Nick Colegrave


1987-1990    Undergraduate, Biological sciences, Sussex University

1992-1995    PhD Sheffield University

1995-1996    NATO Fellow, McGill University

1997-1998    Postdoctoral researcher, St Andrews University

1999    Postdoctoral researcher, Glasgow University

2000    Zoology demonstrator, Edinburgh University

2000-2003    NERC research fellow, Edinburgh University

2003-2007    Lecturer in Biology

2008-Present    Senior Lecturer in Biology

Undergraduate teaching

Program Organiser Zoology honours

Origin and Diversity of Life 1

Evolution in Action 2

Field Zoology 3

Animal Diversity and Evolution 3

Project Design and Analysis (hons)

Experimental Immunology (hons)

Research summary

Core research

My research interests are in the interface between ecology and evolution. Ecological interactions occur over a timescale of days or months, and have been viewed as essentially too quick to have relevance to long term evolution. Similarly, evolution was viewed as something that occurred over the millennia, and so of little importance to the day to day interactions studied by ecologists. However, it is slowly being realised that such a view is wrong and that the interaction between these fields is far more dynamic: The population dynamics of ecology will have profound effects on the selective forces of evolutionary biology which in turn will alter the properties of the organisms and affect their population dynamics. If we are to fully understand organic diversity, we need to consider both ecological and evolutionary forces, and the way in which they interact. Whilst my research has encompassed a wide range of organisms and specific questions, this general theme has run throughout. I do not limit myself to a single technique or study system, but instead attempt to use the best system for any particular question, often requiring a mixture of experimental and theoretical techniques. I am also actively involved in bringing evolutionary approaches to other field of biology, in particular infectious disease biology, and am part of several collaborative projects in this area.

Teaching interests

During the 15 years that I have been teaching at the University of Edinburgh it has become apparent to me that the major educational challenge in training biologists remains finding ways to engage them with issues of experimental design and statistics. Much of my current teaching focuses on addressing these issues, designing both courses and teaching materials to improve the statistical literacy of biology students and animal researchers. In support of this I have produced an introductory textbook on experimental design for life sciences. For more information on this, please see my statistics webpage (link above)

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