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Department of Zoology



I am a PhD student investigating the role of ants and termites in oil palm plantations in Sumatra, Indonesia. I graduated from the University of Cambridge in 2014 with a BA in Zoology. My interest in ants stems from a project I conducted during my degree, when I investigated the effect of altitude on an ant-plant mutualism in Papua New Guinea, with the New Guinea Binatang Research Centre. In 2014-2015 I worked as a research assistant at the Czech Academy of Sciences in Ceske Budejovice, where I spent most of my time studying Bornean ants.


I am interested in applied ecology and conservation. I'm particularly fascinated by social insects, because they're so unexpectedly weird and ecologically important, and manipulative experiments, because they yield interesting insights into how ecosystems function.

My PhD is based in oil palm plantations located at the BEFTA programme in Indonesia. The conversion of tropical forests to oil palm plantations is a primary driver of deforestation and biodiversity loss worldwide, and in Southeast Asia in particular. There is increasing demand for the development of more sustainable practices. The BEFTA vegetation project is a large-scale manipulation experiment which aims to determine the effect of understory habitat complexity on biodiversity and ecosystem functioning within oil palm.

I have conducted manipulative ant exclusion experiments within the BEFTA vegetation project, and in recently replanted oil palm. I investigated the effect of excluding ants on invertebrate biodiversity and ecosysem functioning from the soil to the canopy. I studied the role of termites by mapping their nests and searching them for other nesting inhabitants.

I am also interested in science communication and public engagement.

My PhD is kindly funded by the Claire Barnes Studentship, and is supervised by Dr Ed Turner.


Key publications: 

Ashton-Butt, A., Aryawan, A. A., Hood, A.S.C., Naim, M., Purnomo, D., Suhardi, Wahyuningsih R., Willcock S., Poppy G., Caliman J.-P., Turner E., Foster W., Peh K. & Snaddon, J. (2018) Understory vegetation in oil palm plantations benefits soil biodiversity and decomposition rates. Frontiers in Forests and Global Change. DOI:10.3389/ffgc.2018.00010

Other publications: 

Padfield R., Hansen S., Bicknell J., Davies Z., Ehrensperger A., Slade E., Evers S., Papargyropoulou E., Bessou C., Abdullah N., Aplin P., Ancrenaz M., Balqis S., Barclay H., Chellaiah D., Choudhary S., Conway S., Cook S., Copeland A., Campos-Arceiz A., Deere N., Drew S., Gilvear D., Gray R., Haller T., Hood A.S.C., Huat L.K., Huynh N., Kangayatkarasu N., Koh L.P., Kumaran S., Lim R.A.H., Yeong Y.K.L., Lucey J., Luke S., Montefrio M., Mullin K., Nainar A., K.A.I. Nekaris, Nijman V., Nunes M., Nurhidayu S., O'Reilly P., Puan C.L., Ruppert N., Salim H., Schouten G., Tallontire A., Smith T., Tao H., Tham M.H., Varkkey H., Wadey J., Yule C., Sharif B., Sayok A., & Struebig M. (2019) Co-producing knowledge for environmental sustainability: Defining the research agenda for palm oil. Front. For. Glob. Change 2() DOI:10.3389/ffgc.2019.00013

Redmond C.M., Auga J., Gewa B., Segar S.T., Miller S.E., Molem K., Weiblen G.D., Butterill P.T., Maiyah G., Hood A.S.C., Volf M., Jorge L.R., Basset Y. & Novotny V. (2018) High specialization and limited structural change in plant-herbivore networks along a successional chronosequence in tropical montane forest. Ecography, 42(162-72) DOI:10.1111/ecog.03849

Plowman N.S., Hood A.S.C., Moses J., Redmond C., Novotny V., Klimes P. & Fayle T. (2017) Network reorganization and breakdown of an ant–plant protection mutualism with elevation. Proc R Soc B, 284(1850). DOI:10.1098/rspb.2016.2564

Publications in Review:

Hood A.S.C., Pashkevich M.D., Advento A.D., Aryawan A.A.K., Naim M., Caliman J.P., Head J.J. & Turner E.C. (In Review Biotropica) Termite mounds and their inhabitants are robust to changing understory management practices in oil palm.

Hood A.S.C., Aryawan A.A.K., Advento A.D., Purnomo D., Wahyuningsih R., Luke S.H., Sudharto PS., Snaddon J.L., Foster W.A., Caliman J.P., Turner E.C. & Naim M. (In Review Front. For. Glob. Change) Understory vegetation in oil palm plantations promotes Leopard Cat activity, but does not affect rats or rat damage.

Luke S.H., Foster W.A., Advento A.D., Aryawan A.A.K., Adhy D.N., Ashton-Butt A., Barclay H., Drewer J., Dumbrell A., Eycott A.E., Harianja M.F., Hinsch J.A., Hood A.S.C., Kurniawan C., Kurz D.J., Mann D.J., Matthews Nicholass K.J., Naim M., Pashkevich M.D., Prescott G.W.,  Sudharto Ps, Pujianto, Purnomo D., Purwoko R.R., Putra S., Rambe T.D.S., Slade E.M., Soeprapto, Spear D.M., Suhardi, Tan D., Tao H-H., Tarigan R.S., Wahyuningsih R., Waters H.S., Widodo R.H., Woodham C.R., Caliman J-P., Snaddon J.L., & Turner E.C. (In Review Front. For. Glob. Change) The Biodiversity and Ecosystem Function in Tropical Agriculture (BEFTA) Programme: using large-scale experiments to test and develop more-sustainable oil palm management.

Eycott A.E., Advento A.D., Waters H.S., Luke S.H., Aryawan A.A.K., Hood A.S.C., Naim M., Sudharto Ps, Pujianto, Purnomo D., Dzulfikar T., Rambe S., Soeprapto, Suhardi, Sionita Tarigan R., Wahyuningsih R., Harto Widodo R., Caliman J-P., Snaddon J.L., Foster W.A. & Turner E.C.  (In Review Environ. Res. Lett.) Resilience of ecological functions to drought in an oil palm agroecosystem.

PhD Student

Contact Details

Museum Room G. 15
01223 (7)68919


Collaborator profiles: 
Person keywords: 
Insect Ecology