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 same university. During my MRes study (2011-2012) I worked with Tom Smulders and Daniel Nettle on a project on the function of water-induced finger-wrinkles in humans and  studied animal welfare, cognitive neuroscience and experimental design for cognitive and behavioural research. In 2013 I obtained a studentship from the Department for Education and Learning, Northern Ireland, to carry out a PhD at Queen’s University Belfast with Richard Holland and Robert Elwood on fish behaviour and cognition, focusing on individual behaviour, phenotypic plasticity and the effects of personality on object inspection and spatial learning in individuals and groups. Since graduating in 2017, I obtained funding from the Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour to lead original research on contest behaviour and the effects of noise in Siamese fighting fish (2017-2018) and then particicpated in a short project on contest behviour and noise in European Robins  (2018), both in collaboration with Hansjoerg Kunc and Gareth Arnott. For the following 9 months I participated in a H2020 project modelling the epidemiology of gastrointestinal parasites in farming systems and the effects of vaccines with Eric Morgan and Jacqueline Matthews (2019; PRAGONE). Currently I am happily working as a member of the Integrative Behavioural Biology group at the Instituto Gulbenkina de Ciência, led by Rui Oliveira and participating on the FCT funded Portugal 2020 project ‘SOCIALPEPTIDES’ investigating the role of oxytocin in social behaviour.

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.


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., 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., 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.