Academic Curriculum Vitae

Dr. Gavan M Cooke BSc (Hons.) PhD PG Cert.Ed


  • PGCert in Education

Anglia Ruskin University, UK – 2016-2017

  • Doctorate (Behavioural Ecology/Evolutionary Biology of cichlid fish)

Bangor University, Bangor, Wales, UK 2007-2012

  • Bachelor’s Degree – Zoology BSc (hons)

University of Leeds, UK 2002-2006


Anglia Ruskin University

Lecturer in Animal Behaviour Sept 2016 – present

  • Teaching at undergraduate level using ‘team based learning’, readiness assessment tests and classical higher education teaching methods (lecturing, practical sessions and field trips)
  • Module manager for level 6 modules: Human-Animal Management for Improving Welfare; Animal Heath and Nutrition;  Animal Learning and Training.
  • Lectured on other modules such as Practical Skills for Animal Behaviourists and Management of Zoo Animals. Undergraduate and Masters project supervision
  • Member of ethical review committee

The Cornwall College Group (Falmouth Marine School)

Course leader Aquaculture and Marine Science Jul 2015 to Mar 2016

  • Lectured in aquaculture, zoology topics and statistics/research methods. Created course materials, lectured, set and marked exams for FdSc/BSc
  • Duties included writing commercial animal welfare/training courses to be accredited by the British and Irish Association for Zoos and Aquariums (BIAZA)/European Association of Zoos and Aquariums (EAZA).
  • Designed dissertation research projects (5 undergraduate students) e.g. Penguin enclosure use at Newquay Zoo.

Bangor University, Bangor, Wales, UK

Aquarium Facility Manager/lecturer/researcher Jun 2010 to Jul 2015

  • Significant role in design and construction of 125k litre marine and freshwater research aquarium.
  • Responsible for all aspects of animal facility including animal welfare, H&S, staff training etc.
  • Held over 50 freshwater fish species, 4 amphibian species, 15 marine fish species, and 2 cephalopod species and many more marine invertebrates (inc. corals).
  • Provided relief/weekend care for additional animal house (reptiles, mammals and insects) and aviary
  • Diagnosed and acted on disease and welfare issues, including assisting vet with surgery.
  • Last two government inspections resulted in glowing praise for dedication; knowledge; enthusiasm; and rated standard of care as excellent which few UK academic institutions could match.
  • Lectured and held laboratory practicals in marine/terrestrial zoology and animal behaviour/welfare. Set and marked exams, prepared course materials.
  • Provided talks and tours to the public, hosted school children lab sessions and part of yearly science festival
  • Conducted independent and group research (4 peer reviewed publications).
  • Winner of the 2014 Bangor University Student Led Teaching Award.

Bangor University, Bangor, Wales,

Demonstrator/lecturer Sept 2007 to Sept 2010

  • Demonstrated and led a wide range of practicals, designed and led local/international field courses (rocky shore/terrestrial ecology/evolutionary biology).
  • Wrote and delivered over 20 undergraduate lectures (evolutionary biology, cladistics, behavioural ecology/ethology), set and marked exams, prepared course materials. Supervised 10 + final year aquarium based research projects
  • Wrote and delivered postgraduate lectures in research methods/statistics. Co-supervised MRes projects (x2).
  • Won Zoological Society of London (ZSL) field conservation grant to Africa with four undergraduates. Led to peer review publication.

University of Hull, Hull.

Animal Technician Feb 2007 to Sept 2007

  • Assisted aquaria manager in facility maintenance and fish
  • Full time but voluntary except for short period of paid work towards the end
  • Good work led to offer of PhD by principle investigator of facility

Institute for Estuarine and Coastal Studies, Hull

Benthic Technician Sept 2006 to Feb 2007   

  • Collection of benthic and pelagic marine/freshwater organisms and sorting into taxonomic grades
  • Ecological/conservation impact assessment surveys
  • Coastal and estuarine field work.

Hydrographic Surveyor Technician

HM Royal Navy Jun 1998 to Jun 2000

  • Maintenance of marine science equipment (e.g. echo sounders, side scan sonar, CDT probes etc.)
  • Entailed detailed record keeping, data entry, data analysis and the creation of Admiralty charts
  • Developed an ability to work carefully and accurately under extreme
  • Leadership training
  • Learned detailed aspects of sailing and general seamanship.


