Professor Julia P Myatt SFHEA

Professor Julia P Myatt

School of Biosciences
Professor in Collaborative Education
Academic Director of Sustainability Education

Contact details

+ 44 (0)121 414 5598
View my research portal
416, School of Biosciences
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Professor Julia Myatt is the Academic Director for Sustainability Education at the University of Birmingham. As part of the Senior Education Team, Julia coordinates and promotes the central place of subject-specific and interdisciplinary education in sustainability and climate awareness across the University’s teaching and learning strategy. Julia is also part of the Birmingham Institute for Sustainability and Climate Action (BISCA). 

Julia is also based within the School of Biosciences, where her research background in behavioural ecology and morphology continues to inform her teaching across animal biology, behaviour and adaptations to global environmental change. Julia is the Education Secretary and a Council member for the Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour (ASAB).

Julia is experienced in interdisciplinary and collaborative education and practice, working for ten years with the Liberal Arts and Natural Sciences programme, as Director of Natural Sciences, Acting Dean of LANS (2018-19) and College Lead for Life and Environmental Sciences. She was also the Head of Education in the School of Biosciences (2022-2023). Julia’s passion for working across disciplines stems from prior research experience working in interdisciplinary research fields, studying collaborative hunting in African wild dogs with the Royal Veterinary College and UCL School of Computer Science and the behavioural ecology and biomechanics of orangutan locomotion at the University of Birmingham. Julia’s experience in the field includes working with NGOs in Indonesia and Botswana and has given her an insight into the on-the-ground challenges facing these rapidly changing ecosystems. Julia is driven to ensure that all students can develop the flexible, collaborative skills necessary to tackle the complex global challenges we face and particularly enjoys working with students to develop solutions for the future. In particular, her focus has been on collaborating across disciplines to develop innovative and challenging degree programmes and modules that reflect the needs of the future. 


BSc (hons)


August 2023- ongoing: Academic Director of Sustainability Education

Jan 2022-July 2023: Head of Education, School of Biosciences

Sept 2018-Sept 2019: Acting Dean of Liberal Arts and Natural Sciences, University of Birmingham.

Sept 2018- ongoing: Associate Professor in the School of Biosciences, University of Birmingham.

Sept 2013-2020: Director of Natural Sciences for Liberal Arts and Natural Sciences (College of Life and Environmental Sciences lead).

Sept 2012-Sept 2018: Lecturer in the School of Biosciences, University of Birmingham.

Oct 2012-Sept 2012: Postdoctoral Researcher (Cooperate aerodynamics and radio-based dynamic localization) at the Royal Veterinary College, University of London with Prof Alan Wilson (RVC) and Prof Steve Hailes (UCL), funded by EPSRC.

Oct 2006-Oct 2010: PhD student at the University of Birmingham supervised by Dr Susannah Thorpe (Applying an ecomorphological framework to the study of orangutan positional behaviour and the morphological variation within the non-human great apes), funded by BBSRC.


Dr Julia Myatt is the module lead for the second year module ‘Animal Biology: Principles and Mechanisms’ which focuses on the ability of animals to adapt, both to their natural environment, but also to the changes caused from human activity including the climate crisis. She also teaches aspects of animal behaviour and biology and human evolution in various modules across the years, including the ‘Adaptations to Aquatic Environments’ field course. Julia is also involved with the teaching of interdisciplinary and collaborative skills for sustainability education in the Global Environmental Change and Sustainability degree programme. 

Julia also offers a number of final year BSc and MSci zoo-based projects.


Dr Julia Myatt’s research has focused on understanding the relationship between the morphology of primates and the behaviours they perform in the complex forest environment (morphlogy-behaviour-habitat interface). She has a strong interest in all aspects of animal locomotion and behaviour, from the level of the muscle fibre through to the movement patterns and social interactions of whole groups. She is particularly interested in the relationship with the natural environment and how this shapes the evolution of the systems observed. More recently Julia’s research has focused on the captive welfare of non-human great apes and together with colleagues in the School of Biosciences has been working on an Enclosure Design Tool to ensure captive apes are able to emulate wild-type behaviours, with Julia focusing on the importance of social interactions.

