Dr. Beth Nicholls
Dr Sergio Rossoni
Research fellow in insect electrophysiology
I moved from Italy to the UK in 2012, to start my undergraduate degree in Neuroscience and Cognitive Science at the University of Sussex. After my BSc, I stayed at Sussex to complete an MRes in Neuroscience in Prof Jeremy Niven's lab, looking at the motor control of insect prey and predators. I moved to the University of Cambridge in 2016 to start a PhD in Zoology. During my doctoral research, I investigated the behavioural strategies predators use to spot and catch prey, collaborating with Prof Paloma Gonzalez-Bellido, Prof Jeremy Niven, and the University of Minnesota. After completing my PhD, I moved back to the University of Sussex where I am currently a post-doctoral research fellow in Dr Beth Nicholls's lab, researching how bees process chemical information of pollen.
I am interested in understanding how information is exchanged between individuals in food webs, and how inter-individual relations of conflict and cooperation are successfully established. How do predators spot and capture prey that does not want to be seen and caught? How can plants attract pollinators to reproduce, while at the same time avoiding being predated upon? I try to answer these questions by studying how insects have adapted to many different lifestyles so successfully. To do so, I use a variety of techniques including behavioural analysis, electrophysiology, computational modelling, and microscopy
Dr Natacha Rossi
Research fellow in insect behaviour
Animal Behaviour Live: http://www.animalbehaviour.live/
I am a behavioural ecologist specialising in cognition, with a particular interest in decision making and the ultimate causes underlying observed behaviour. My approach to science leans towards a non-anthropocentrism of cognitive science, being more interested in how species have evolved to adapt to their environment.
My current project with Beth focuses on flower choices and pollen foraging in bees. We want to quantify the energetic and temporal costs associated with switching from one type of flower to another and ultimately determine the relative contribution of reward quality and handling costs in flower choice during pollen foraging.
In my previous post-doc, I worked on my own research project (Fyssen Fellowship), in the lab of Prof. Lars Chittka and in collaboration with Dr. Joe Woodgate, in which we tracked male bumblebees in 3D to answer several questions related to movement rules and use of space between food and mating objects, and whether males trade off pre-copulatory behaviours for food as a function of spatial configuration of flowers and food quantity.
My previous postdoctoral work (ECOS+ Fellowship, University of Buenos Aires) and my PhD (Universities Paul Sabatier and Paris 13) focused on broadening the definition of pheromones by exploring their modulatory effect on responsiveness, learning and decision making in different social insect species (Apis mellifera, Camponotus aethiops, Linepithema humile).
When I find time, I like to dance tango and salsa and create things.
Co-supervised doctoral students
Yanet Sepulveda De La Rosa
- Dr Janine Griffiths-Lee
- Gilles Verbinnen
- Katie Berry
- Becca Morgan