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Benjamin Jarrett

Benjamin Jarrett

PhD Student

Room F25
Office Phone: 01223 (3)31861


I am currently a PhD student supervised by Prof. Rebecca Kilner and working closely with Dr. Matt Schrader. I work with burying beetles (Nicrophorus vespilloides), which are remarkable in the insect world in that they display elaborate parental care, both pre-hatching (e.g. carcass preparation) and post-hatching (e.g. provisioning of larvae). My work is currently exploring the evolutionary consequences of parental care after it has evolved. Do parents facilitate further evolutionary change? We are using long-term experimental evolution and artificial selection experiments to explore this question. 

Prior to Cambridge

I graduated from Durham University in 2010 with a BSc in Zoology, focusing on moth diversity and insect communities in my third year. I immediately followed my undergraduate studies with an MSc in Entomology at Imperial College London, furthering my interest in insect biology. My thesis, in collaboration with Prof. Tim Coulson and Dr. David Morgan, concerned the invasion of Homalodisca vitripennis; a cicadellid pest that vectors plant pathogens to several economically important crops in southern California. The California Department of Food and Agriculture have been releasing parasitoid wasps to combat the pest, and have collected over ten years of data, which I analysed to determine the effect of this biological control programme.

From January to April 2012, I worked in Borneo with OuTrop, an orang-utan conservation organisation, as the biodiversity intern, collecting data on ant community structure within the peat swamp forest, and helping to collect data on butterfly diversity, and orang-utan and gibbon behaviour. Following this I worked for Prof. Jane Memmott at the University of Bristol on the Urban Pollinator Project.

Research Group

Behavioural Ecology Group:
PhD Student

Key Publications

Jarrett, B.J.M., Schrader, M., Rebar, D., Houslay, T.M. & Kilner, R.M. (2017) Cooperative interactions within the family enhance the capacity for evolutionary change in body size. Nature Ecology & Evolution in press

Schrader, M., Crosby, R.M., Hesketh, A.R., Jarrett, B.J.M. & Kilner, R.M. (2016) A limit to the extent to which increased egg size can compensate for a poor post-natal environment, revealed experimentally in the burying beetle, Nicrophorus vespilloides. Ecology & Evolution 6: 329-336

Kilner, R.M., Boncoraglio, G., Henshaw, J., Jarrett, B.J.M., De Gasperin, O., Attisano, A. & Kokko, H. (2015) Parental effects alter the adaptive value of an adult behavioural trait. eLife 10.7554

Schrader, M., Jarrett, B.J.M. & Kilner, R.M. (2015) Using experimental evolution to study adaptations for life within the family. The American Naturalist 185: 610-619

Schrader, M., Jarrett, B.J.M. & Kilner, R.M. (2015) Parental care masks a density-dependent shift from cooperation to competition among burying beetle larvae. Evolution 69: 1077-1084

Other Publications

Schreven, S.J.J., Perlett, E., Jarrett, B.J.M., Harsanto, F.A., Purwanto, A., Azis, A., Marchant, N.C. & Harrison, M.E. (2014) A Guide to the Ants of Sabangau. The Orangutan Tropical Peatland Project, Palangka Raya, Indonesia 

Baldock, K.C.R. & Jarrett, B.J.M. (2013) Urban pollinators: their ecology and conservation. Antenna 37: 34–37

Jarrett, B.J.M. (2011) Sleeping beauty: a tale of the periodical cicadas. Antenna 35: 122–123