Biodiversity and evolution research

life-sciences-evolution.jpgEvolution research looks at heritable changes across successive generations of biological populations, speciation, phylogeny, adaptation, evolutionary ecology and genetics.

Our expertise

Ancient DNA

DNA technologies have expanded evolutionary studies by including ancient DNA from extinct species and populations in analyses. Our dedicated ancient DNA laboratory handles all types of degraded genetic material including herbarium and museum specimens.

Behavioural ecology

Behavioural ecology analyses the evolutionary context of animal behaviours associated with adaption to environments, and applies this knowledge to species conservation.

Biodiversity and biogeography

The nature of a community is best described by its diversity: i.e., the number and abundance of different species. Our research focuses on understanding and modelling biodiversity patterns on habitat, regional and global scales, particularly in relation to natural and anthropogenic disturbance.

Coevolution and mutualism

This is the study of interdependency between plants and animals, including pollination and seed-dispersal mutualisms and the exploitation of plants for food (herbivory and seed predation)

Genomics, phylogenetics and systematics

We research evolutionary relationships among species from their morphological and genetic characteristics.We use bioinformatics to study biodiversity and systematics.

Speciation, hybridisation and adaptation

We study the process of evolution by natural selection. Population genetics are used to estimate gene flow, population size changes, historical distribution and species boundaries.

Systematics and taxonomy

This is the study of the diversification of living forms, and the relationships among living things through time. We also focus on the identification, description, and naming of organisms.

Learn more about evolutionary ecology at The Phoenix Lab.

For more information about our research activity, click on individual researchers' names below or see our research projects.


  • Paul Barrett

    Paul Barrett

    Technical Manager - School of Agriculture


  • Dr Gillian Gibb

    Dr Gillian Gibb

    Research Officer - School of Agriculture


  • Dr Ian Henderson

    Dr Ian Henderson

    Senior Lecturer in Ecology / Zoology - School of Agriculture


  • Dr Simon Hills

    Dr Simon Hills

    Research Officer - School of Agriculture
    Research Development Advisor - Research and Enterprise


  • Dr Maria Minor

    Dr Maria Minor

    Senior Lecturer in Ecology / Zoology - School of Agriculture


  • Prof Mary Morgan-Richards

    Prof Mary Morgan-Richards

    Professor in Evolutionary Biology - School of Agriculture


  • Prof Steven Trewick

    Prof Steven Trewick

    Professor in Evolutionary Ecology - School of Agriculture


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