The scientific interests of my research group are on a broad scale, but our research generally involves the study of animal responses to induced stress to address ecologically applied issues, as well as taking an evolutionary biology approach to understanding trends in ecology.
In particular we are interested in how anthropogenic influences, primarily land-use change and associated activities, affect animal populations and biodiversity. This has involved focusing on how specific factors, such as aspects of habitat loss or chemical applications associated with agricultural practices, can influence individual physiology, behaviours and fitness measures and how this can scale up to directly and selectively shape populations and communities.
Terrestrial invertebrates have been the group used to address our questions, and whilst not wedded to a particular study organism/system, social insects have been the focus of much of our research. Their large and intricate societies exhibit efficient and often complex cooperative behaviours making them not only interesting for the study of animal behaviour, but also a dominant insect group in the environment that provide vital ecosystem functions and crucial ecosystem services that are important for human welfare.
Here is a short video introducing one of the topics that we are interested in studying - threats to insect pollinators:
Please see my research page for further details.
The new collaborative team led by Professor Barnes (NHM London) and myself looking at bee responses to a century of LUC has kicked-off, with Dr Andres Arce looking at trait evolution (with help from Masters student Marcus Rhodes) and a new NHM postdoc will be starting on the molecular analyses in January 2018.
I will be supervising Master students who will be visiting northern Sweden in Spring 2018 to initiate a international collaboration on phenological responses to climate change, supported by the Climate Impact Research Centre (CIRC) and led by Keith Larson.
Dr Kirsty Yule, Elspeth MacKellar, Jennifer Dawson and John Patterson have finished their fieldwork in the Maldives to looking at mosquito population and invertebrate community responses to pesticide applications in small island ecosystems. The results are currently being analysed as part of the SCIE:NCE project funded by Soneva resort and the Grantham Institute.
Masters student Jacob Birkenhead will be continuing the Maldives work.
The group welcomes Daniel Kenna who is starting his PhD on how bumblebee colony dynamics underpins responses to environmental change.
Arce et al. (2017) Impact of controlled neonicotinoid exposure in a realistic field setting. in: Journal of Applied Ecology
Samuelson, Chen-Wishart, Gill & Leadbeater (2016) Effect of acute pesticide exposure on bee spatial working memory using an analogue of the radial-arm maze. in: Scientific Reports
Smith et al. (2016) Exploring miniature insect brains using micro-CT scanning techniques. in: Scientific Reports
Gill et al. (2016) Protecting an ecosystem service: approaches to understanding and mitigating threats to wild insect pollinators. in: Advances in Ecological Research
or this link
Current Group (see 'research' page for more details)
Fellow: Dr Jacob Johansson
NERC funded PDRA: Dr Andres Arce
NERC funded DTP PhD student: Dylan Smith (in final year)
BBSRC funded PhD student: Ana Ramos-Rodrigues (in 2nd year)
NERC funded DTP PhD student: Daniel Kenna (in 1st year)
PhD co-supervisor for: Liz Samuelson (Sup. Dr Elli Leadbeater, RHUL), BBSRC (1 +3)
Collaboration: Dr Joe Colgan (QMUL), Dr Victoria Mullin (NHM London)
Masters students: Jacob Birkenhead, Marcus Rhodes
Previous Group Members
Grantham funded PDRA: Dr Kirsty Yule
BBSRC PhD student: Leonie Gough
Erasmus visiting Masters student: Illaria Pretelli
Masters project students: Koorosh McCormack, Cecylia Watrobska, Nicholas Tew, Elspeth MacKeller, Jenny Dawson, John Paterson (2017), Ross Gray, Laura Bentley, Chun (Harris) Tso (2016); Jiajun (Stanley) Yu, Katie Taylor, Sarah Gougeon (2015), Emma Randall, Thomas David (2014)
3rd year project students: Daisy Burris, Megan Chan, Hazel Cooley (2017), Phillip Bischoff, Cecylia Watrobska (2016); Shona Crawford-Smith, Ross Gray, Henry Clifford (2015), Jessica Clarke, Abby Simms (2014)
et al., 2017, Impact of controlled neonicotinoid exposure on bumblebees in a realistic field setting, Journal of Applied Ecology, Vol:54, ISSN:0021-8901, Pages:1199-1208
et al., 2016, Exploring miniature insect brains using micro-CT scanning techniques, Scientific Reports, Vol:6
et al., 2016, Protecting an Ecosystem Service: Approaches to Understanding and Mitigating Threats to Wild Insect Pollinators, Advances in Ecological Research, Vol:54, ISSN:0065-2504, Pages:135-206
Gill RJ, Raine NE, 2014, Chronic impairment of bumblebee natural foraging behaviour induced by sublethal pesticide exposure, Functional Ecology, Vol:28, ISSN:0269-8463, Pages:1459-1471
et al., 2013, Chronic sublethal stress causes bee colony failure, Ecology Letters, Vol:16, ISSN:1461-023X, Pages:1463-1469