Tyers, A.M, Jones, K. Cooke, G.M*, Reactors and Thinkers: Individual variation in behavioural plasticity crosses contexts in cuttlefish. Submitted July 2017 Behavioural Ecology

Cooke, G. M* and Dittrich, A.  Female aggression in African cichlids. Submitted Behavioural Ecology and Sociobiology July 2018

Cooke, G. M*. and Turner, G. F. Team colours matter when playing away from home: Allopatric aggression in African cichlids. Reviewed with revisions in progress Hydrobiologica June 2017

Sykes, António V., Eduardo Almansa, Gavan M. Cooke, Giovanna Ponte, and Paul LR Andrews. “The digestive tract of cephalopods: a neglected topic of relevance to animal welfare in the laboratory and aquaculture.” Frontiers in Physiology 8 (2017): 492.

Ponte, G., Sykes, A. V., Cooke, G. M., Almansa, E., & Andrews, P. (2017). The digestive tract of cephalopods: towards non-invasive in vivo monitoring of its physiology. Frontiers in Physiology, 8, 403.

Book chapter: Cooke, G.M*, Crackenel, D. and Hill, G.  (2017) Public Aquaria Research Guide in BIAZA research methods. Ed. Dr Amy Ploughman, Dr Geoff Hosey In press.

Nicholas R. Casewell, Jeroen Visser, Kate Baumann, James Dobson, Han Han, Michael Morgan, Jordan Debono, Ivan Koludarov, Gregory Bird, Gavan M. Cooke, Amanda Nouwens, Wayne C. Hodgson, Simon C. Wagstaff, Karen Cheney, Irina Vetter, Michael K. Richardson, Sanjaya Kuruppu & Bryan G. Fry. Fish, fangs and foolery: evolution of venom and mimicry systems in coral reef fish.  Current Biology February 2017

Greenway, E. Jones, K. Cooke, G.M* 2016 Environmental Enrichment in Captive Juvenile Thornback Rays, Raja clavata (Linnaeus 1758): Applied Animal Behaviour Science.  182 (86–93)

Cooke, G.M* 2015. Letter to the Editor. Concern regarding use of the term “nonhuman animals” in article titled Ontogeny and phylogeny of facial expression of pain. PAIN. 156(9):1826–1829.

Cooke, G. M* & Tonkins, B. M. 2015 Behavioural indicators of welfare exhibited by the common European cuttlefish (Sepia officinalis). Journal of Zoo and Aquarium Research 3(4)

Tonkins, Belinda M., Alexandra M. Tyers, and Gavan M. Cooke*. 2015 “Cuttlefish in captivity: An investigation into housing and husbandry for improving welfare.” Applied Animal Behaviour Science 168 (77-83).

Gough, R, Hollima, J. Cooke, G.M, Freeman, C. 2015 Characterisation of algogenic organic matter during an algal bloom and its implications for trihalomethane formation. Sustainability of Water Quality and Ecology. 01/2015;

Tyers, A.M., D. Bavin, Cooke, G.M, C. Griggs, and G.F. Turner.  2014.  Peripheral isolate speciation of a Lake Malawi cichlid fish from shallow muddy habitats. Evolutionary Biology doi:10.1007/s11692-014-9277-4

*as corresponding author

In Preparation

Marshall, L. and Cooke G.M* Is live feeding in public aquariums considered acceptable by staff and visitors? Manuscript in preparation for PloS 1

Book chapter: Cooke, G.M* and Tonkins, B. M. “Environmental enrichment, cognition and sentience in cephalopod molluscs” in “The Welfare of Invertebrate Animals.”. Ed. Dr Jenifer Mather and Dr Claudio Carere.

Cooke, G.M*, Tonkins, B.M., Ponte, G., Andrews P. L. R. Severity assessment in cephalopod procedures: a consensus approach. Manuscript in preparation for Laboratory Animal Welfare

*as corresponding author


Slater. M Rundle. R, 2014. Management Guidelines for the Welfare of Zoo and Aquarium Animals; Cuttlefish (Sepia officinalis) BIAZA Aquarium Working Group Cephalopod Focus Group. Edited by Tyson P, and Coulson J; Reviewed by Cooke, G.M

Tyers A, Bell A and Cooke G M. 2012 Investigation into the cause of, and effective treatment for, ‘wasting disease’ in cichlid fish stocks. Bangor University

Turner, G.F & Cooke, G.M 2011. The Welfare Benefits of Physical Isolation of Cichlid Fish. Bangor University

Cooke, G, M. 2012. Bangor University School of Biological Sciences Research Aquarium Management Guidelines 4th ed. p1- 79


