EARG Member Profile
Dr Russell Hill, BSc, MPhil, PhD
My main research interests are in the behavioural ecology of primates and other large mammals and in particular in understanding the decisions animals make about their social and reproductive strategies. In doing so I combine field studies with theoretical analyses based on modelling. I run the Primate & Predator Project based at the Lajuma Research Centre in the Soutpansberg Mountains, South Africa, and have previously managed other projects in South Africa based at De Hoop Nature Reserve and in the Kruger National Park. My postgraduate students have conducted projects across southern Africa, and increasingly our work is examining mammalian conservation and human-wildlife conflict from an interdiscplinary perspective. I also have interests in applying evolutionary principles to explore a number of different aspects of human behaviour, particularly in understanding the role of the colour red in human competitive interactions.
I am interested in supervising students in any of my research interests, including primate behaviour and ecology, predator-prey interactions and interdisciplinary approaches to conservation and human-wildlife conflict.
Primate & Predator Project
Protected areas are the cornerstone of local, regional, and global strategies for biodiversity conservation. As human populations continue to rise and human activities convert and degrade lowland habitats, mountainous regions are increasingly important to species conservation. Mountainous areas are often noted for high concentrations of endemic species of animals and plants, and thus represent an important focus for conservation research. Our study aims to understand the ecology of species living in a biodiversity hotspot in the mountains of South Africa and examines the threat of human activity to species conservation.
Our project is based at the Lajuma Research Centre within the Soutpansberg Mountain Range, an area recognized nationally as a centre of endemism and biodiversity. The mountains fall within the Vhembe UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and form part of the North-Eastern Escarpment Bio-region, an area highlighted by the South African National Biodiversity Institute as a priority for conservation research. Our study is addressing this need.
Primate & Predator Project: http://www.dur.ac.uk/r.a.hill/primate_and_predator_project.htm
Follow us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/pages/Mammal-Conservation-in-South-Africa/168026853274442
- Primate Behaviour and Ecology
- Predator-Prey Interactions
- Felid Behaviour and Ecology
- Conservation and Human-Wildlife Conflict
- Hill, R.A., Sellers, W.I., Logan, B. & Zapala, J. (2012). An agent-based model of group decision-making in baboons. In Modelling Natural Action Selection. Seth, A., Prescott, T. & Bryson, J. Cambridge University Press. 454-476.
- Wiedemann, D., Barton, R.A. & Hill, R.A. (2012). Evolutionary approaches to sport. In Applied Evolutionary Psychology. Roberts, S.C. Oxford University Press. 290-307.
- Hill, R.A. (2008). Nonhuman primate approaches to landscapes. In Handbook of Landscape Archaeology. David, B. & Thomas, J. Walnut Creek, California: Left Coast Press, Inc. 95-101.
- Hill, R.A. (2006). Predation risk and habitat use in chacma baboons (Papio hamadryas ursinus). In Primates and their predators. Gursky, S. & Nekaris K.A.I. New York: Kluwer Academic Publishers. 339-354.
Journal papers: academic
- Smith, R.K., Ryan, E., Morley, E. & Hill, R.A. (2011). Resolving management conflicts: could agricultural land provide the answer for an endangered species in a habitat classified as a World Heritage Site?. Environmental Conservation 38(3): 325-333.
- Willems, E.P. & Hill, R.A. (2009). A critical assessment of two species distribution models: a case study of the vervet monkey (Cercopithecus aethiops). Journal of Biogeography 36(12): 2300-2312
- Hill, R.A (2009). Is isolation the major genetic concern for endangered equids? Animal Conservation 12: 518-519
- Willems, E.P. & Hill, R.A. (2009). Predator-specific landscapes of fear and resource distribution: effects on spatial range use. Ecology 90(2): 546–555.
- Willems, E.P., Barton, R.A. & Hill, R.A. (2009). Remotely sensed productivity, home range selection and local range use by an omnivorous primate. Behavioral Ecology 20(5): 985-992.
- Smith, R.K., Marais, A., Chadwick, P., Lloyd, P.H. & Hill, R.A. (2008). Monitoring and management of the endangered Cape mountain zebra Equus zebra zebra in the Western Cape, South Africa. African Journal of Ecology 46(2): 207-213.
- Attrill, M.J., Gresty, K.A., Hill, R.A. & Barton, R.A. (2008). Red shirt colour is associated with long-term team success in English football. Journal of Sports Science 26: 577-582.
- Little, A.C & Hill, R.A. (2007). Attribution to red suggests special role in dominance signalling. Journal of Cultural and Evolutionary Psychology 5: 87-94.
- Sellers, W.I., Hill, R.A. & Logan B. (2007). Simulating group decision making in baboons using agent-based modelling. Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London 362: 1699-1710.
- Hill, R.A. (2006). Thermal constraints on activity scheduling and habitat choice in baboons. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 129(2): 242-249.
- Zhou, W.X., Sornette, D., Hill, R.A. & Dunbar, R.I.M. (2005). Discrete hierarchical organization of social group sizes. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 272(1561): 439-444.
- Hill, R.A. & Barton, R.A. (2005). Red enhances human performance in contests. Nature 435(7040): 293.
- Hill, R.A., Barrett L., Gaynor D., Weingrill T., Dixon P., Payne H. & Henzi S.P. (2003). Day length, latitude and behavioural (in)flexibility in baboons (Papio cynocephalus ursinus). Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 53(5): 278-286.
Available for media contact about:
- Biological and Biomedical Sciences: Conservation
- Anthropology: Evolutionary psychology
- Primate behaviour: Ecology