Aplin Lab

Cognitive & Cultural Ecology

I was recently profiled by Current Biology - you can view it here

I hold joint positions as a Max Planck Research Group Leader Fellowship at the MP Institute of Animal Behavior, and as a senior lecturer at the Australian National University.

I head the Cognitive and Cultural Ecology (CCE) Group, and run the ERC starter grant CULTURES ADAPT (under the Swiss replacement scheme SERI).

Previously, I was a Junior Research Fellow at St John's College, University of Oxford, and a visiting research fellow at the Australian Museum. Before that, I studied for my PhD jointly at the Australian National University and the University of Oxford.

To find out more me, check out CV, my Google scholar page and MPIAB page.


Our research explores the interactions between cognition, sociality and ecology, mostly in birds. We are especially interested their emergent properties - social networks, animal culture and cultural evolution.

In our new ERC/SERI grant CULTURES ADAPT, we aim to conduct a landscape level analysis of socio-cognitive responses to human impact. Using the sulphur-crested cockatoo as our model system, we examine cultural dynamics in increasing, urban-colonising animals.

In general, we have fun expanding our reach with the use of automated data collection, from GPS tags and microphone backpacks to PIT tag/RFID antennae interfacing puzzle-boxes. We also incorporate citizen-science collected data into our projects.

We work on parrots and parids in the wild and in the lab. Our research projects include social cognition and urban culture in sulphur-crested cockatoos, vocal learning in parakeets and cultural evolution in tits.

Contact details
Email: laplin [at] ab.mpg.de
Address: Dr Lucy Aplin; Vogelwarte Radolfzell, Am Obstberg 1, Radolfzell 78315, Germany.