Kyriacos Kareklas

IMG_2258 kkareklas(at)

Short Bio

I graduated with a BSc (Hons) in Marine Biology in 2011 at Newcastle University’s School of Marine Science and Technology, before pursuing an Animal Behaviour Research Master’s (MRres) at the Institute of Neuroscience of the My main research interest is to understand the how and why of behaviour and I utilise novel integrative approaches for bridging the study of proximal causes and ultimate functions. This has defined my career drive for cross-disciplinary collaborations and training. Following my formal training in Marine Ecology, Biogeochemistry and Phylogenetics (BSc Hons, 2011) I gained key research skills for the study of Behaviour and Cognition (MRes, 2012). My doctoral and postdoctoral work has integrated that knowledge for the study of individual strategies and their effect on social interactions. This has spanned work alongside experts in sensory biology and spatial cognition (Prof. R Holland), ethology (Prof. R Elwood), contest behaviour (Dr. G Arnott), behavioural ecology (Dr. H Kunc), epidemiology (Prof. E Morgan) and social neurobiology (Prof. R Oliveira). With this work I built aptitude in designing and conducting original research, and gained practical skills in independent experimentation, analysis and the modelling of complex systems. My PhD study with R. Holland and R. Elwood (2017) addressed questions regarding the drivers and implications of individual variation, focusing on sensory mechanisms and collective behaviour (5 publications). This was conducted at Queen’s University Belfast and was competitively funded (DEL, Northern Ireland). Between 2017 and 2019 I was appointed Research Fellow and Assistant Lecturer at Queen’s University Belfast, gaining experience in teaching at the post-graduate level, communicating broader Behaviour, Cognition and Ecology research and mentoring future scientific achievers. As a post-doctoral researcher, I immediately acquired competitive funding (ASAB, 2017) to lead original research in collaboration with experts in contest behaviour (G. Arnott) and noise pollution (H. Kunc), examining interaction effects in Siamese fighting fish. I then worked with Prof. E. Morgan in a Horizon 2020 study conducting epidemiological modelling (PARAGONE, 2018-2019). Since 2019, I work with Prof. Rui Olivera at the IGC and in collaboration with Prof. Gil Levkowitz from the Weizmann Institute in Israel. This included work on an EU funded project on the oxytocinergic mechanisms of social behaviour in genetic zebrafish models, which ended September 30th 2021 (FCT, Portugal 2020; GCT). There I have gained genotyping and immunostaining skills and developed new phenotyping techniques within the growing fields of kinematics and machine learning. I have since been awarded a Junior Researcher Fellowship by the Portuguese National Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT) to attain my post with R Oliveria and conduct work on the neural mechanisms of social health.

Research interests

My work is based on integrative and interdisciplinary research, with an interest in the interaction between individuals and their social and physical environment, focusing on mechanisms and functions of cognition and behaviour, phenotypic plasticity and sensory adaptation. I have worked within and between the fields of ecology, behaviour, cognition, neuroscience and evolutionary biology. I am fascinated by many taxons with past research involving corals, annelids, fish, birds, ungulates and humans. Currently I am interested in the drivers of social behaviour, focusing mainly on the development and evolution of underlying mechanisms.


Akinrinade, I.*, Kareklas, K.*, Teles, M. C., Reis, T. K., Gliksberg, M., Petri, G., … & Oliveira, R. F. (2023). Evolutionarily conserved role of oxytocin in social fear contagion in zebrafish. Science, 379(6638), 1232-1237. [*Shared first authorship]

Kareklas, K., Kunc, H. P., & Arnott, G. (2022). Complex strategies: an integrative analysis of contests in Siamese fighting fish. BMC Zoology, 7(1), 59.

Gonçalves, C.*, Kareklas, K.*, Teles, M. C., Varela, S. A., Costa, J., Leite, R. B., … & Oliveira, R. F. (2022). Phenotypic architecture of sociality and its associated genetic polymorphisms in zebrafish. Genes, Brain and Behavior, 21(5), e12809.[*Shared first authorship]

Kareklas, K., Kunc, H. P., & Arnott, G. (2021). Extrinsic stressors modulate resource evaluations: insights from territoriality under artificial noise. Frontiers in Zoology, 18(1), 1-12.

Kareklas, K., Wilson, J., Kunc, H. P., & Arnott, G. (2019). Signal complexity communicates aggressive intent during contests, but the process is disrupted by noise. Biology Letters, 15(4), 20180841.

Kareklas, K., McMurray, R., & Arnott, G. (2019). Increased aggressive motivation towards formidable opponents: evidence of a novel form of mutual assessment. Animal Behaviour, 153, 33-40.

Kareklas, K., Arnott, G., Elwood, R. W., & Holland, R. A. (2018). Relationships between personality and lateralization of sensory inputs. Animal Behaviour, 141, 127-135.

Kareklas, K., Elwood, R. W., & Holland, R. A. (2018). Fish learn collectively, but groups with differing personalities are slower to decide and more likely to split. Biology Open, 7(5), bio033613.

Kareklas, K., Elwood, R. W., & Holland, R. A. (2018). Grouping promotes risk-taking in unfamiliar settings. Behavioural Processes, 148, 41-45.

Kareklas, K., Elwood, R. W., & Holland, R. A. (2017). Personality effects on spatial learning: comparisons between visual conditions in a weakly electric fish. Ethology, 123(8), 551-559.

Kareklas, K., Arnott, G., Elwood, R. W., & Holland, R. A. (2016). Plasticity varies with boldness in a weakly-electric fish. Frontiers in Zoology, 13(1), 22.

Kareklas, K., Nettle, D., & Smulders, T. V. (2013). Water-induced finger wrinkles improve handling of wet objects. Biology Letters, 9(2), 20120999.