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|2008 -||Senior Lecturer||Department of Biology, University of York|
|2007||Vice-Chancellor’s Teaching Award|
|2002||York Certificate of Academic Practice|
|1998 - 2008||Lecturer||Department of Biology, University of York|
|1997||MA||University of Oxford|
|1996 - 1998||Royal Society Post-Doctoral Fellow||Leiden (Netherlands)|
|1996||PhD||University of London (Imperial College)|
|1992||BA Zoology||University of Oxford|
My main interest is the evolutionary ecology of insects, and my work combines field and laboratory studies, comparative biology and theory. One focus is the explanation of life history traits through ecological selection pressures and constraints, especially in parasitic wasps which are very species rich and have fascinating biology. I also have significant interests in macroevolution (understanding the diversification of insects) and the ecological basis of conservation biology (devising tools to conserve parasitoids).
During the last 520 million years, warm “greenhouse” phases have been associated with relatively low biodiversity and relatively high extinction and origination rates compared to cooler “icehouse” phases. Tree species richness can be a good surrogate of parasitoid richness for use in nature reserve selection.
|Post-doc||Hannah Lewis||Understanding the constraints on sex ratio adaptation using artificial neural networks|
|Research Student||David Nicholson||Evolutionary explanations for insect diversity|
|Research Student||Rob Davis||A supertree of insect families|
|Research Student||Luke Tilley||Biological control of the greenhouse shorefly using two species of parasitoid|
|Research Student||Duncan Gillespie||Reproduction, senescence and longevity in humans.|
Constructing a database of insect life histories to understand their evolutionary history (2014-15)
Recent work has shown that a key evolutionary innovation, metamorphosis, has led to an increase in insect diversification rates. However, the mechanism by which this has occurred is still unknown. One possibility is that metamorphosis enabled a shift in basic features of insect life histories, such as increased rate of development, reduction in body size, or expansion of the ecological niche. To test this, and other hypotheses about insect life history evolution, a database on insect life history traits is needed with broad taxonomic coverage, but despite some targeted but taxonomically limited examples within the insects, and despite equivalent databases on e.g. fish and mammals, so far no such resource exists. This project will build on existing taxonomically restricted datasets for insects to provide an ongoing resource for future research on insect life histories, that can be used to address fundamental questions about the evolution of the group. The project would be suitable for a student with an interest or experience in biodiversity, taxonomy or phylogenetics, and data analysis.