Student projects

MSc or MRes in Ecology, Evolution & Conservation: Student publications

Our aim is for students to conduct novel research that contributes to new scientific knowledge, and our objective is to teach the importance of effectively disseminating research to a wider audience. Students will learn the skills needed to effectively advertise and communicate their research, for instance through manuscript preparation for peer-review journals and oral presentations of work at conferences.

We are very proud with the EEC course's excellent track record of student work being published in international peer review journals. Here is just a selection of Silwood Masters students' publications over the past five years, with student names in bold and supervisor names in bold and italics:


DB Smith, AN Arce, A Ramos Rodrigues, PH Bischoff, D Burris, F Ahmed, RJ Gill Insecticide exposure during brood or early-adult development reduces brain growth and impairs adult learning in bumblebees. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 287 (1922), 20192442

Yunke Peng, Keith J. Bloomfield and Iain Colin Prentice. A theory of plant function helps to explain leaf-trait and productivity responses to elevation. New Phytologist

Wiederkehr, Wilkinson, Zeng, Yeo, Ewers, O'Gorman. (in press) Urbanisation affects ecosystem functioning more than structure in tropical streams. Biological Conservation

Stewart, P.S., Voskamp, A., Biber, M.F., Hof, C., Willis, S.G., Tobias, J.A. (submitted) Global impacts of climate change on avian functional diversity. Global Change Biology.

Pathak, A., Nowell, R.W., Wilson, C.G., Ryan, M.J., Barraclough, T.G. Comparative genomics of Alexander Fleming’s celebrated fungus Penicillium rubens (IMI 15378) reveals sequence divergence of penicillin synthesis genes. In revision Sci. Reports.

Osborne OG, Kafle T, Brewer T, Dobreva MP, Hutton I, Savolainen V. Sympatric speciation in Mountain Roses (Metrosideros) on an oceanic island. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences

Guy, P., I.C. Prentice and S. Smart (2020) Drivers of vascular plant species area relationships in British broadleaved woodlands and their effects on the species area curve. bioRxiv 943282.

Dongyang Wei, I. Colin Prentice and Sandy P. Harrison The climatic space of European pollen taxa. Ecology

Cator LJ, Johnson LR, Mordecai EA, El Moustaid F, Smallwood T, La Deau S, Johansson M, Hudson PJ, Boots M, Thomas MB, Power AG, & Pawar S. More than a flying syringe: Using functional traits in vector borne disease research. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution.

Benítez-López, A., Santini, L., Gallego-Zamorano, J., Mila, B., Walkden, P., Huijbregts, M., Tobias, J.A. (submitted) The island rule explains consistent patterns of body size evolution across terrestrial vertebrates. Nature Ecol. Evol.


D Kenna, H Cooley, I Pretelli, A Ramos Rodrigues, SD Gill, RJ Gill Pesticide exposure affects flight dynamics and reduces flight endurance in bumblebees. Ecology and Evolution 9 (10), 5637-5650

Woon, J. S., M. J. W. Boyle, R. M. Ewers, A. Chung, and P. Eggleton. Termite environmental tolerances are more linked to desiccation than temperature in modified tropical forests. Insectes Sociaux 66:57-64.

Wei, D., P. González-Sampériz, G. Gil-Romera, S.P. Harrison and I.C. Prentice. Climate changes in interior semi-arid Spain from the last interglacial to the late Holocene. Climate of the Past Discussions.

TP Smith, T J H Thomas, B Garcia-Carreras, S Sal, G Yvon-Durocher, T Bell, and S Pawar. Community-Level Respiration of Prokaryotic Microbes May Rise with Global Warming, Nature Communications, 10

Schmutzer, M., Barraclough, T.G. The role of recombination, local versus global gene pools, and flexible genomes in the ecological speciation of bacteria. Ecology and Evolution. 9: 4544-4556

Qie, L., E. M. Telford, M. R. Massam, H. Tangki, R. Nilus, A. Hector, and R. M. Ewers. Drought cuts back regeneration in logged tropical forests. Environmental Research Letters 14:8.

