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Department of Zoology

 

Research Projects

Research in the Department of Zoology is broadly based around six themes, which span all levels of the study of animal life. At the bottom of this page are some of the projects offered in 2024-25 by the Department of Zoology, by theme. This list is not exhaustive and applicants are welcome to approach any of our supervisors with their own project ideas. Click on the supervisor link within the project for contact details. 

To read more about our current research themes and identify a potential supervisor, please visit our Research Pages

 

NERC DTP

Many of our projects are also available as part of the Cambridge NERC DTP - please make sure you quote the NERC project number in your application. For more information on the programme please refer to the NERC DTP website.

Projects also offered by NERC are indicated under each theme below. 

 

BBSRC DTP

You may wish to apply to the Cambridge Biosciences Doctoral Training Partnership in parallel to a specific PhD project. For more information have a look at the BBSRC DTP website.

 

Departmental studentships and other funding

For further information about funding, including departmental studentships, see our Funding page here

 

Applying for a project

Please contact a potential supervisor to discuss a project before you submit your application. For course information and details of how to apply see our Postgraduate study page here

 

Find a project by theme:

Behavioural Ecology

 

Projects:

 

BC523 Collective synchronisation in cicada swarms NERC Project

Supervisor: Dr James Herbert-Read 

 

BC526 The evolutionary causes and consequences of task specialisation during biparental care NERC Project

Supervisor: Prof Rebecca Kilner

 

BC527 Multi-level selection and the evolution of animal family life NERC Project

Supervisor: Prof Rebecca Kilner

 

Behavioural, morphological, and molecular evolution of a social transfer 

Supervisor: Dr Adria LeBoeuf

 

The role of metabolic division of labour in determining lifespan 

Supervisor: Dr Adria LeBoeuf

 

Click here to learn more about our research in the Behavioural Ecology theme or identify a potential supervisor. 

Cell and Development Biology

 

Projects:

 

How do small nervous systems generate complex behaviour? 

Supervisor: Dr Iris Hardege

 

Developmental robustness of neuronal networks 

Supervisor: Prof Matthias Landgraf

 

Epigenetic mechanisms during critical periods of development 

Supervisor: Prof Matthias Landgraf

 

Regulation of dendritic and synaptic plasticity by metabolic reactive oxygen species 

Supervisor: Prof Matthias Landgraf

 

- Behavioural, morphological, and molecular evolution of a social transfer 

Supervisor: Dr Adria LeBoeuf

 

The role of metabolic division of labour in determining lifespan 

Supervisor: Dr Adria LeBoeuf

 

- BC534: Genetic and developmental basis of pigment pattern variation in Malawi cichlid fishes NERC Project 

Supervisor: Dr Emília Santos

 

The role of thyroid hormone in the plastic development of pigmentation patterns 

Supervisor: Dr Emília Santos

 

Biomolecular condensates in early development 

Supervisor: Prof Tim Weil

 

In vitro fertilisation and egg activation in Drosophila 

Supervisor: Prof Tim Weil

 

Coordinated change and programmed cell death in small cell networks 

Supervisor:Prof Tim Weil

 

Click here to learn more about our research in the Cell and Development Biology theme or identify a potential supervisor. 

Conservation Science

Projects:

 

- BC501: Mollusc Armageddon: Investigating declines of freshwater bivalves and snails in the UK NERC Project / Whitten Project

Supervisor: Prof David Aldridge

 

- BC502: Host-parasite dynamics in a new model system: community ecology, behaviour and conservation of freshwater snails NERC Project / Whitten Project

Supervisor: Prof David Aldridge

 

- BC509: Scaling-up biodiversity reporting in food supply chains: developing a global farm-scale biodiversity metric for sustainable agriculture NERC CASE Project

Supervisor: Prof Lynn Dicks

 

- BC538: How do alternative understory crop management practices affect the stability of invertebrate communities and ecosystem processes in oil palm plantations? NERC CASE Project

Supervisor: Prof Edgar Turner

 

- BC537: Managing reserves for climate resilience NERC CASE Project

Supervisor: Prof Edgar Turner

 

 

Click here to learn more about our research in the Conservation Science theme or identify a potential supervisor. 

Evolutionary Genetics and Genomics

Projects:

 

- BC525: Genetic improvement of the black soldier fly NERC CASE Project

Supervisor: Prof Chris Jiggins

 

- BC524: Thermal adaptation in the wood tiger moth NERC Project

Supervisor: Prof Chris Jiggins

 

Behavioural, morphological, and molecular evolution of a social transfer

Supervisor: Dr Adria LeBoeuf

 

- BC531: A genomic view of African diversity NERC Project

Supervisor: Prof Andrea Manica

 

- BC534: Genetic and developmental basis of pigment pattern variation in Malawi cichlid fishes NERC Project / Whitten Project

Supervisor: Dr Emília Santos

 

- BC535: Genomic basis of sexual dimorphism, sexual conflict and male ornament variation NERC Project / Whitten Project

Supervisor: Dr Emília Santos

 

The role of thyroid hormone in the plastic development of pigmentation patterns

Supervisor: Dr Emília Santos

 

Predicting the Evolution of Influenza and SARS-CoV-2 Viruses

Supervisor: Prof Derek Smith

 

Click here to learn more about our research in the Evolutionary Genetics and Genomics theme or identify a potential supervisor. 

Neurobiology, Biomechanics and Behaviour

Projects:

 

How do small nervous systems generate complex behaviour?

Supervisor: Dr Iris Hardege

 

Developmental robustness of neuronal networks

Supervisor: Prof Matthias Landgraf

 

Epigenetic mechanisms during critical periods of development  

Supervisor: Prof Matthias Landgraf

 

Regulation of dendritic and synaptic plasticity by metabolic reactive oxygen species

Supervisor: Prof Matthias Landgraf

 

- BC514: Multifunctionality of insect cuticular lipids: water-proofing, lubrication and adhesion NERC Project

Supervisor: Prof Walter Federle

 

Click here to learn more about our research in the Neurobiology, Biomechanics and Behaviour theme or identify a potential supervisor. 

Palaeobiology

Projects:

 

- BC532: Eco-evolutionary dynamics of early animals NERC Project

Supervisor: Dr Emily Mitchell

 

Click here to learn more about our research in the Palaeobiology theme or identify a potential supervisor.