The scientific interests of my research group are on a broad scale, but our research generally involves the study of animal responses to environmental stressors 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, behaviour(s) and fitness measures and how this can scale up to 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 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 third season of our Arctic bumblebee project will be starting in May. The project welcomes Michael Tansley, Sebastian Pipins and Alan Ward
Rich Gill has been involved in a recent National Geographic funded project getting schools involved in insect pollinator surveys. https://www.opalexplorenature.org/natgeo
Danny Kenna's research was covered by Reuters film team. Click Here
Smith et al. (2020) Insecticide exposure during brood or early-adult development reduces brain growth and impairs adult learning in bumblebees. in Proc. Roy. Soc. B. doi: 10.1098/rspb.2019.2442
Samuelson, Gill & Leadbeater (in press) Urbanisation is associated with reduced Nosema sp. infection, higher colony strength and higher richness of foraged pollen in honeybees. in Apidologie,
Kenna*, Cooley* et al. (2019) Pesticide exposure affects flight dynamics and reduces flight endurance in bumblebees. in Ecology & Evolution.
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
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 4th year)
NERC funded DTP PhD student: Daniel Kenna (in 3rd year)
PhD co-supervisor for: Joe Palmer (Sup. Dr Vincent Jansen, RHUL), BBSRC
In collaboration: Dr Victoria Mullin (NHM London)
Masters students: Michael Tansley, Aoife Cantwell-Jones, Connor Lovell, Henrique Galante Nunes de Sousa, Sarah Hudson, Sebastian Pipins, Alan Ward
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: Emma Eatough, Xeuni Bian, Lottie Gibbons, Rach Dawson, Freja Gjerstad, Chloe Sargent and Stephen Bishop (2019); 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., 2020, Insecticide exposure during brood or early-adult development reduces brain growth and impairs adult learning in bumblebees, Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, Vol:287, ISSN:0962-8452
et al., 2019, Caste- and pesticide-specific effects of neonicotinoid pesticide exposure on gene expression in bumblebees, Molecular Ecology, Vol:28, ISSN:0962-1083, Pages:1964-1974
et al., 2018, Foraging bumblebees acquire a preference for neonicotinoid treated food with prolonged exposure, Proceedings - Royal Society. Biological sciences, Vol:285, ISSN:1471-2954
et al., 2018, Lower bumblebee colony reproductive success in agricultural compared with urban environments, Proceedings - Royal Society. Biological sciences, Vol:285, ISSN:1471-2954
et al., 2016, Impact of controlled neonicotinoid exposure on bumblebees in a realistic field setting, Journal of Applied Ecology, Vol:54, ISSN:1365-2664, Pages:1199-1208
et al., 2016, Exploring miniature insect brains using micro-CT scanning techniques, Scientific Reports, Vol:6, ISSN:2045-2322
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
et al., 2013, Chronic sublethal stress causes bee colony failure, Ecology Letters, Vol:16, ISSN:1461-023X, Pages:1463-1469