Animal Ecology and Environmental Change

Animal Ecology and Environmental Change

The environment is changing faster than at any time in recorded history, due to a range of factors including climate change, habitat loss, renewable energy developments, pollution and over-exploitation of natural resources. These changes are having profound effects on biodiversity and human and animal health - and we need to be able to predict the consequences.

Our Institute integrates studies of the effects of environmental change operating at all levels of biological organisation. For instance, at the cellular level we are investigating how environmental conditions influence physiological and molecular processes including metabolism, oxidative damage and the rate of ageing. This is linked to studies of how individual animals and plants cope with environmental fluctuations, and how in turn this influences population dynamics, species interactions (including those between parasites and hosts) and community structure. We conduct both short-term experiments and long-term monitoring of wild populations (at a range of field sites including loch and woodland research programmes at our field station).

There are many links to other research in the Institute (e.g. through the effect of environmental conditions on disease transmission or food production, or through investigation of how animals evolve in the face of changing environments), and elsewhere in the University (e.g. links with geographers, statisticians and mathematicians in the College of Science and Engineering).

See related:

Full listing of staff in this research theme

Colin Adams

Professor Colin Adams

Professor of Freshwater Ecology (Institute of Biodiversity Animal Health and Comparative Medicine)

Research interests: Fresh water ecosystems and particularly on behavioural ecology of fish; Development of a sustained aquaculture for Arctic Charr; Behavioural approaches to improved production and welfare of farmed Salmon; The effects of noise on fish distribution

Sonya Auer

Dr Sonya Auer

Research Associate (Institute of Biodiversity Animal Health and Comparative Medicine)

Research interests: Links between energy metabolism, behaviour and life history strategies across different ecological contexts; resource allocation trade-offs; long-term effects of early environments on adult performance; phenotypic plasticity and flexibility in variable environments.

David Bailey

Dr David Bailey

Senior Lecturer (Institute of Biodiversity Animal Health and Comparative Medicine)

Research interests: Ecology and physiology of marine animals, in particular the effects of climate on the abundance, body size, and behaviour of deep-ocean and polar species.

Maureen Bain

Professor Maureen Bain

Professor of Comparative Anatomy and Histology (Institute of Biodiversity Animal Health and Comparative Medicine)

Research interests: Vertebrate anatomy and histology - structure and functional relationships; applied poultry science; avian biology focusing on oviduct structure and function in relation to egg formation, factors affecting egg quality and egg safety, egg quality assessment, and chick development.

Colin Bean

Professor Colin Bean

Honorary Professor (Institute of Biodiversity Animal Health and Comparative Medicine)

Research interests: Evolutionary processes within rare fish populations and the development of conservation strategies for rare and endangered fish species (including conservation genetics); control of invasive non-native species and the impact of freshwater and marine renewable technologies on fish

Michelle Bellingham

Dr Michelle Bellingham

Lecturer (Institute of Biodiversity Animal Health and Comparative Medicine)

Research interests: How exposure to chemicals in the environment, at different life stages, can affect reproductive function; how maternal smoking affects the human fetus, including programming of adverse health outcomes in adulthood

Roman Biek

Dr Roman Biek

Reader (Institute of Biodiversity Animal Health and Comparative Medicine)

Research interests: Molecular ecology and evolution. Infectious disease dynamics in wild and domestic animal populations, with a focus on viral and bacterial pathogens.

Sarah Cleaveland

Professor Sarah Cleaveland

Professor of Comparative Epidemiology (Institute of Biodiversity Animal Health and Comparative Medicine)

Research interests: Understanding the ecology of diseases affecting human, domestic animal and wildlife health in natural ecosystems and mitigating their impacts. Zoonoses, neglected tropical diseases, intervention science, ecosystem health research, One Health.

Professor Roger Downie

Honorary Senior Lecturer (Institute of Biodiversity Animal Health and Comparative Medicine)

Kathryn Elmer

Dr Kathryn Elmer

Senior Lecturer (Institute of Biodiversity Animal Health and Comparative Medicine)

Research interests: Understanding how new species arise, particularly the role and influence of evolutionary, genomic, ecological, and environmental factors.

