Professor Calvin Dytham

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2012 -  Personal Chair Department of Biology, University of York
2010 -2012 Reader Department of Biology, University of York
2006 - 2007 Marie Curie More Senior Research Fellow University of Potsdam
2000 - 2010 Senior Lecturer Department of Biology, University of York
1993 - 2000 Lecturer Department of Biology, University of York
1990 - 1993 Post-doc University of Leeds
1990 PhD University of Leeds
1989 - 1990 Post-doc Imperial College, Silwood Park
1986 BSc University of Leeds




My research group is approaching the study of dispersal in a variety of ways: from practical field ecology trapping or tracking insects and plants, to purely theoretical approaches. My research has focussed on the evolution of dispersal strategies. Generally, dispersal is favoured when kin competition is strong and habitat is widely distributed, and selected against when suitable habitat is highly aggregated in space, although intelligent organisms, able to detect suitable habitat will be more dispersive. I have been applying models of dispersal evolution to questions of range expansions and invasions including the spread of human diseases. Models demonstrate that dispersal increases at range margins providing climate has made habitat suitable beyond the range, but that range expansion is slowed by an Allee effect. Further expansion of my research considers ageing in relation to dispersal, showing how suicide genes can arise, and the effect of inter-specific interactions.


We have discovered that programmed death can be selected for in viscous populations.


  • The diversity of natural communities of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi: niche or neutral model? (joint with Alastair Fitter & Thorunn Helgason) ( Funding body: NERC)
  • The genetics, ecology and evolution of ageing (joint with Steve Sait (Leeds) et al.) (Funding body: White Rose Network)
  • fishACE (joint with Jon Pitchford, York; Ulf Deickman, IASA et al.) (Funding body: EU, Marie Curie)
  • Linking population and genetic changes during range shifts induced by climate change. (joint with Chris Thomas, Roger Butlin, Sheffield & John Bridle, Bristol) (Funding body: UKPopNet)
  • Adaptation for future climate warming: the role of habitat creation in promoting species’ range shifts. (joint with Chris Thomas & Jane Hill) (Funding body: NERC)

Research group(s)


Post-doc Dr Phil Platts NERC project: Refugial populations at trailing edge margins


Dr Calvin Dytham

Contact details

Prof. Calvin Dytham
Department of Biology
University of York
YO10 5DD

Tel: 01904 328588