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Dr Hannah Rowland

Dr Hannah Rowland

Lecturer in Ecology and Evolution

Hannah Rowland is interested in taking PhD students.

Room S8A
Office Phone: 01223 (3)31758


I'm a Lecturer in Ecology and Evolution and a member of the Behavioural Ecology Research Group. I research dietary decision making in songbirds. My work is funded by the British Ecological Society and The Royal Society.

Before arriving at Cambridge, I was a NERC-funded postdoctoral research associate at the University of Glasgow, where I investigated the evolution of masquerade: that's when animals mimic the appearance of inanimate objects such as twigs and leaves. And before that, I did a postdoc at the University of Liverpool, researching the evolution of mimicry.

In 2007 I completed my PhD, entitled "The visual and behavioural ecology of countershading and other defences", at the University of Liverpool. I studied wild free-living birds in the field, and captive wild-caught birds in aviary experiments - the Novel World [video] system at the University of Jyvaskyla. I published four papers from my thesis, with one in Nature (Rowland et al., 2007 ), and received two prizes: the Thomas Henry Huxley Award from the Zoological Society of London (for best zoology thesis in the UK), and theAlfred Russel Wallace Award from the Royal Entomological Society (for best entomology thesis).

Research Interests

My research focuses on the evolutionary ecology of prey defences and predator learning behaviour. My interests include bitter taste perception,masquerademimicry, and countershading. I am also interested in human mate preferences.

Key Publications

  • Rowland, H. M., Ruxton, G. D., Skelhorn, J. (2013) Bitter taste enhances predatory biases against aggregations of prey with warning coloration. Behavioral Ecology. 24: 942-948
  • Blount, J., Rowland, H. M., Drijfhout, F., Endler, J., Inger, R., Sloggett, J., Hurst, G., Hodgson, D., Speed, M. P. (2012) How the ladybird got its spots: effects of resource limitation on the honesty of aposematic signals. Functional Ecology. 26: 334-342
  • Ihalainen, E., Rowland, H. M., Speed, M. P., Ruxton, G. D., Mappes, J. M. (2012) Prey community structure affects how predators select for Mullerian mimicry. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, Series B. 279: 2099-2105
  • Higginson, A. D., de Wert, L., Rowland, H. M., Speed, M. P., Ruxton, G. D. (2012) Masquerade is associated with polyphagy and larval overwintering in the Lepidoptera. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society. 106: 90-103
  • Skelhorn, J., Rowland, H. M., Delf, J., Speed, M. P., Ruxton, G. D. (2011) Density-dependent predation influences the evolution and behaviour of masquerading prey. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 108, 6532-6536
  • Skelhorn, J, Rowland, H. M., Speed, M. P., De Wert, L., Quinn, L., Delf, J., Ruxton, G. D. (2010). Size-dependent misclassification of masquerading prey. Behavioural Ecology, 1 (6): 1344-1348 view abstract
  • Rowland, H. M., Mappes, J., Ruxton, G. D., & Speed, M. P. (2010). Mimicry between unequally defended prey can be parasitic: Evidence for Quasi-Batesian mimicry. Ecology Letters, 13, 1494-1502. view abstract
  • Rowland, H. M., Wiley, E., Ruxton, G. D., Mappes, J. M., & Speed, M. P. When more is less: the fitness consequences of predators attacking more unpalatable prey when more are presented. Biology Letters, 6(6), 732-735. view abstract
  • Rowland, H. M., Hoogesteger, T., speed, M. P., Ruxton, G. D., Mappes, J. M. (2010). A tale of 2 signals: Mimicry between aposematic species enhances predator avoidance learning. Behavioral Ecology, 21(4), 851-860. view abstract
  • Skelhorn, J., Rowland, H. M., Speed, M. P., & Ruxton, G. D. (2010). Masquerade: camouflage without crypsis. Science, 327, 51.
  • Skelhorn, J., Rowland, H. M., & Ruxton, G. D. (2010). The evolution and ecology of masquerade. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 99, 1-8. view abstract
  • Rowland, H. M. (2009). From Abbott Thayer to the present day: what have we learned about the function of countershading? Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society - B, 364, 59-527. view abstract
  • Burriss, R. P., Rowland, H. M., & Little, A. C. (2009). Facial scarring enhances men's attractiveness for short-term relationships. Personality and Individual Differences, 46, 213-217. view abstract
  • Rowland, H. M., Cuthill, I. C., Harvey, I. F., Speed, M. P., & Ruxton, G. D. (2008). Can't tell the caterpillars from the trees: countershading enhances survival in a woodland. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London - B, 275(1651), 2539-2545. view abstract
  • Rowland, H. M., Speed, M. P., Ruxton, G. D., Edmunds, M., Stevens, M., & Harvey, I. F. (2007). Countershading enhances cryptic protection: an experiment with wild birds and artificial prey. Animal Behaviour, 74, 1249-1258. view abstract
  • Rowland, H. M., Ihalainen, E., Lindstrom, L., Mappes, J., & Speed, M. P. (2007). Co-mimics have a mutualistic relationship despite unequal defences. Nature, 448, 64-67. view abstract
Book chapters

Other Publications

  • Saxton, T. K., Little, A. C., Rowland, H. M., Gao, T., & Roberts, S. C. (2009) Trade-offs between markers of absolute and relative quality in human facial preferences. Behavioral Ecology 20(5), 1133-1137. view abstract
  • Roberts, S. C., Saxton, T. K., Murray, A. K., Burriss, R. P., Rowland, H. M., & Little, A. C. (2009). Static and dynamic facial images cue similar attractiveness judgements. Ethology, 115, 588-595. view abstract
  • Saxton, T. K., Burriss, R. P., Murray, A. K., Rowland, H. M., & Roberts, S. C. (2009). Face, body and speech cues independently predict judgments of attractiveness. Journal of Evolutionary Psychology, 7, 23-35. view abstract