Neil Evans

Professor Neil Evans

Professor of Integrative Physiology (Institute of Biodiversity Animal Health and Comparative Medicine)

Research interests: The regulation of the neuroendocrine axes, in particular those regulating reproductive function, both by internal factors such as gonadal steroids and stress hormones and external factors such as chemical mixtures that are found in the environment.

Heather Ferguson

Professor Heather Ferguson

Professor (Institute of Biodiversity Animal Health and Comparative Medicine)

Research interests: Combining laboratory, field and theoretical studies to identify the evolutionary and ecological factors that stabilize parasite life cycles; and applying this knowledge to highlight weak points in transmission that could be exploited by new and/or existing control strategies.

Bob Furness

Professor Bob Furness

Honorary Research Fellow (Institute of Biodiversity Animal Health and Comparative Medicine Administration)

Research interests: Seabird ecology, especially in relation to fisheries, birds as bioindicators, and pollution ecology.

Katie Hampson

Dr Katie Hampson

Reader (Institute of Biodiversity Animal Health and Comparative Medicine)

Research interests: I am interested in the ecology of infectious diseases, particularly rabies, with the aim understanding infection dynamics across spatial scales and the impacts of control efforts. I use a combination of detailed field investigations, vaccination interventions and modelling.

Professor Mike Hansell

Honorary Senior Research Fellow (Institute of Biodiversity Animal Health and Comparative Medicine)

Daniel Haydon

Professor Daniel Haydon

Director of Institute/Professor of Population Ecology and Epidemiology (Institute of Biodiversity Animal Health and Comparative Medicine)

Research interests: Mathematical modelling of ecological and epidemiological processes; infectious disease ecology; design of vaccination programs; within-host pathogen dynamics; viral population genomics; antimicrobial resistance; statistical ecology; animal movement and spatial ecology; lichens.

Barbara Helm

Dr Barbara Helm

Reader (Institute of Biodiversity Animal Health and Comparative Medicine)

Research interests: Annual and daily rhythms, especially of wild organisms; physiology, ecology and migration of birds. Understanding how biological clocks help or hinder organisms' adjustment to environmental change.

Grant Hopcraft

Dr Grant Hopcraft

Research Fellow (Institute of Biodiversity Animal Health and Comparative Medicine)

Research interests: Distribution and abundance of organisms, animal movement, and applied conservation issues; ecological interactions using field-based metrics - GPS collars, GIS/RS and statistical inference to quantify relationships between soils, plants, herbivores and their predators.

Professor David Houston

Honorary Senior Research Fellow (Institute of Biodiversity Animal Health and Comparative Medicine)

Felicity Huntingford

Professor Felicity Huntingford

Emeritus Professor (Institute of Biodiversity Animal Health and Comparative Medicine)

Research interests: Low stress techniques for sorting fish in Aquaculture Systems. Social Organisation and reproductive strategies in Corkwing Wrasse. Development of a sustained aquaculture for Arctic Charr. Energetic consequences and the costs of fighting in decapod Crustacea.

Malcolm Kennedy

Professor Malcolm Kennedy

Professor of Natural History (Life Sciences Animal Biology)

Research interests: Structure and function of unusual lipid binding proteins of free-living and parasitic nematodes; Allergen proteins; The evolution of viviparity in mammals; The molecular biology and biochemistry of frog nest foams.

Shaun Killen

Dr Shaun Killen

Senior Research Fellow (Institute of Biodiversity Animal Health and Comparative Medicine)

Research interests: Physiology and behavioural ecology of marine and freshwater fishes, especially how energetic demand influences life-histories and trade-offs involved with foraging and predator-avoidance behaviours; interactions between individual physiology and group behaviours in fish.

Jan Lindstrom

Dr Jan Lindstrom

Senior Lecturer (Institute of Biodiversity Animal Health and Comparative Medicine)

Research interests: Evolutionary ecology, particularly life-history evolution, resource allocation, sexual selection and community ecology, and the application of these frameworks in resistance evolution and evolutionary and comparative medicine in general.

