Research Areas

Research Summary

My research aims to identify the drivers of individual and population fitness in the wild. The breadth of this question sparked my interest to move across disciplines; genetics, physiology, behaviour, ecology and demography are the disciplines I draw my research tools and hypotheses from. Increasing the accuracy of our predictions about population dynamics requires understanding the effects of environment variation on demography and the mechanisms underpinning the causal pathways linking genes to demography. Thus, I am also interested in disentangling the relative contributions of physiological, morphological and behavioural traits on reproduction and survival. 

Addressing these questions requires long-term field studies that collect individual-based, population level and environmental variation data. In 2008 I set up a rodent-monitoring facility at Silwood Park that hopefully will allow these questions to be answered.

I currently conduct empirical research strongly tied to theory. My team has intensively monitored rodent population dynamics, phenotypic trait dynamics and spatio-temporal use patterns, accounting for environmental variation (both microhabitat and weather–related) to unprecedented levels of resolution. We use the data collected in the field to parameterise population models; testing the predictions of the population models with real data will allow us to test their predictive power and even inform current theory. The development of more refined models will increase our ability to predict population dynamics and phenotypic trait dynamics.

My previous research has mainly focused on rodents, ungulates and carnivores and has addressed questions on thermoregulation physiology, antler evolution, the drivers of reproductive fitness, refuge-mediated apparent competition, heterozygosity-fitness correlations or the effects of captive breeding programs on fitness-related traits. Follow the links below to read more about our research.