Qie, L., A. D. Elsy, A. Stumvoll, M. Kwasnicka, A. L. Peel, J. A. Sullivan, M. S. Ettinger, A. J. Robertson, J. K. Brisbane, A. L. Sawyer, Y. N. Lui, S. Ngim Ow, M. Sebastianelli, B. Majcher, M. Duan, H. Vigus, G. Pounsin, R. Nilus, and R. Ewers. Impending regeneration failure of the IUCN Vulnerable Borneo Ironwood (Eusideroxylon zwageri). Tropical Conservation Science 12:1940082918823353.

Orme, C. D. L., S. Mayor, L. dos Anjos, P. F. Develey, J. H. Hatfield, J. C. Morante-Filho, J. M. Tylianakis, A. Uezu, and C. Banks-Leite. Distance to range edge determines sensitivity to deforestation. Nature Ecology & Evolution 3:886-891.

Matsushima W, Brink K, Schroeder J, Miska E, Gapp K. Mature sperm small RNA profile in the sparrow: implications for transgenerational effects of age on fitness. Environmental Epigenetics, 5, 1–11.

Latorre M, Nakagawa S, Burke T, Plaza M, Schroeder J. No evidence for kin recognition in a passerine bird. PlosOne

Heon, S. P., P. M. Chapman, H. Bernard, and R. M. Ewers. Small logging roads do not restrict movements of forest rats in Bornean logged forests. Biotropica 51:412-420.

Girndt A, Cockburn G, Sánchez Tójar A, Hertel M, Burke T, Schroeder J. Male age and its association with reproductive traits in captive and wild house sparrows. Journal for Evolutionary Biology.

Chapman, P. M., R. Loveridge, J. M. Rowcliffe, C. Carbone, H. Bernard, C. W. Davison, and R. M. Ewers. Minimal spillover of native small mammals from Bornean tropical forests into adjacent oil palm plantations. Frontiers in Forests and Global Change 2:373-380.

Boothby C, Redfern C, Schroeder J. An evaluation of canes as a management technique to reduce predation by gulls on ground nesting seabirds. Ibis, 161, 453 458.


REJ Gray, RM Ewers, MJW Boyle, AYC Chung, RJ Gill Effect of tropical forest disturbance on the competitive interactions within a diverse ant community. Scientific Reports 8 (1), 1-12

AN Arce, A Ramos Rodrigues, J Yu, TJ Colgan, Y Wurm, RJ Gill Foraging bumblebees acquire a preference for neonicotinoid-treated food with prolonged exposure. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 285 (1885), 20180655

Schroeder J, Winney I, Bennett S, Sánchez-Tójar A, Girndt A The secret life of the Lundy house sparrows. J. Lundy Field Soc. 6, 101-104.

Sanchez-Tójar, A. Nakagawa, S, Sanchez-Fortun, M, Martin, DC, Ramini S, Girndt A, Bokony V, Kempenaers B, Liker A, Westneat D, Burke T, Schroeder J. Meta-analysis challenges a textbook example of status signaling: evidence for publication bias. eLife, Doi: 10.7554/eLife.37385

Rizzuto, M., Carbone, C. & Pawar, S. Foraging constraints reverse the scaling of activity time in carnivores. Nature Ecol. Evol. 2, 247–253.

Nowell, R.W., Almeida, P., Wilson, C.G., Smith, T.P., Fontaneto, D., Crisp, A., Micklem, G., Tunnaclife, A., Boschetti, C., Barraclough, T.G. Comparative genomics of bdelloid rotifers: Insights from desiccating and nondesiccating species. PLoS Biology 16: e2004830

Lang B, Igdobe S, McManus K, Qureshi A & Cator LJ. The effect of larval diet on adult survival, swarming activity, and copulation success in male Aedes aegypti (Diptera: Culicidae). Journal of Medical Entomology 55(1):29-35.

Hatfield, J. H., C. D. L. Orme, J. A. Tobias, and C. Banks-Leite. 2018. Trait-based indicators of bird species sensitivity to habitat loss are effective within but not across data sets. Ecological Applications 28:28-34.

Girndt A, Chng CWT, Burke T, Schroeder J. Male age is associated with extra-pair paternity, but not with extra-pair mating behaviour. Sci Rep, 8:8378. Doi:10.1038/s41598-018-26649-1.


