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 shaping 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.
Currently advertising a PhD studentship to start October 2017 titled: A bee’s eye view: using remote sensing to map pollination and visual navigation cues. Please go to the link to see more details.
Dr Kirsty Yule, Elspeth MacKellar, Jennifer Dawson and John Patterson are carrying out fieldwork in the Maldives to look at mosquito populations and invertebrate diversity in small island ecosystems.
Dr Andres Arce to start new postdoc position in June 2017 looking at trait responses in bees.
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
Arce et al. (2016) Impact of controlled neonicotinoid exposure in a realistic field setting. in: Journal of Applied Ecology
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
Grantham funded PDRA: Dr Kirsty Yule
NERC funded DTP PhD student: Dylan Smith (in 3rd year)
BBSRC funded PhD student: Ana Ramos-Rodrigues (in 1st year)
NERC funded DTP PhD student: Daniel Kenna (to start Oct 2017)
PhD co-supervisor for: Liz Samuelson (Sup. Dr Elli Leadbeater, RHUL), BBSRC (1 +3)
Masters students: Koorosh McCormack, Cecylia Watrobska, Nicholas Tew, Elspeth MacKeller, Jenny Dawson, John Paterson
Project students: Daisy Burris, Megan Chan, Hazel Cooley
Previous Group Members
BBSRC PhD student: Leonie Gough
Erasmus visiting Masters student: Illaria Pretelli
Masters project students: Ross Gray (2016); Laura Bentley (2016); Chun (Harrs) Tso (2016); Jiajun (Stanley) Yu (2015), Katie Taylor (2015), Sarah Gougeon (2015), Emma Randall (2014), Thomas David (2014)
3rd year project students: Cecylia Watrobska (2016); Shona Crawford (2015), Ross Gray (2015), Henry Clifford (2015), Jessica Clarke (2014), Abby Simms (2014)
et al., 2016, Impact of controlled neonicotinoid exposure on bumblebees in a realistic field setting, Journal of Applied Ecology, ISSN:0021-8901
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