Azores (Portugal), where I studied the effects of 11-Ketotestosterone on paternal behaviour in blenny fish.

I did my PhD at the University of Bern (Switzerland) studying various ecological factors influencing the helping propensity in the cooperatively breeding cichlid fish Neolamprologus pulcher. Following my PhD I worked one and a half years in a pharmaceutical company and half a year as a marine biologist and dive master in the Maldives. Upon my return in Switzerland, I worked as a post-doc at the University of Bern for one year with my former Professor Michael Taborsky studying the evolution of cooperation.

Starting May 2011, I was awarded a research grant by the Swiss National Science Foundation to study the effects of underwater noise on cooperative behaviour and development in N. pulcher in collaboration with Dr. Andy Radford at the University of Bristol. Following this, I was funded by DEFRA to study the impact of anthropogenic noise on fish and momentarily I am funded by a NERC Marine Renewable Energy Internship grant to study the impact of noise on fish behaviour in cooperation with the University of Bristol, University of Exeter and consultancy HR Wallingford. 


  • animal behaviour
  • cooperative breeding
  • helping
  • anthropogenic noise
  • development
  • physiology


  • playback experiments behavioural observations

Selected publications

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Recent publications

View complete publications list in the University of Bristol publications system

Networks & contacts

  • Dik Heg (ISPM in Bern - Switzerland)
  • Michael Taborsky (University of Bern - Switzerland)
  • Albert Ros (University of Neuchatel - Switzerland)
  • Nikolaus von Engelhardt (University of Bielefeld - Germany)
  • Marina Louter (University of South Australia - Australia)

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