Imperial College London

Dr Richard J. Gill

Faculty of Natural SciencesDepartment of Life Sciences (Silwood Park)

Senior Lecturer



+44 (0)20 7594 2215r.gill Website




N2.13MunroSilwood Park





3 PhD studentship opportunities (start date Oct 2019)

The toxic challenge: how do we control mosquito populations responsibly in small tropical island ecosystems? (field work in the Maldives)

Windows into the past: understanding historic bee population declines through genome sequencing 150 years of museum specimens

Will pollinators be at the mercy of their microbes as the climate changes?

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

Developing sustainable pesticide usage when controlling pest (mosquito and caterpillar populations) - fieldwork in the Maldives

Research Interests

Please find my research group website on insect ecology & evolution here:

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:

Research Focus - Dr Richard Gill

Please see my research page for further details.



Dylan Smith has now submitted his PhD thesis looking at pesticide effects on brain development and behaviour - Congrats!

Andres, Peter, Jacob, Danny and Rich will be presenting their work at BES 2018 in December. 

Emma Eatough has joined the group to conduct her Masters project on morphological evolution in bumblebees 

Peter Graystock has started his Imperial College Fellowship where he will be looking at bees, pesticides and parasites, and hosted by the Gill lab 

Danny Kenna has submitted the first paper of his PhD for publication:  

Recent publications:

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 Peter Graystock

Fellow: Dr Jacob Johansson

NERC funded PDRA: Dr Andres Arce

NERC funded DTP PhD student: Dylan Smith (awaiting viva)

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 

In collaboration: Dr Victoria Mullin (NHM London)

Masters students: Emma Eatough

Previous Group Members

Grantham funded PDRA: Dr Kirsty Yule

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)

Selected Publications

Journal Articles

Arce AN, Rodrigues AR, Yu J, 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

Samuelson AE, Gill RJ, Brown MJF, 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

Arce AN, David TI, Randall EL, 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

Smith DB, Bernhardt G, Raine NE, et al., 2016, Exploring miniature insect brains using micro-CT scanning techniques., Sci Rep, Vol:6

Gill RJ, Baldock KCR, Brown MJF, 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

Bryden J, Gill RJ, Mitton RAA, et al., 2013, Chronic sublethal stress causes bee colony failure, Ecology Letters, Vol:16, ISSN:1461-023X, Pages:1463-1469

More Publications