AN Arce, TI David, EL Randall, A Ramos Rodrigues, TJ Colgan, Y Wurm, RJ Gill Impact of controlled neonicotinoid exposure on bumblebees in a realistic field setting. Journal of Applied Ecology 54 (4), 1199-1208

Twining, J. P., H. Bernard, and R. M. Ewers. Increasing land-use intensity reverses the relative occupancy of two quadrupedal scavengers. PLoS ONE 12:e0177143.

Parau LG, Kingma SA, Weigl SE, Dugdale HL, Lessells CM, Schroeder J. Dynamics in numbers of group-roosting individuals in relation to pair-sleeping occurrence and onset of egg-laying in European Bee-eaters Merops apiaster. J. Ornithol. 158, 1119¬–1122. DOI: 10.1007/s10336-017-1468-1.

Osborne OG, De-Kayne R, Bidartondo MI, Hutton I, Baker WJ, Turnbull CGN, Savolainen V. Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi promote coexistence and niche divergence of sympatric palm species on a remote oceanic island. New Phytologist 2017, 217:1254-1266

Girndt A, Cockburn G, Sanchez-Tojar A, Lovelie H, Schroeder J. Methods matter: experimental evidence for shorter avian sperm in faecal compared to abdominal massage samples. Plos ONE 12(8): e0182853. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0182853

Dunn N, Priestley V, Herraiz A, Arnold R, Savolainen V. Behavior and season affect crayfish detection and density inference using environmental DNA. Ecology and Evolution 2017, 30:224


Swift DG, Dunning LT, Igea J, Brooks EJ, Jones CS, Noble LR, Ciezarek A, Humble E, Savolainen V. Evidence of positive selection associated with placental loss in tiger sharks. BMC Evolutionary Biology 2016, 16

Neate-Clegg, M. H. C., E. C. Morshuis, and C. Banks-Leite. Edge effects in the avifaunal community of riparian rain-forest tracts in Tropical North Queensland. Journal of Tropical Ecology 32:280-289.

Loveridge, R., O. R. Wearn, M. Vieira, H. Bernard, and R. M. Ewers. Movement behavior of native and invasive small mammals shows logging may facilitate invasion in a tropical rain forest. Biotropica 48:373-380.

Jordan, S.M., Barraclough, T.G., Rosindell, J. Quantifying the effects of the break up of Pangaea on global terrestrial diversification with neutral theory. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. Lond. B. 371: 20150221

Humphreys, A.M., Rydin, C., Jønsson, K.A., Alsop, D., Callender‐Crowe, L.M., Barraclough, T.G. Detecting evolutionarily significant units above the species level using the generalised mixed Yule coalescent method. Methods in Ecology and Evolution. 11: 1366-1375

Ciezarek AG, Dunning LT, Jones CS, Noble LR, Humble E, Stefanni S, Savolainen V. Substitutions in the glycogenin-1 gene are associated with the evolution of endothermy in sharks and tunas. Genome Biology & Evolution 2016, 8:3011-3021

MSc Research Methods in Ecology: Student publications

In the fieldStudents on the MSc Research Methods in Ecology routinely contribute to active research programmes, and the training you receive means the project you conduct for your thesis should be should have value beyond obtaining your degree alone. For those interested in pursuing an academic career, the best outcome from your thesis is converting it into a publication – either as a standalone paper focussed on your thesis, or with your data and insights contributing to a bigger picture paper. 

We make publishing as easy for you as we can: we give a lot of detailed feedback on your project plan, we have regular writing workshops to help you hone the final product, and we require you to submit your thesis in a format suitable for submission to an international journal.  We know how important it is for students who want to go on in academia to get their work published, and thesis supervisors routinely provide support for students for several years after finishing the course to help them publish.

MSc Research Methods in Ecology is a relatively new course, but we’re already seeing past students convert their theses into publications.  A couple of examples are:

Academic staff at Silwood Park Campus, where this course is hosted, have a long track record of helping students turn their theses into publications.  Other examples of Silwood Masters student projects in tropical forest ecology that have been published include: