Evolution and Ecology

The Evolution and Ecology research group is a highly collaborative, multi-disciplinary community of academics, postgraduate students and postdoctoral researchers. We aim to understand the evolution and ecology of populations, species and communities across all levels of biological organisation, from genes through to ecosystems. Key themes within our research include the diversification of species over time, the response of species, populations and communities to global change, and behavioural ecology. Current areas of research within the group include sexual selection, plant-animal interactions, sensory ecology, population genetics and ecology, paleobiology, natural selection and macroecology, microbial ecology and comparative biomechanics.

Our interdisciplinary research benefits from strong links with members of the School of Psychology and the School of Computer Science, other research groups within Life Sciences, particularly the Animal Behaviour, Cognition and Welfare group, and through a network of national and international collaborations.

Name Position/Research interests
Dr Fouad El Baidouri Research Fellow
01522 837420
Dr Sheena Cotter Senior Lecturer
Eco-immunology, nutritional ecology, host-parasite interactions, insect ecology
Dr Charles Deeming Principal Lecturer
Avian and reptilian reproduction
01522 835452
Dr Jenny Dunn Lecturer in Animal Health and Disease
Host-parasite interactions and parasite transmission in wildlife
01522 835845
Dr Paul Eady Reader
Behavioural ecology
01522 835461
Dr Michael Gillman Senior Lecturer
Ecology, evolution, statistics, mathematical models
Prof Matthew Goddard Professor
Population and community ecology
Dr Adrian Goodman Senior Lecturer
Plant biomechanics
01522 886802
Dr Oscar Guadayol i Roig Research Fellow
Dr Catrin Gunther Postdoctoral Research Fellow
01522 835307
Prof Stephen Hall Emeritus Professor
Prof Stuart Humphries Professor of Evolutionary Biophysics
Comparative biomechanics and biological fluid dynamics
01522 886018
Dr Graziella Iossa Back to Science Fellow
Behavioural ecology and evolutionary biology
01522 837039
Prof Libby John Pro Vice Chancellor/Head of College of Science and Engineering
Plant ecology, plant-animal interactions, root-soil interactions, biodiversity
Dr Thorin Jonsson Postdoctoral researcher
Bioacoustics and biomechanics of acoustic communication in insects
Dr Fernando Montealegre-Z Reader
Sensory biology, biomechanics of sound production and hearing in insects
01522 835460
Dr Andre Moura Lecturer
The interaction between genetics, ecology and physiology
01522 886805
Dr Tom Pike Senior Lecturer
Sensory and behavioural ecology
01522 835255
Dr Malgorzata Pilot Lecturer
Evolutionary genetics
01522 835024
Dr Daniel Pincheira-Donoso Senior Lecturer
Evolutionary biology and macroecology
01522 835025
Dr Marcello Ruta Senior Lecturer
Analytical evolutionary palaeobiology
01522 835470
Dr Rudi Schuech Research Fellow
Biological engineering and numerical modeling
Dr Carl Soulsbury Senior Lecturer
Behavioural ecology and evolutionary biology
01522 835026
Dr Sandra Varga Lecturer
Plant and mycorrhizal ecology
01522 837403
Prof Dave Wilkinson Visiting Professor
Ecology, evolution, archaeology and Earth Science



Current Funded Projects:
Leverhulme, Royal Society, and National Geographic

Principle Investigator
1. A Whole Supply Chain Hurdle Approach To Control Campylobacter. BBSRC & Innovate UK. 2.5 years; £530,308.
2. Resilient and profitable wine: vineyards as ecosystems. New Zealand Winegrowers and The New Zealand Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment. 7 years; £4,075,198.
3. Lifestyle wines. Primary Growth Partnership, New Zealand Winegrowers. 6 years; £582,416.
4. Wine Yeast Ecology: fitting yeast to juice. Plant and Food Research Ltd, New Zealand. 1 year; £120,000
5. Microbes beyond the soil. Plant and Food Research Ltd, New Zealand. 3 years; £210,000
6. Population genomics of the wine spoilage yeast Brettanomyces bruxellensis. New Zealand Winegrowers. 2 years; £42,470

Associate Investigator
7. RIF - Autonomous Field Rover for Agricultural Research. University of Lincoln. 1 year; £69,097.
8. Evolution in action: A novel model for studying pathogen adaptation in vivo. Health Research Council, New Zealand. 2 years; £87,324
9. Exploiting NZ fungal communities to enhance tropical aroma in wine. Plant and Food Research Ltd, New Zealand. 3 years; £240,000

Total = £6 million

Project: "The evolution of acoustic communication in fossil and extant insects”. Leverhulme Trust. Value: £250k.

Abstract: Our understanding of the evolution of acoustic communication is limited, yet vital to comprehend analogous
sensory mechanisms across unrelated species. In hard-bodied animals, like insects, complex acoustic processes
can be inferred from the structures that produce and detect sound. Through biophysical comparisons between
fossil and living bushcricket species using X-ray microCT, laser interferometry, and finite element modelling, we
will map the evolution of sophisticated ultrasound hearing. Using physical models borrowed from engineering, this
research will also provide first insights into the evolution of cochlea-like organs in insects, the acoustic ecology of
extinct forests, and the sensory biology of their inhabitants.

Title: Sex-specific interactions in arbuscular mycorrhizas in an ecological community context.
Funder: European Commission.
Description: The importance of below-ground organisms for plant growth, plant community dynamics and ecosystem processes is widely recognised. Among them, arbuscular mycorrhizal symbioses are key elements as they mediate plant resource acquisition. Sex-specific interactions between arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi and sexually dimorphic plants occur probably as a result of the different resource needs and allocation patterns. Most available studies on this topic have been exclusively focused on two trophic levels, neglecting the fact that plants live in complex multi-trophic scenarios, where both mutualistic and antagonistic relationships interact both above- and below-ground. This project explores arbuscular mycorrhizal fungal interactions in a more realistic multi-trophic context.

Form and Function in a Microbial World — Awarded £941,000 by The Leverhulme Trust in 2012.


Representative recent publications:

Lindstedt, Carita and Boncoraglio, Giuseppe and Cotter, Sheena and Gilbert, James and Kilner, Rebecca M. (2017) Aposematism in the burying beetle? Dual function of anal fluid in parental care and chemical defence. Behavioral Ecology.

Anten-Houston, Matthew and Ruta, Marcello and Deeming, Charles (2017) Effects of phylogeny and locomotor style on the allometry of body mass and pelvic dimensions in birds. Journal of Anatomy.

El baidouri, Fouad and Venditti, Chris and Humphries, Stuart (2017) Independent evolution of shape and motility allows evolutionary flexibility in Firmicutes bacteria. Nature Ecology & Evolution.

Fawcett, John K. and Fawcett, Jeanne M. and Soulsbury, Carl D. (2017) Seasonal and sex-specific differences in feeding site attendance by red foxes Vulpes vulpes. Mammal Study, 42, 117-120.

Liu, Lemian and Liu, Min and Wilkinson, Dave and Chen, Huihuang and Yu, Xiaoqing and Yang, Jun (2017) DNA metabarcoding reveals that 200 μm size-fractionated filtering is unable to discriminate between planktonic microbial and large eukaryotes. Molecular Ecology Resources.

Varga, Sandra and Soulsbury, Carl (2017) Sexually-trimorphic interactions with colour polymorphism determine nectar quality in a herbaceous perennial. Scientific Reports, 7, 45838.

Elzinga, Jelmer A. and Varga, Sandra (2017) Prolonged stigma and flower lifespan in females of the gynodioecious plant Geranium sylvaticum. Flora - Morphology, Distribution, Functional Ecology of Plants, 226, 72-81.

Soldati, Francesca and Burman, Oliver and John, Libby and Pike, Tom and Wilkinson, Anna (2017) Long-term memory of relative reward values. Biology Letters, 13 (2).

Ball, Laura and Shreves, Kypher and Pilot, Malgorzata and Moura, Andre (2017) Temporal and geographic patterns of kinship structure in common dolphins (Delphinus delphis) suggest site fidelity and female-biased long-distance dispersal. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 71 (8).

Knight, Sarah and Klaere, Steffen and Morrison-Whittle, Peter and Goddard, Matthew (2017) Fungal diversity during fermentation correlates with thiol concentrations in wine. Australian Journal of Grape and Wine Research.

Jonsson, Thorin and Chivers, Benedict and Robson-Brown, Kate A. and Sarria, Fabio and Walker, Matthew and Montealegre-Z, Fernando (2017) Chamber music - An unusual Helmholtz resonator for song amplification in a Neotropical bush-cricket (Orthoptera, Tettigoniidae). Journal of Experimental Biology, 220.

Eady, Paul E. and Brown, Denise V. (2017) Male-female interactions drive the (un)repeatability of copula duration in an insect. Royal Society Open Science.