  • 6th UK and Ireland SHAPE Environmental Enrichment Conference (REEC) Dublin, May 2016. “Aquatic Animal Enrichment”
  • University of Basel, Switzerland, Evolutionary Biology Seminar Series, April 2010. “The behavioural ecology of aggression in Lake Malawi haplochromine cichlid fish”


  • CIAC/Cephs in Action conference, Heraklion, Crete March 2017 Presenting talk: “Prospective severity assessment in cephalopods: Results of an on-line survey of the COST Action (CephsInAction) FA1301 cephalopod research community”
  • Aquaculture Europe, 2016, Edinburgh, oral presentation: “Effects of increased volume and tank bottom areas on cuttlefish Sepia officinalis, reproduction behaviour”
  • RSPCA/APHA ‘Welfare of wild animals used in research’ meeting, 2016, oral presentation: “Recent Inclusion of the Class Cephalooda (Mollusca) in ASPA1986/EU Directive 2010/63/EU and The Use of Wild Caught Specimens in Scientific Procedures”
  • LASA/UFAW meeting, 2016, oral presentation: Welfare assessment in alien life forms: The challenges presented by inclusion of cephalopods in directive 2010/63/EU
  • BBSRC Animal Welfare Research Network Inaugural Meeting, May 2016, Welcome Trust, London, poster: “COST Action FA1301 – CephsInAction A network for improvement of cephalopod welfare and husbandry in research, aquaculture and fisheries”
  • FELASA congress 2016, Brussels, poster: “Prospective severity assessment in cephalopods: Results of an on-line survey of the COST Action (CephsInAction) FA1301 cephalopod research community”
  • Aquaculture Europe, 2015, Rotterdam, oral presentation: “Caring for cephalopods”
  • BIAZA Research Conference 2015, Dublin, oral presentation: “Improving the lives of captive Rays”
  • NAW BIAZA Conference, 2014, Liverpool, oral presentation: “The science of animal welfare: caring for cuttlefish”
  • 9th World Congress on Alternatives and Animal Use in the Life Sciences 2014, Prague, poster, “Husbandry and Enrichment for the Recently Protected Common European Cuttlefish”
  • Cichlid Science 2013 Bangor – conference organiser and oral presentation: “Husbandry Techniques in Cichlid Research”
  • Cichlid Science 2012 Leuven, Belgium, oral presentation: “Aggression in Malawi Mbuna cichlids”
  • Cichlid Science 2010 Basel, Switzerland, oral presentation: “Can Satellite lakes act as species nurseries?”



  • UFAW Summer studentship award (as supervisor, captive Thornback Ray enrichment), 2015 £1600
  • Universities Federation for Animal Welfare (UFAW) grant, 2014, £800 to present welfare research at 9th World Congress for Animal Welfare (Prague)
  • Bangor University internship scheme (as supervisor, Cuttlefish welfare and enrichments), 2014 £1500
  • ZSL Erasmus Darwin Grant 2009, £4000 conservation field work in Africa


  • EAZA Zooquaria journal article “Zoo Science for Keepers and Aquarists” Spring 2017
  • BIAZA Newsletter Autumn 2016 Written article “Jellyfish – monsters from the deep?”
  • Supporting the development/research BBC documentary “Trust me I am a vet” Sept 2016 – present
  • Creator of Zoo Science for Keepers and Aquarists monthly digest of scientific papers aimed at bridging the gap between peer review publications and keepers/aquarists June 2016 – present –
  • Squid behaviour consultant BBC One Show Oct 2015
  • Written article for Practical Fish Keeping October 2015 – “Snorkelling in a native wonderland”
  • Featured Scientist BBC Spring Watch June 2015 – “Cuttlefish personality”
  • Interviewed for Practical Fish Keeping July 2014 – “10 Questions with a cutting edge aquarist”
  • Interviewed for Practical Fish Keeping June 2010 – “Is it already too late for a new fish species?”



  • Powerboat level 2           August 2015
  • PADI Open Water           February 2015
  • Marine Mammal Medic               March 2014
  • Institute for Animal Technology Level 2 February 2014
  • First Aid in Work             June 2013
UK Home Office (ASPA, 1986) Accredited (Society of Biology) Animal Welfare Training
Named Animal Welfare Officer March 2013
Fish modules 1 (law), 2 (husbandry), 3 (anaesthesia) and 4 (minor surgery) September 2012
Cephalopod modules 1 (law) and 2 (husbandry) August 2012
Bird modules 1, 2, 3 (law, husbandry and anaesthesia) July 2011
Mammal modules, 1, 2, 3 (law, husbandry, and anaesthesia) June 2010