Masters project opportunities (start date April 2019) - please directly contact me by email if interested
Plant-pollinator responses to climate change - studying Arctic bumblebees - fieldwork in Lapland, Northern Sweden
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.
In January we held our second steering committee meeting to discuss the progress of the NERC funded Bumblebee Sensitivity to Agricultural Land Use Change project
Lottie Gibbons, Ryan Richardson, Eva Linehan and Rachel have joined the group to conduct their Masters projects on the effect of climatic variation on plant-pollinator communities.
Dylan Smith successfully passed the viva of his PhD looking at pesticide effects on brain development and behaviour - massive congrats Dr!
Danny Kenna won the runner-up prize for best PhD talk at the British Ecological Society 2018 meeting in Birmingham - Well Done Danny!
Emma Eatough & Xueni (Linka) Bian have joined the group to conduct their Masters projects on morphological evolution in bumblebees
Kenna*, Cooley* et al. (in press) Pesticide exposure affects flight dynamics and reduces flight endurance in bumblebees. in Ecology & Evolution. Pre-print version can be found at: https://www.biorxiv.org/content/biorxiv/early/2018/10/22/449280.full.pdf
Colgan*, Fletcher*, Arce* et al. (2019) Caste- and pesticide-specific effects of neonicotinoid pesticide exposure on gene expression in bumblebees’. in Molecular Ecology. doi:10.1111/mec.15047
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
Current Group (see 'research' page for more details)
Independent Fellow hosted by Gill lab: Dr Peter Graystock
Associated Fellow: Dr Jacob Johansson
NERC funded PDRA: Dr Andres Arce
BBSRC funded PhD student: Ana Ramos-Rodrigues (in 3rd year)
NERC funded DTP PhD student: Daniel Kenna (in 2nd year)
PhD co-supervisor for: Liz Samuelson (Sup. Dr Elli Leadbeater, RHUL), BBSRC
PhD co-supervisor for: Joe Palmer (Sup. Dr Vincent Jansen, RHUL), BBSRC
In collaboration: Dr Victoria Mullin (NHM London), Joe Colgan (QMUL & Trinity College Dublin)
Masters students: Emma Eatough, Xeuni Bian, Lottie Gibbons, Eva Linehan, Rach Dawson, Freja Gjerstad and Stephen Bishop
Previous Group Members
Grantham funded PDRA: Dr Kirsty Yule
NERC funded DTP PhD student: Dylan Smith (2014-2019)
BBSRC PhD student: Leonie Gough
Erasmus visiting Masters student: Illaria Pretelli
Masters project students: Jacob Birkenhead, Marcus Rhodes, Tara Cox, Libby Bates, Miranda Burke, Flo Coulmance--Gayrard (2018); 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., 2019, Caste- and pesticide-specific effects of neonicotinoid pesticide exposure on gene expression in bumblebees., Mol Ecol
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., 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., 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., 2013, Chronic sublethal stress causes bee colony failure, Ecology Letters, Vol:16, ISSN:1461-023X, Pages:1463-1469
et al., 2016, Protecting an Ecosystem Service: Approaches to Understanding and Mitigating Threats to Wild Insect Pollinators, ECOSYSTEM SERVICES: FROM BIODIVERSITY TO SOCIETY, PT 2, Editor(s): Woodward, Bohan, ELSEVIER ACADEMIC PRESS INC, Pages:135-+, ISBN:978-0-08-100978-9