Centre for Behaviour and Evolution

Our Facilities


Our research makes use of a wide range of facilities in and around Newcastle University.

We have excellent laboratories. They house our behavioural experiments with insects, birds and small mammals. They also have dedicated rooms for testing human subjects.

We have close collaborations with wildlife groups and landowners. This allows us to study animal behaviour at field sites across North East England, and beyond.

We're part of the Behavioural and Experimental Northeast Cluster (BENC), a joint initiative between Newcastle and Durham Universities. It promotes the visibility of the region in this research area.


Consistent with our broad range of research interests, our laboratory facilities are correspondingly wide-ranging.

Insect studies

For insects, we have behavioural and physiology laboratories to facilitate ongoing studies into:

  • learning
  • olfactory coding
  • visual control of flight in insects

Intracellular and extracellular recording in insects is conducted in dedicated electrophysiology laboratories.

Animal studies

We have a large number of specialised laboratories for animal studies.

We have a range of purpose-built laboratories for studying the behaviour of rats and birds. These house modern operant test chambers for cognitive studies and equipment for staining, microscopy and histology to support our neuroscience projects

For use in animal welfare studies, we have:

  • an elevated plus maze
  • an open field arena
  • place preference boxes for use in animal welfare studies

We use a range of software packages for the coding and analysis of video footage.

We also run a suite of climate controlled chambers for behavioural and physiological experiments. In these chambers, temperature profiles can be programmed between -10C and +30C, with some control of humidity. This facility is available to researchers or businesses external to the CBE and the University.

Human studies

For human studies, we have dedicated PCs and laboratories. There is specialist equipment for:

  • presenting stimuli for subject rating
  • running evolutionary simulations
  • experimental economic games

We also have a fully-equipped eye tracking laboratory. This allows us to study eye movements in relation to cues of attractiveness and mate choice.

Further information

A full list of the University research facilities available for commercial use can be found on the University Work with us website section.

Field Sites

Investigating the behaviour of animals and their interaction with the environment is a fundamental aspect of our research.

Our members work in a variety of field sites, in the UK and overseas.

Our sites

We have access to several field sites in and around Newcastle, owned by the University itself. These sites include:

  • Moorbank Botanical Gardens
  • Close House
  • Nafferton Farm
  • Cockle Park Farm

Bird reserves

We also work closely with UK bird reserves, including:

  • those on Coquet Island, Northumberland
  • those on the Farne Islands, Northumberland
  • the Fair Isle Bird Observatory, Scotland

Our conservation work on mammals includes work on the Limestone Pavements of North Yorkshire and in the Cheviot Hills of Northumberland.


We also conduct research overseas.

Studies of bee foraging are carried out at the Center for Agronomy Research and Development (CATIE) in the Republic of Costa Rica, and in collaboration with the Technological Institute of Crete (TEI).

We also use field sites and stations in Finland to study avian foraging behaviour.

We are establishing links with the University of Stellenbosch to embark on new projects studying African wildlife.