Dr Blake Morton

Dr Blake Morton

Lecturer of Psychology

Faculty and Department

  • Faculty of Health Sciences
  • School of Psychology and Social Work


  • BSc
  • PGCert
  • PhD / DPhil (University of Stirling)


Formally trained in zoology and psychology, Dr Morton is a university lecturer specialising in animal psychology and wildlife conservation. Since 2018, he has been studying the behaviour and problem-solving abilities of wild carnivores, particularly in the United Kingdom. The primary goals of his research are to understand what factors drive behavioural adaptability in animals, and how this impacts human attitudes and behaviour towards nature in an ever-changing world.

Dr Morton's research is published in world-leading journals for animal behaviour and cognition, and his work attracts major global media attention, including the BBC, The Guardian, TIME, and National Geographic. He has obtained over £800,000 in grants as a P.I. and co-investigator, including NERC and the prestigious Newton Fund, and was awarded a ‘Research Excellence Award’ from the University of Hull in 2022. He is the founder and co-director of the recently-established Hull Animal Behaviour Centre, which is comprised of research programmes from over 7 countries, and he is the convenor of the Behaviour & Ecology Research Group at the University of Hull. He is currently an associate editor for Royal Society Publishing, and is a member of the Scientific Advisory Group of the UK's national Badger Trust.

For further information about Dr Morton, visit: https://www.blakemorton.co.uk/

For further information about The British Carnivore Project, visit: https://www.blakemorton.co.uk/case-studies/

Dr Morton has a postgraduate certificate in higher education practice and over twelve years of experience teaching university students, five of which have been as a full-time lecturer. He is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and was awarded an Honorary Lectureship at the University of Stirling in 2018. Over the years, he has written, developed, and managed modules on a range of topics related to animal behaviour and psychology. At the University of Hull, he oversees the BSc Psychology research dissertation programme. His other current modules include 'People & Nature' and 'Brain & Behaviour 2'. Dr Morton has a passion for teaching and routinely incorporates his own research experiences with wild primates, cetaceans, and carnivores into his lectures to help students engage with theoretical material on a deeper and more applied level.

Recent outputs

View more outputs

Journal Article

Urban foxes are bolder but not more innovative than their rural conspecifics

Morton, F. B., Gartner, M., Norrie, E. M., Haddou, Y., Soulsbury, C. D., & Adaway, K. A. (2023). Urban foxes are bolder but not more innovative than their rural conspecifics. Animal behaviour, 203, 101-113. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.anbehav.2023.07.003

Expert range maps of global mammal distributions harmonised to three taxonomic authorities

Marsh, C. J., Sica, Y. V., Burgin, C. J., Dorman, W. A., Anderson, R. C., Toro Mijares, I., …Jetz, W. (2022). Expert range maps of global mammal distributions harmonised to three taxonomic authorities. Journal of Biogeography, 1-14. https://doi.org/10.1111/jbi.14330

Personality structure in bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus).

Morton, F. B., Robinson, L. M., Brando, S., & Weiss, A. (2021). Personality structure in bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus). Journal of Comparative Psychology, 135(2), 219-231. https://doi.org/10.1037/com0000259

Studying animal innovation at the individual level: A ratings-based assessment in capuchin monkeys (Sapajus [Cebus] sp.).

Morton, F. B., Buchanan-Smith, H. M., Brosnan, S. F., Thierry, B., Paukner, A., Essler, J. L., …Lee, P. C. (2021). Studying animal innovation at the individual level: A ratings-based assessment in capuchin monkeys (Sapajus [Cebus] sp.). Journal of Comparative Psychology, https://doi.org/10.1037/com0000264

Do wild raccoons (Procyon lotor) use tools?

Morton, F. B. (2020). Do wild raccoons (Procyon lotor) use tools?. Animal Cognition, https://doi.org/10.1007/s10071-020-01430-y

Research interests

animal behaviour, cognition, and wildlife conservation

Postgraduate supervision

Dr Morton welcomes applications from students interested in animal behaviour, cognition, and wildlife conservation, including research on human-nature connections. Dr Morton also offers research internships and placement opportunities for students, so please contact him directly (b.morton@hull.ac.uk) to find out more.

Current PhD Projects:

-- D. Jones (2023 - Present). Drivers of public attitudes and behaviour towards wild mammalian carnivores.

-- K. Adaway (2022 - Present). Understanding environmental adaptability in wild mammalian carnivores: A multidisciplinary perspective.

Examples of Past and Current MSc Projects:

-- S. McFarlane-Young (2023). Behavioural impacts of human coastal activities in wild seals.

-- S. Mitchell (2023). Wild/captive differences in seal behaviour.

-- E. Cooper (2023). Canine cognition and behaviour.

-- A. Dawodu (2022). Novel feeding competition between wild red foxes (Vulpes vulpes) and other British carnivores.

-- T. Giles (2021 - 2022). Behavioural adaptability in rewilded Eurasian beavers (Castor fiber).