Clack, J.A. and Bennett, C.A. and Carpenter, D.K. and Davies, S.J. and Fraser, N.C. and Kearsey, T.J. and Marshall, J.E.A. and Millward, D. and Otoo, B.K.A. and Reeves, E.J. and Ross, A.J. and Ruta, M. and Smithson, K.Z. and Smithson, T.R. and Walsh, S.A. (2017) Phylogenetic and environmental context of a Tournaisian tetrapod fauna. Nature Ecology and Evolution, 1, 2.

Pincheira-Donoso, Daniel and Hunt, John (2017) Fecundity selection theory: concepts and evidence. Biological Reviews, 92, 341-356.

Wilkinson, David M. and Lovas-Kiss, Adam and Callaghan, Des A. and Green, Andy J. (2017) Endozoochory of large bryophyte fragments by waterbirds. Cryptogamie Bryologie.

Gillman, Michael P. and Erenler, Hilary E. (2017) Globally disruptive events show predictable timing patterns. International Journal of Astrobiology, 16, 91-96.

Miller, Charlotte and Cotter, Sheena (2017) Pathogen and immune dynamics during maturation are explained by Bateman’s Principle. Ecological Entomology.

Chivers, Benedict D. and Bethoux, Olivier and Sarria-S, Fabio A. and Jonsson, Thorin and Mason, Andrew C. and Montealegre-Z, Fernando (2017) Functional morphology of tegmina-based stridulation in the relict species Cyphoderris monstrosa (Orthoptera: Ensifera: Prophalangopsidae). Journal of Experimental Biology, 220, 1112-1121.

Mainwaring, Mark and Barber, Iain and Deeming, D. Charles and Pike, David A. and Rosnik, Elizabeth and Hartley, Ian (2017) Climate change and nesting behaviour: a review of the ecological threats and potential for adaptive responses. Biological Reviews.

Hindrikson, Maris and Remm, Jaanus and Pilot, Malgorzata and et al., (22 authors) (2017) Wolf population genetics in Europe: a systematic review, meta-analysis and suggestions for conservation and management. Biological Reviews.

Soulsbury, Carl and Lebigre, Christophe (2017) Viability selection creates negative HFCs in female black grouse Lyrurus tetrix. Journal of Ornithology.

Matsubara, Satoko and Deeming, D. Charles and Wilkinson, Anna (2017) Cold-blooded cognition: new directions in reptile cognition. Current Opinions in Behavioral Sciences.

Frohnwieser, Anna and Pike, Thomas W. and Murray, John C. and Wilkinson, Anna (2017) Lateralized eye use towards video stimuli in bearded dragons. Animal Behavior and Cognition.

Deeming, Charles and Biddle, Lucia and du Feu, Christopher (2017) Interspecific and intraspecific spatial separation by birds breeding in nest boxes. Avian Conservation & Ecology, 12, 1-9.

Marx, Melanie and Reiner, Gerald and Willems, Hermann and Rocha, Gregorio and Hillerich, Klaus and Masello, Juan F. and Mayr, Sylvia L. and Moussa, Sarah and Dunn, Jenny C. and Thomas, Rebecca C. and Goodman, Simon J. and Hamer, Keith C. and Metzger, Benjamin and Cecere, Jacopo G. and Spina, Fernando and Koschkar, Steffen and Calderón, Luciano and Romeike, Tanja and Quillfeldt, Petra (2017) High prevalence of Trichomonas gallinae in wild columbids across western and southern Europe. Parasites & Vectors, 10.

Rosenberger, Joanna and Deeming, Charles and Ɓukaszewicz, Ewa and Kowalczyk, Artur (2017) Changes of eggshell characteristics during embryo development in Western Capercaillie (Tetrao urogallus). Avian Biology Research, 10, 92-97.

Biddle, Lucia and Goodman, Adrian and Deeming, Charles (2017) Construction patterns of birds' nests provide insight into nest-building behaviours. PeerJ, 5, e3010.

Dunn, Jenny C. and Stockdale, Jennifer E. and Bradford, Emma L. and McCubbin, Alexandra and Morris, Antony J. and Grice, Philip V. and Goodman, Simon J. and Hamer, Keith C. (2017) High rates of infection by blood parasites during the nestling phase in UK Columbids with notes on ecological associations. Parasitology, 144, 622-628.

Bernardi, Massimo and Angielczyk, Kenneth D. and Mitchell, Jonathan S. and Ruta, Marcello (2016) Phylogenetic stability, tree shape, and character compatibility: a case study using early tetrapods. Systematic biology, 65, 737-758.

Siviter, Harry and Deeming, D. Charles and Rosenberger, Joanna and Burman, Oliver H. P. and Moszuti, Sophie A. and Wilkinson, Anna (2017) The impact of egg incubation temperature on the personality of oviparous reptiles. Animal Cognition, 20, 109-116.