Another element of Julia’s research is in the provision and effectiveness of interdisciplinary teaching at an undergraduate level.

Other activities

Dr Julia Myatt has been heavily involved with STEM outreach for many years. She has sat on the Education committee for the Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour since 2017 and has been the Education Secretary and Council Member since 2022. 


Hubel, T, Myatt, J.P., Jordan, N. Dewhirst, O., McNutt, J. Weldon. And Wilson, A.M. (2016). Additive opportunistic capture explains group hunting benefits in African wild dogs. Nature Communications. DOI: 10.1038/ncomms11033

Hubel, T, Myatt, J.P., Jordan, N. Dewhirst, O., McNutt, J. Weldon. And Wilson, A.M. (2016). Energy cost and return for hunting in African wild dogs and cheetahs. Nature Communications. DOI: 10.1038/ncomms11034

King, A.J., Myatt, J.P., Furtbauer, I., Oesch, N., Dunbar, R.I., Sumner, S., Usherwood, J.R., Hailes, S. and Brown, M.R. (2015). Social density processes regulate the functioning and performance of foraging human teams. Scientific Reports. DOI: 10.1038/srep18260

Bailey, I.E., Myatt, J.P. and Wilson, A.M. (2013). Group hunting within the carnivora: physiological, cogntivie and environmental influences on strategy and cooperation. Behavioural Ecology and Sociobiology. 67: 1-17.

Usherwood, J.R., Channon, A.J., Myatt, J.P., Rankin, J.W. and Hubel, T.Y. (2012). The human foot and heel-sole-toe walking strategy: a mechanism enabling an inverted pendular gait with low isometric force?. Journal of the Royal Society Interface.

van Casteren, A; Sellers, W.I., Thorpe, S.K.S., Coward, S., Crompton, R.H., Myatt, J.P. and Ennos, A.R. (2012). Nest-building orangutans demonstrate engineering know-how to produce safe, comfortable beds. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Myatt, J.P., Crompton, R.H. and Payne-Davis et al. (2012). Functional adaptation in the forelimb muscles of non-human great apes. Journal of Anatomy.

King A.J., Cheng, L., Starke, S.D. and Myatt, J.P. (2011). Is the true 'wisdom of the crowd' to copy successful individuals?. Biology Letters.

Myatt J.P. and Thorpe, S.K.S. (2011). Postural strategies employed by orangutans (Pongo abelii) during feeding in the terminal branch niche. American Journal of Physical Anthropology. 146: 73-82

Myatt J.P., Crompton, R.H. and Thorpe, S.K.S (2011). Hindlimb muscle architecture in non-human great apes and a comparison of methods for analysing inter-species variation. Journal of Anatomy. 219: 150-166

Myatt J.P., Crompton, R.H. and Thorpe, S.K.S (2011). A new method for recording complex positional behaviours and habitat interactions in primates. Folia Primatologica. 83: 13-24

Myatt J.P., Schilling, N. and Thorpe, S.K.S. (2011). Distribution patterns of fibre types in the tricep surae muscle group of chimpanzees and orangutans. Journal of Anatomy. 218: 402-412

Portugal, S.J., Thorpe, S.K.S., Green, J.A., Myatt, J.P. and Butler, P.J. (2009). Testing the use/disuse hypothesis: pectoral leg muscle changes in captive barnacle geese Branta leucopsis during wing moult. Journal of Experimental Biology. 212: 2401-2410.

Cotter, S.C., Myatt, J.P., Benskin, C.M.H. and Wilson, K. (2008). Selection for cuticular melanism reveals immune function and life-history trade-offs in Spodoptera littoralis. Journal of Evolutionary Biology. 21: 1744-1754.

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