Dr Andrew Smith

Associate Professor

Faculty:Faculty of Science and Engineering

School:Life Sciences

Location: Cambridge

Areas of Expertise: Animal and environmental biology

Research Supervision:Yes

Andrew’s main areas of expertise are behavioural ecology and primate colour vision. His work looks at how animals, from aardvarks to goldfish, interact with each other and their environment.



Andrew has worked with a wide range of species including macaques in Indonesia, tamarins and river dolphins in Peru, marmosets in Brazil, endangered deer in the Chilean Andes, loggerhead turtles in Greece, and a range of rainforest species in the Philippines.

While much of Andrew's research has involved primates, their behaviour, ecology, and colour vision (some of which has featured on QI ), his current research interests also include the reproductive endocrinology and activity patterns of aardvarks, resource partitioning and associated behavioural strategies employed by coral reef fish, and the welfare of aquarium fish and domestic poultry.

Research interests

Colour vision
  • Ecological influences of perceptual capabilities
  • Evolution and advantages of trichromacy
  • Maintenance of colour vision polymorphism in New World monkeys.
  • Primate habitat use and resource requirements, distribution and populations
  • Management and welfare of zoo and domestic animals
  • Specialisation and niche partitioning; mixed-species associations
  • Spatio-ecology; inter-individual distances and group leadership
  • Influence of predation pressure
  • Mineral requirements; exudates; temporal patterns of feeding

Andrew is a member of our Behavioural Ecology Research Group

Areas of research supervision

  • Mixed species associations: birds and lemurs
  • Functional utility of primate colour vision
  • Behavioural ecology of the mara (Dolichotis patagonum)
  • Investigating the effects of climate and group size on the time budgets of yellow baboons (Papio cynocephalus) in Mikumi National Park, Tanzania
  • Demographic and ecological effects on space use in yellow baboons (Papio cynocephalus) at Mikumi National Park, Tanzania
  • Studies of tropical vertebrates: ecology, behaviour and morphology
  • A population and habitat survey of the Buton macaque (Macaca ochreata brunnescens) comparing abundance in protected and unprotected areas on Buton Island, South East Sulawesi
  • Activity budgets of the Buton Macaque (Macaca ochreata brunnescens), an endemic primate of Buton, Southeast Sulawesi.


BSc (Hons) Zoology, BSc (Hons) Animal Behaviour


  • University Teaching Fellowship, Anglia Ruskin University
  • PG Cert Learning and Teaching (HE) Anglia Ruskin University
  • PhD, Primate Ecology, University of Reading
  • BSc (Hons), Psychology & Zoology, University of Reading

Memberships, editorial boards

  • Senior Fellow, Higher Education Academy
  • Primate Society of Great Britain (Conservation Working Party)

Research grants, consultancy, knowledge exchange

  • Journal reviewer for African Journal of Ecology; American Journal of Primatology; International Journal of Primatology; Anthrozoös; Behavioural Ecology and Sociobiology; Folia Primatologica; Journal of Tropical Ecology; Journal of Zoology; and Primates 

Selected recent publications

Poirier, A.C., Waterhouse, J. S., Dunn, J. C., Smith, A. C. (In Press). Temporal stability of animal scent samples. SN Applied Sciences.

Poirier, A. C., Waterhouse, J. S., Dunn, J. C., Smith, A. C. (In Press) Scent-Marks Signal Species, Group, Sex and Reproductive Status in Tamarins (Saguinus spp., New World Primates). Chemical Senses.

Poirier, A. C., Waterhouse, J. S., Watsa, M., Erkenswick, G. A., Moreira, L. A. A., Tang, J., Dunn, J. C., Melin, A. D., Smith, A. C., 2021. On the trail of primate scent signals: a field analysis of callitrichid scent-gland secretions by portable gas chromatography ̶ mass spectrometry. American Journal of Primatology, 83, e23236. doi:10.1002/ajp.23236

Smith, A. C., 2020. Animal Vision. In Melfi, V. A., Dorey, N. R., Ward, S. J. (eds), 2020. Zoo Animal Learning and Training (New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons).

Heymann, E. W., Culot, L., Knogge, C., Smith, A. C., Tirado Herrera, E. R., Stojan-Dolar, M., Lledo Ferrer, Y., Kubisch, P., Kupsch, D., Slana, D., Koopmann, M. L., Ziegenhagen, B., Bialozyt, R., Mengel, C., Hambuckers, J., Heer, K., 2019. Small Neotropical primates promote the natural regeneration of anthropogenically disturbed areas. Scientific Reports, 9, 10356. doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-46683-x

Lüffe, T. M., Tirado Herrera, E. R., Nadjafzadeh, M., Berles, P., Smith, A. C., Knogge, C., Heymann, E. W., 2018. Seasonal variation and an “outbreak” of frog predation by tamarins. Primates, 59(6), pp. 549-552.

Bethell, E. J., Dean, L., Smith, A., Bearder, S. K., 2018. Celebrating 50 years of the Primate Society of Great Britain. Evolutionary Anthropology, 27(2), pp. 74-77. doi: 10.1002/evan.21582

Andrews, A., Smith, A. C., Rees, A. F., Margaritoulis, D., 2016. The Effect of Invertebrate Infestation and Its Correlation with Loggerhead Sea Turtle (Caretta caretta) Nest Success in Laganas Bay, Zakynthos, Greece. Marine Turtle Newsletter, 151, pp. 9-15.

Smith, J. M., Smith, A. C., 2013. An investigation of ecological correlates with hand and foot morphology in callitrichid primates. American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 152, pp. 447-456.

Smith, A. C., Surridge, A. K., Prescott, M. J., Osorio, D., Mundy, N. I., Buchanan-Smith, H. M., 2012. The effect of colour vision status on insect prey capture efficiency by captive and wild tamarins (Saguinus spp.). Animal Behaviour, 83, pp. 479-486.

Smith, A.C., Gray, H., 2011. Goldfish in a tank: the effect of substrate on foraging behaviour in aquarium fish. Animal Welfare, 20, pp. 311-319.

Smith, A. C., 2010. Exudativory in primates: interspecific patterns. In Burrows, A., Nash, L. (eds), 2010. The Evolution of Exudativory in Primates (New York: Springer), pp. 45-88.

Smith, A. C., 2010. Influences on gum feeding in primates. In Burrows, A., Nash, L. (eds), 2010. The Evolution of Exudativory in Primates (New York: Springer), pp. 109-122.