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Expertise: Ecology

Prof Lars Chittka
My research has established links between sensory physiology and learning psychology on the one hand, and evolutionary ecology on the other. Why do animals have the sensory systems they do? How do they use them in their natural foraging enviroment? How do cognitive-behavioural processes function in the economy of nature? Pollinator-plant interactions have been used as a model system to study these questions. I have been particularly interested in mutual evolutionary and ecological influences of insect colour vision and flower colour signals, and insect learning and flower advertising. In addition, I have studied bee navigation using large artificial landmarks, orientation of bees in complete darkness, as well as the question of how bees use spatial memory to navigate among several rewarded sites. Recently, I have also become interested in the evolution of cognitive capacities and communication, and the pollination biology of invasive plant species.

Dr Christopher Faulkes
My research interests broadly fall into mammalian evolution and, in particular, the evolution and maintenance of social and reproductive behaviour. This involves a multidisciplinary approach encompassing the fields of molecular ecology, molecular phylogenetics, reproductive physiology and behaviour. My specific study animals have focussed mainly on the African mole-rats of the family Bathyergidae, with some work also on a cooperatively breeding South American primate, the common marmoset monkey.

Prof Richard Nichols
My work combines the collection of genetic data with the development of new analytical methods. I have explored the use of genetic data to draw inferences about Forensic Science. Other interests include ecological and evolutionary history, as well as the evolution of viruses.

Prof Stephen Rossiter
I am interested in the causes and consequences of genetic structure, from the level of individuals to populations through to species. My research mainly focuses on bats, which number over 1,100 species, and range from solitary to highly social forms. I am especially interested in how populations diverge, and the mechanisms by which reproductive isolation is achieved in this process. Current projects include a long-term study of the mating and social behaviour in greater horseshoe bats, a comparative investigation of the impact of social organisation on gene flow in continuous bat populations, and the function of hearing genes in the evolution of echolocation, and their role in bat speciation.

Dr Athen Ma
I am interested in complex systems, graph theory, food web analysis and complex network analysis

Dr Emily Lines
I work on ecology, remote sensing and the terrestrial carbon cycle, with particular emphasis on forest ecology. I am interested in the structure and functioning of terrestrial ecosystems, how these vary with environmental conditions and how these will change with climate change.

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