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).