Behavioural Ecology in Animal Populations


Meet the group members.


Emma Cunningham

Emma Cunningham

I am a behavioural ecologist interested in the impact of environmental variation on individual life-histories with a particular interest in the implications this has in animal populations. I joined the University of Edinburgh as a Royal Society University Research Fellow after a PhD at the University of Sheffield and Research Fellowships at the University of Cambridge and University of California Santa Barbara. I am now a group leader in the Institue of Evolutionary Biology in the School of Biological Sciences. Our group has a particular interest in the impact of the environment in early life and the long terms implications this has on reproduction, disease and subsequent generations of offspring.

Hannah Ravenswater

Hannah Ravenswater

I am a PhD student and have been part of the group since September 2018. My project investigates the impacts of variation in seasonal life history on parasitism in the wild. I focus on how the timing of reproduction and early life may influence variability in exposure and host response, leading to variation in parasite burden. To do this, I work in collaboration with the UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, on a European shag (Phalacrocorax aristotelis) population on the Isle of May. This long term study allows to me to examine the long term consequences of seasonality and early life conditions for parasitism and fitness. I also use field and lab work in order to understand the mechanisms behind these patterns by investigating immunity in family groups.

Alex Morris

Alex Morris

I am a PhD student and joined the group in 2017. My PhD research focuses on understanding the impact of parasitism on the behaviour of infected individuals. In collaboration with Scotlands Rural College (SRUC) and Biomathematics & Statistics Scotland (BioSS), I examine the effect of parasitism on individual and social group behaviour of grazing herbivores, and how an individual’s environment can affect their behavioural response to infection. 

Fiona Greco

Fiona Greco

I am a PhD student in the group, having started in Sept 2020 as a part of the E4 Doctoral Training Partnership. I have a background in veterinary medicine and interests in the relationship between environmental change and parasitism in wild animal populations. In collaboration with researchers at the UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH), I examine how variation in migratory strategy and co-infection status of the European shag (Phalacrocorax aristotelis) impacts upon host-parasite dynamics, fitness-related traits and subsequent population demography.



Christina Coakley

Chrissy carried out both PhD and post-doctoral work in the department examing how the transfer of maternal immunity to their offspring can play an important role in protecting their young from early exposure to disease. After a teaching position in the School of Geosciences she moved to work in the Scottish Government where she is now working as an an analysist in RESAS (Rural & Environment Science & Analytical Services).

Eileen Butterfield

Eileen's research looked at the impact of parasitism on breeding success in seabirds and how this relates to the ability of individuals to respond to changing environmental conditions. She now works in academic publishing supporting  academic organisations in ecology and biology.

Hannah Granroth-Wilding

 Hannah carried out her PhD looking at the impact of parasitism on parental allocation of resources and the implications this has for their different offspring. After a post-doctoral fellowship in Finland she is now working as an Environmental Consultant.

Vincent Staszewski

Vincent won an independent post-dictoral fellowship to study the effect of maternal immunity on responses to disease. He is now condicting research in an industrial setting working for Merck in France.

Katherine Herborne

Katherine was a post-doctoral RA helping with our maternal immunity and seabird ecology work. She is now a lecturer at the University of Plymouth.

Emi Takahashi

Emi was a RA looking at the effects of parasitism on family dynamics and breeding success. She is now an epidemiologist with Médecins sans frontières.

Phil Boulcott

Phil joined us after his PhD as a post-doc to look at the effects of resource allocation on offspring fitness. He is now working for Marine Scotland providing advice and scientific evidence to support the development and management of a network of Marine Protected Areas in Scottish waters

Nicholas Kolm

Nicholas was a visting Newton Fellow and is now Professor of Evolutionary Ecology at Stockholm University

Tom Reed

Tom carried out his PhD looking at the effects of reproductive scheduling and parasitism in seabirds. He is now a lecturer at the University College Cork.

Matt Ellis

Matt carried out his PhD looking at the effects of maternal immunity in gamebirds. He is now Head of Science at BASC.

Mary Frances Dixon

Mary Francis worked on maternal age effects in Callosobruchus beetles when she was here as a student and returned to the group to take up a short term research scholarship during which she investigated factors affecting fertility in quail. She's now working in wildlife forensics.

Fiona Lethbridge

Fiona carried out her PhD looking athe effects of social environment on reproductive allocation. She is now a Senior Press Officer at The Science Media Centre.