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.
Peter Graystock will be hosted by the group in September 2018 on an Imperial College Fellowship looking at bees, pesticides and parasites.
Masters students Tara Cox and Libby Bates have returned from the first field season studying Arctic Bumblebees.
Masters students Flo Coulmance and Miranda Burke have returned from a small Maldivian island with new data in the mosquito population dynamics and breeding behaviours in response to pesticide exposure.
Arce et al. (2018) Foraging bumblebees acquire a preference for neonicotinoid treated food with prolonged exposure. in: Proceedings of the Royal Society B
Samuelson, Gill, Brown & Leadbeater (2018) Lower bumblebee colony reproductive success in agricultural compared with urban environments. in: Proceedings of the Royal Society B
Arce et al. (2017) Impact of controlled neonicotinoid exposure in a realistic field setting. in: Journal of Applied Ecology
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, Tara Cox, Libby Bates, Miranda Burke, Flo Coulmance--Gayrard
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., 2018, Lower bumblebee colony reproductive success in agricultural compared with urban environments, Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, Vol:285, ISSN:0962-8452
et al., 2018, Foraging bumblebees acquire a preference for neonicotinoid-treated food with prolonged exposure, Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, Vol:285, ISSN:0962-8452
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., Sci Rep, 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-+
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