Dominic McCafferty

Dr Dominic McCafferty

Senior Lecturer (Institute of Biodiversity Animal Health and Comparative Medicine)

Research interests: Thermal biology of body temperature regulation and cold adaptation in marine mammals and birds.

Ross MacLeod

Dr Ross MacLeod

RSE Research Fellow (Institute of Biodiversity Animal Health and Comparative Medicine)

Research interests: My research interests focus on how organisms cope with the environment in which they live. The current work centres on marine (seabirds) and oak forest habitats (blue tits) as well as the environment animals encounter in captivity.

Jason Matthiopoulos

Professor Jason Matthiopoulos

Professor of Spatial and Population Ecology (Institute of Biodiversity Animal Health and Comparative Medicine)

Research interests: Population dynamics; Confronting models with data; Analysis of animal movement; Analysis of habitat preference; Modelling population distributions; Complex trophic interactions; Reserve design; Models of animal communication and experience

Neil Metcalfe

Professor Neil Metcalfe

Professor of Behavioural Ecology (Institute of Biodiversity Animal Health and Comparative Medicine)

Research interests: The links between individual variation in behaviour, physiology, ecology, life histories and senescence. Maternal and transgenerational effects. Variation in metabolic rate, mitochondrial performance and growth in salmon, trout, sticklebacks, zebra finches.

Monika Mihm Carmichael

Dr Monika Mihm Carmichael

Senior Lecturer- Farm Animal Reproduction (Farm Animal Clinical Sciences)

Pat Monaghan

Professor Pat Monaghan

Regius Chair of Zoology (Institute of Biodiversity Animal Health and Comparative Medicine)

Research interests: Life-history strategies and effects of early conditions on phenotypic development and on deterioration in later life; long and short term resource allocation trade-offs; mainly birds, with related work on other taxa, including fish and amphibia.

Ruedi Nager

Dr Ruedi Nager

Senior Lecturer (Institute of Biodiversity Animal Health and Comparative Medicine)

Research interests: My research interests focus on how organisms cope with the environment in which they live. The current work centres on marine (seabirds) and oak forest habitats (blue tits) as well as the environment animals encounter in captivity.

Douglas Neil

Professor Douglas Neil

Honorary Senior Research Fellow (Institute of Biodiversity Animal Health and Comparative Medicine)

Research interests: Nerve-Muscle Interactions in Crustaceans. Attack and Escape Strategies in Aquatic Predator-Prey Interactions. Multimedia Resources for Teaching Biodiversity.

Peter O'Shaughnessy

Professor Peter O'Shaughnessy

Professor of Reproductive Biology (Institute of Biodiversity Animal Health and Comparative Medicine)

Research interests: Understanding regulation of gonadal development in the mouse and human and environmental effects on human fetal development.

Kevin Parsons

Dr Kevin Parsons

Senior Lecturer (Institute of Biodiversity Animal Health and Comparative Medicine)

Research interests: Genetic and developmental basis of craniofacial shape in fish; role of divergent natural selection for determining phenotypes; integration and modularity; phenotypic plasticity

Jane Robinson

Dr Jane Robinson

Reader (Institute of Biodiversity Animal Health and Comparative Medicine)

Research interests: Reproductive physiology/neuroendocrinology. Understanding the mechanisms by which factors to which the developing fetus is exposed, including steroid hormones, steroid mimetics and stress hormones, programme health and welfare problems in later life.

Karine Salin

Dr Karine Salin

Research Associate (Cellular Physiology) (Institute of Biodiversity Animal Health and Comparative Medicine)

Research interests: Understanding how mitochondrial functioning affects energy flux through the organism; how cellular and whole-organism metabolism are linked to oxidative balance; examining whether energy metabolism and oxidative stress are proximate causes of life histories

Dr Liliana Salvador

Affiliate (Institute of Biodiversity Animal Health and Comparative Medicine)

Research interests: Infectious diseases dynamics, movement ecology, evolutionary biology.

Stewart White

Dr Stewart White

Lecturer (Life Sciences Animal Biology)

Research interests: Ecology of neotropical rainforest birds and Damselfly foraging behaviour.