Being the only felid in which both sexes are social, lions are likely to have evolved a range of communicative signals that allow them to both coordinate their activities with group members, and also to defend their territories from rival lions. Geoff’s research has further explored what information lions communicate to conspecifics through their long-distance vocalisations, and forms one of the first investigations into how wild lions use olfactory communication. Through such research, it is our ultimate goal to investigate the feasibility of using the long-distance vocalisations of lions to create a ’Biological-Barrier’ that could be used to help prevent human-lion conflict by moving lions away from livestock.
Geoff’s research utilizes a combination of population monitoring, natural behavioural observation, as well as acoustic and olfactory experimentation. Population monitoring contributes to continent-wide surveys of the African lion, and monitoring the status of the lions in the Okavango Delta Wetlands; a dedicated RAMSAR site. In the course of this work Geoff became particularly interested in the maned lionesses of Moremi)
Geoff’s direct behavioural observations from a research vehicle contribute to our understanding of how lions use their olfactory and acoustic signals to communicate with their conspecifics in a natural setting. Finally, his experimental work examines how lions respond to acoustic and olfactory cues signalled by other lions within their environment.
More specifically, Geoff has experimentally investigated 1. How lions interact with rivals during a territorial dispute, 2. How lions coordinate their activities with group-mates, and 3. How lions assess and attract potential mating partners.
This work is funded by The Study Abroad Studentship from The Leverhulme Trust in the U.K. Additional funding has been provided by IDEAWILD. Geoff is now in the process of writing up his thesis.