I’m a lecturer in the Animal and Plant Science Research Group (School of Applied Sciences) at Edinburgh Napier University. I mostly study the evolution and genetics of sex, sociality and communication. I combine empirical work on insects such as Drosophila and social Hymenoptera (bees/ants/wasps) with theoretical models, ‘omics, meta-analysis, and text mining. I am also the Reviews Editor for Journal of Evolutionary Biology. I’m a big fan of open and reproducible science, and so I often write detailed reports like this to help share my methods.
Edinburgh Napier University
Senior Lecturer, 2016-2020
University of Melbourne
DECRA fellow and postdoc, 2011-2016
Australian National University
Marie Curie Fellow and postdoc, 2008-2011
University of Copenhagen
BSc and PhD, 2000-2007
University of Sheffield
Research on the identity, mode of action, and evolution of social insect queen pheromones
Research about science itself: research practice, bias, reproducibility, and culture. Mostly text mining.
Population genetic consequences of sexual selection, honest signalling, sperm biology, etc.
The causes, consequences, and genetic basis of the maladaptation that arises when males and females share a genome.
Using text mining to help redress gender inequality in the STEM workforce.
Tom is working on the theme of sexual selection and population fitness. For his MSc in my group, Tom tested whether mitochondrial DNA inside males is truly invisible to selection (answer: not if there’s kin selection!).
Daisy investigated social insect queen pheromones, using experiments with honey bees and Drosophila (which, remarkably, shows a similar response to honey bee queen pheromone as a worker bee).
Dan found that polyandry helps beetles colonise new habitats, and tested how well sexual selection clears harmful mutations from the gene pool.
Frances used experimental evolution to show that sexual selection can affect the evolution of insecticide resistance. We also used quantitative genetics to test whether the gender load diminishes under environmental stress.
Heidi ran my Drosophila team at U Melbourne and worked on sexual conflict, gene drives, and more.
Justin and I looked at whether sexual selection has a net positive or negative effect on the fitness of populations, using meta-analysis and comparative analysis.
Tarli conducted her honours project with me, working on social immunity and chemical recognition in honeybees.