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News & Media

February 2018

BBSRC Future Leader fellowship award for Dr Rahia Mashoodh.

Many congratulations to Dr Rahia Mashoodh who has been awarded a BBSRC Future Leader fellowship. She will be working on Epigenetics and adaptive evolution within the family environment. Future Leader fellows.

Enjoy a different debate.

Kyoko Gotanda and many others have responded to comment on  “Precipitation drives global variation in natural selection” in Science. Read their response here.


January 2018

Enjoy the debate.

Here's an interesting response to Benjamin Jarrett's comment on Bailey et al on whether behaviour has a special evolutionary role to play. If everything is special, is anything special? A response to comments on Bailey et al 

 Find our group members on twitter

Lots of members of the behavioural ecology gropu are on twitter. Find the full list here.


December 2017

We finish the year with a pair of papers about transmission of warning signals and age difference in foraging strategies. 

Warning signals are an effective defence strategy for aposematic prey, but only if 
they are recognized by potential predators. If predators must eat prey to associate novel warning signals with unpalatability, how can aposematic prey ever evolve? Find out in this paper by Rose Thorogood in Nature, Ecology and Evolution. doi:10.1038/s41559-017-0418-x 

Vix Franks has published a paper on age differences in foraging. Older and wiser? Age differences in foraging and learning by an endangered passerine. Find this paper on Behavioural Processes, doi:/10.1016/j.beproc.2017.12.009

An interesting take on Bailey et el. by Benjamin Jarrett and Rebecca Kilner. 

Read and comment on the full article published by Behavioral Ecology: “Why” and “How” behavior evolves: a comment on Bailey et al.


November 2017

This month Kiyoko Gotanda returns to the Galapagos to do some fieldwork - you can follow her exploits and insights on twitter (@photopidge). Also, Jenny York's cuckoo research has been featured in biosphere magazine this month (@biospheremag), 

Congratulations also go to Benjamin Jarrett who became a doctor this month following his epic selection experiment work with the burying beetles.


October 2017

There's a new paper published in Scientific reports by Ana Duarte et al exploring the cleaning mutualism between burying beetles and their phoretic mites.

If you're interested in bacteria and how burying beetles manage them, then have a look at this interesting paper. Do mites help beetles with their carcass cleaning efforts?

Rebecca Kilner is named #220 in a new twitter feed highlighting one excellent woman in STEM every day for the next year. 

You can find the full list here on twitter.


September 2017

Lots of excitement this month as Dr Jenny York and Prof Nicholas Davies publish a paper in Nature Ecology & Evolution about the female cuckoo call and the burying beetle selection experiment continues to yield papers.

You can read some background about the cuckoo research on the zoology website The full paper Female cuckoo calls misdirect host defences towards the wrong enemy, published in Nature Ecology and Evolution, can be found here:  There's also an interview on Radio 4 - check out the twitter feed for more further information. 

Meanwhile, the burying beetle selection experiment has yielded another exciting paper - Adaptation to a novel family environment involves both apparent and cryptic phenotypic changes. You can find the full paper on Proceedings of the Royal Society B  and discover the interesting field of evolutionary environmental deterioration.

August 2017

Burying beetles mix a special growth potion for their young: one part dead mice, many parts bacteria

A nice write up of Ana Duarte and Rebecca Kilner's work in Science magazine about the work on bacterial communities on the burying beetle carcass. Read the full article here


July 2017

Strategies for managing rival bacterial communities: lessons from burying beetles

Ana Duarte et al has published a new paper in the Journal of Animal Ecology exploring the role of burying beetles in the management of bacterial communities. The paper explores four possible mechanisms by which animals could gain a competitive edge by disrupting a rival bacterial community: ‘weeding’, ‘seeding’, ‘replanting’ and ‘preserving'. There's even some video footage! 

May 2017

Cooperative interactions within the family enhance the capacity for evolutionary change in body size

Benjamin Jarrett has a new paper out in Nature, Ecology and Evolution that explores evolutionary change in burying beetles. He's also written a supplementary blog post - Cooperation and the pace of evolution


 Dr Claire Spottiswoode is awarded the Linnean Society's Bicentenary Medal

Read more about it here. Congratulations Claire!


 When do acoustic cues matter? Perceived competition and reproductive plasticity over lifespan in a bushcricket.

Darren Rebar has explored spermatophore investment in relation to acoustic cues in bushcrickets. Read his new paper published in Animal Behaviour.


Development and application of 14 microsatellite markers in the burying beetle Nicrophorus vespilloides reveals population genetic differentiation at local spatial scales

Read the new paper on PeerJ by Sonia Pascoal showing what our local burying populations are getting up to.


April 2017

HiLIFE attracts top-level researchers to Finland

A new research institute, HiLIFE, at the University of Helsinki attracts top-level scientists in the competitive life science area, including our very own Rose Thorogood.

Increased food availability raises eviction rate in a cooperative breeding mammal

New article in Biology Letters, co-authored by Sinead English. An investigation into whether increases in food intake by dominant females reduces their tendency to evict subordinate females in wild meerkats. Apparently not ...


March 2017

Precipitation drives global variation in natural selection

Kiyoko Gotanda co-authored paper has been published in Science - Precipitation drives global variation in natural selection. Find out how the strongest sources of selection within biomes are due to precipitation and transpiration changes

February 2017

Signals, cues and the nature of mimicry

Gabriel A. Jamie has a new paper in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B - signals, cues and the nature of mimicry. Explore the logic by which mimicry can be conceptually organized and analysed

We are now on Twitter.

Stay up to date with the latest goings on within the group. Sign up and follow us.

Wolfson College Science Society Talk - Friday 17th, February

Bacterial control of their viral parasites through altruistic suicide

 Abstract — Bacteria are susceptible to infection by their viral predators (bacteriophages; phages) – the most abundant biological entities on Earth. Bacteria have evolved diverse strategies for evading the lethal impacts of phage infection and, correspondingly, phages evolve to circumvent bacterial defensive systems – an eternal co-evolutionary "molecular arms race". Further information.

January 2017

Urban evolution

Kiyoko Gotanda co-authored paper featured on BBC news: Urbanisation signal detected in evolution, study shows


Welcome to new and updated News & Media section. We'll be keeping track of news and events from the group over the coming months. Stay tuned!