Kikuchi, David W. and Kattan, Gustavo H. and Murcia, Carolin and Montealegre-Z, Fernando (2017) Endless forms most hidden: katydids that masquerade as moss. Ecology, 105.

Morrison-Whittle, Peter and Goddard, Matthew (2017) Fungal communities are differentially affected by conventional and biodynamic agricultural management approaches in vineyard ecosystems. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment.

Dunn, Jenny C. and Morris, Antony J. and Grice, Philip V. (2017) Post-fledging habitat selection in a rapidly declining farmland bird, the European turtle dove Streptopelia turtur. Bird Conservation International, 27, 45-57.

Dunn, Jenny C. and Hamer, Keith C. and Benton, Tim G. (2017) Dynamics of phenotypic change: wing length declines in a resident farmland passerine despite survival advantage of longer wings. Ibis, 159, 152-157.

Guadayol, Òscar and Thornton, Katie L. and Humphries, Stuart (2017) Cell morphology governs directional control in swimming bacteria. Scientific Reports, 7.

Sarria, Fabio and Chivers, Benedict and Soulsbury, Carl and Montealegre-Z, Fernando (2017) Non-invasive biophysical measurement of travelling waves in the insect inner ear. Royal Society Open Science, 4.

Varga, S., Vega-Frutis, R. and Kytöviita, M.-M. (2016) Competitive interactions are mediated in a sex-specific manner by arbuscular mycorrhiza in Antennaria dioica. Plant Biology.

El Baidouri, F., Venditti, C. and Humphries, S. (2016) Independent evolution of shape and motility allows evolutionary flexibility in Firmicutes bacteria. Nature Ecology and Evolution.

Duarte, A., Cotter, S. C., Reavey, C. E., Ward, R. J. S., De Gasperin, O. and Kilner, R. M. (2016) Social immunity of the family: parental contributions to a public good modulated by brood size. Evolutionary Ecology, 30, 123-135.

Lebigre, C., Timmermmans, C. and Soulsbury, C. D. (2016) No behavioural response to kin competition in a lekking bird. Behavioural Ecology and Sociobiology, 70, 1457.

Hindrikson, M., Remm, J., Pilot, M. et al. (2016) Wolf population genetics in Europe: a systematic review, meta-analysis and suggestions for conservation and management. Biological Reviews.

Jonsson, T., Montealegre-Z, F., Soulsbury, C., Robson Brown, K. A. and Robert, D. (2016) Auditory mechanics in a bush-cricket: direct evidence of dual sound inputs in the pressure difference receiver. Journal of the Royal Society Interface, 13, 20160560.

Soulsbury, C. D., Kervinen, M. & Lebigre, C. (2016) Curse of the black spot: melanin spotting negatively correlates with fitness in black grouse Lyrurus tetrix. Behavioural Ecology, 27, 1362-1369.

Varga, S. and Kytöviita, M.-M. (2016) Faster acquisition of symbiotic partner by common mycorrhizal networks in early plant life stage. Ecosphere, 7, e01222.

Bernardi, M., Angielczyk, K. D., Mitchell, J. S. and Ruta, M. (2016) Phylogenetic stability, tree shape, and character compatibility: a case study using early tetrapods. Systematic Biology, 65, 737–758.

Goddard, M. R. (2016) Molecular evolution: Sex accelerates adaptation. Nature, 531, 176–177.

Chivers, B., Jonsson, T., Jackson, J., Kleinhappel, T., Windmill, J. F. C. and Montealegre-Z, F. (2016) Distribution of sound pressure around a singing cricket: radiation pattern and asymmetry in the sound field. Bioacoustics, 25, 161-176.

Ruta, M. and Wills, M. A. (2016) Comparable disparity in the appendicular skeleton across the fish–tetrapod transition, and the morphological gap between fish and tetrapod postcrania. Palaeontology, 59, 249–267.

Kervinen, M., Lebigre, C. and Soulsbury, C. D. (2016). Simultaneous age-dependent and age-independent sexual selection in the lekking black grouse (Lyrurus tetrix). Journal of Animal Ecology, 85, 715-725.


We welcome applications at any time from prospective MSc by Research (MScRes), MPhil and PhD students wishing to join our thriving postgraduate research community. For further information on the range of research topics available and details of how to apply please see the School of Life Sciences Postgraduate webpages.


School of Life Sciences, University of Lincoln, Brayford Pool, Lincoln. LN6 7TS 

email: enquiries@lincoln.ac.uk
tel: + 44 (0)1522 886654