Evolution, behaviour and environment


We study how organisms interact with the environment across a range of habitats, including tropical rainforests and temperate grasslands. Furthermore, we care about how these species and environments can be conserved.

Our researchers

Dr Maria Clara Castellanos

Dr Maria Clara Castellanos

Our research is focused on the ecological and evolutionary mechanisms that cause and maintain the high diversity of flowering plants. Our main interest is in plant interactions with animals and with environmental factors in wild populations. We do field work in tropical, temperate and Mediterranean environments.

For more information visit the Plant Evolutionary Ecology website

Professor Dave Goulson

Prof Dave GoulsonI study the ecology, behaviour and conservation of bumblebees. I'm also interested in pollinators and pollination more generally, and particularly in the sustainable management of pollinators in agro-ecosystems. My group uses a broad range of approaches, from genetic studies (of inbreeding, population structure, and as a means of estimating nest density) to behavioural assays to large-scale field trials. In recent years we have become heavily involved in studies of the impacts of pesticides on bumblebees. We are also involved in various “Citizen Science” projects as a mechanism to involve large numbers of people in conservation and in science more generally, and also as a means for gathering large data sets. In 2003 I bought a farm in France on which to carry out large-scale habitat manipulation experiments.

For more information visit the Goulson Lab website

Professor Fiona Mathews

Professor Fiona MathewsI work on the responses of mammals to modern environmental challenges. In the context of our evolutionary history, there has been a rapid increase in the intensity, nature and range of many exposures since the industrial revolution: human population increases and associated changes in social organisation and nutritional profiles, not only affect the health and well-being of people, but also influence the status of wild mammals. In addition, novel exposures, such as the use of mobile telephones or the generation of wind energy, may have unintended consequences. My work integrates epidemiological and ecological approaches to quantify the effects of environmental challenges on individuals and populations, and seeks to find sustainable solutions.

Dr Beth Nicholls

Beth Nicholls

We use a combination of behavioural, physiological and field-based techniques to study the sensory and cognitive mechanisms that underpin the foraging decisions of insect pollinators. We are interested in the implications of foraging choices both for the nutritional ecology of pollinators, and plant-pollinator interactions. We also examine how external stressors such as pesticide exposure or novel diseases impact on the physiology and behaviour of bees.

For more information, visit the Nicholls Lab website.

Professor Pierre Nouvellet

Pierre NouvelletMy current research focuses on developing statistical methods to estimate relevant parameters within complex ecological setting by integrating various sources of information in order to better understand the dynamics of diseases’ transmission and mitigate their public health risk.

The focus of my current work concentrates on 3 themes:

      • Vector-borne and zoonotic diseases, with a strong focus on rabies and Chagas disease.
      • Emerging diseases, with a strong focus on MERS-CoV, Ebola, Zika and antibiotic resistance.
      • Rapid response to outbreaks and real-time analysis, with a strong focus on developing tools and capacity ahead of future outbreaks.

In each of those 3 themes, my interests broadly sit at the interface between ecology and epidemiology where the potential for endemic and (re-)emerging zoonotic diseases lies.

For more information, visit the Infectious Diseases Modelling Lab website.

Professor Mika Peck

Mika Peck

Our work ranges from defining conservation priorities of individual endangered species to investigating the impacts of global change on entire habitats. We are particularly interested in the mechanisms that generate and maintain species diversity in the world's biodiversity hotspots and human impact on these processes.

For more information visit the Peck Lab website.

Dr Chris Sandom

Dr Chris SandomI am a lecturer in Biology, specialising in rewilding and paleo ecology. My research seeks to understand the natural functioning of ecological processes such as predation, herbivory and disturbance. I then apply this research to improving conservation practices in the field of rewilding. Rewilding seeks to reverse the decline in biodiversity through the restoration of natural processes, typically by speices reintroduction. The ultimate aim of rewilding is to restore ecosystems that are rich in biodiversity, provide a balanced suite of ecosystem services and are themselves self-sustainaing.

For more information visit my profile page.

Professor Alan Stewart

Alan Stewart

I have broad research interests in population and community ecology, especially of insects.  A unifying theme running through the various projects in which I have been involved is how fundamental ecological principles can be used to assist the conservation of rare and endangered species and the preservation of biodiversity both in the UK and overseas.

For more information visit the Stewart Lab website