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Robin Freeman

I'm currently a 2020 Science research fellow at CoMPLEX (the Centre for Mathematics and Physics in the Life Sciences and Experimental Biology) at UCL and Head of the Indicators and Assessments Unit at the Zoological Society of London. I also work closely with the Computational Ecology group at Microsoft Research Cambridge and am a research associate with the Animal Behaviour group at Oxford University.


I am particularly interested in topics at the interface between behaviour, ecology and computation with a focus on the application of computational techniques to analysing animal behaviour. From systems to autonomously record the behaviour of animals in the wild (see Autonomous Monitoring of Vulnerable Habitats), to novel tracking devices (see The Mataki Project), to the development and application of machine learning techniques to analyse these data.

  • Spatial ecology, foraging and migration.
  • Analysis and modelling of animal movements
  • Computational and technological systems for ecological data collection
  • Collective Behaviour
  • Spatial analysis and visualisation
  • Animal behaviour and conservation


Also, see my Google Scholar citations page

Flack, A., B. Pettit, R. Freeman, T. Guilford, and D. Biro. "What are leaders made of? The role of individual experience in determining leader–follower relations in homing pigeons." Animal Behaviour 83 (2012): 703-709.

Frederiksen, M., and et al. "Multicolony tracking reveals the winter distribution of a pelagic seabird on an ocean basin scale." Diversity and Distributions (2011).

Guilford, T., R. Freeman, D. Boyle, Dean B.J., H. Kirk, R. A. Phillips, and C. M. Perrins. "A dispersive migration in the Atlantic Puffin and its implications for migratory navigation." PLoS One (2011).

Freeman, R., R. Mann, T. Guilford, and D. Biro. "Group decisions and individual differences: route fidelity predicts flight leadership in homing pigeons (Columba livia)." Biology Letters (2010).

Mann, R., R. Freeman, M. Osborne, R. Garnett, C. Armstrong, J. Meade, D. Biro, T. Guilford, and S. Roberts. "Objectively identifying landmark use and predicting flight trajectories of the homing pigeon using Gaussian processes." Journal of The Royal Society Interface (2010).

Freeman, R., T. Dennis, T. Landers, D. Thompson, E. Bell, M. Walker, and T. C. Guilford. "Black Petrels (Procellaria parkinsoni) Patrol the Ocean Shelf-Break: GPS Tracking of a Vulnerable Procellariiform Seabird." Plos ONE 5 (2010).

Guilford, T. C., J. Meade, J. Willis, R. A. Phillips, D. Boyle, S. Roberts, M. Collett, R. Freeman, and C. M. Perrins. "Migration and stopover in a small pelagic seabird, the Manx shearwater Puffinus puffinus: insights from machine learning." Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 276, no. 1660 (2009): 1215-1223.

Freeman, R., and D. Biro. "Modelling group navigation: dominance and democracy in homing pigeons." Journal of Navigation 62 (2009): 33-40.

Naumowicz, T., R. Freeman, A. Heil, M. Calsyn, E. Hellmich, A. Brandle, T. Guilford, and J. Schiller. "Autonomous monitoring of vulnerable habitats using a wireless sensor network." In Proceedings of the workshop on Real-world wireless sensor networks - REALWSN '08. Glasgow, Scotland: ACM , 2008.

Guilford, T. C., J. Meade, R. Freeman, D. Biro, T. Evans, F. Bonadonna, D. Boyle, S. Roberts, and C. M. Perrins. "GPS tracking of the foraging movements of Manx Shearwaters Puffinus puffinus breeding on Skomer Island, Wales." Ibis 150 (2008): 462-473.

Biro, D., R. Freeman, J. Meade, S. Roberts, and T. C. Guilford. "Pigeons combine compass and landmark guidance in familiar route navigation." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the U.S.A. 104 (2007): 7471-7476.

Lau, K. K., S. Roberts, D. Biro, R. Freeman, J. Meade, and T. C. Guilford. "An edge-detection approach to investigating pigeon navigation." Journal of Theoretical Biology 239 (2006): 71-78.

Contact Details


Robin Freeman
Department of Zoology (E23G)
South Parks Road
Robin Freeman
Microsoft Research Ltd.
7 J. J. Thomson Avenue
Cambridge CB3 0FB
United Kingdom