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Fellows Directory

Alasdair Houston

Professor Alasdair Houston FRS


Elected: 2012


Alasdair Houston is a biologist who conducts theoretical work on decision making. He is best known for developing and applying the dynamic optimization approach to behavioural ecology. This approach employs stochastic dynamic programming to identify behavioural strategies that maximise inclusive fitness — the retention of genetic traits in a population as encouraged by the altruism of genetically similar individuals.

Alasdair’s varied research interests include examining the daily and annual routines of behaviour. He has also studied the trade-off between feeding and avoiding predators, and the behavioural ecology of diving. The impact of his work on the field of behavioural ecology, in particular, has been significant and far-reaching.

He has received a number of awards in recognition of his work, including the Hamilton Award of the International Society for Behavioral Ecology in 2008 — together with his collaborator, John McNamara — and an Advanced Grant Award from the European Research Council in 2010.

Interests and expertise

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