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Ecology and Evolution

Animal, plant and fossil ecology and evolution with a particular focus on biodiversity and conservation.

Biodiversity and Conservation

photo of a yellow flower

One of the most important actitivies in our research is to document and classify organisms so that we gain start to understand the diversity of life and how it is naturally maintained. We are actively engaged in finding new species of plants and animals around the world in Ireland, Honduras, Indonesia and Thailand. Our researchers are also committed to understanding how to conserve biodiversity in a changing world when biodiversity loss is considered one of the biggest threates to our sustainability as a society. Principal Investigators in the Biodiversity and Conservation theme - Peter Coxon, Ian Donohue, Anna Davies, Trevor Hodkinson, Daniel Kelly, Nicola Marples, Fraser Mitchell, John Parnell, John Rochford, Jane Stout, David Taylor, Stephen Waldren. The Trinity Centre for Biodiversity Research is a multidisciplinary initiative borne out of our School and involves researchers including ecologists, social scientists and economists with a view to understanding biodiversity in the context of a changing world in which sustainability is a central tenet.

Ecology

phot of a bumble bee pollinating a purple flower

The living world is a complex set of interactions among individual organisms and their environment. Understanding how individuals, populations and species all take their place within their ecological communities and the wider environment is a central aim of our ecological researchers. It is these interactions that define the emergent properties of these sytsems and govern the biodiversity held within them. A central aim of ours is to gain better insight into general ecological principles in the real world so that we might better describe the mechanisms that underpin these systems with a view to providing more predictive outcomes for how the world will respond to pressures such as climate change, biodiversity loss and other anthopogenic activities. We also recognise the benefit this understanding can bring to human challenges such as food production, biofuels and developing economies. Principal Investigators in the Biodiversity and Conservation theme - Ian Donohue, Celia Holland, Andrew Jackson, Daniel Kelly, Nicola Marples, David Kelly, Fraser Mitchell, John Rochford, Jane Stout, Stephen Waldren, James Wilson

Evolutionary Biology and Systematics

phot of a nereid worm

Ecological interactions over generational timescales results in evolution of organisms. The Evolutionary and Systematics group are concerned with studying the evolutionary processes and selective pressures that result in the patterns of life that manifest as species. We study the patterns of diversity and track their changes through the fossil record and up living organisms. We also use cutting-edge genetic tools to trace the divergence of life on earth from extant material and use combinations of data sources to identify what the major selection pressures are that might have driven the observed diversification. Particular selection pressures of interest to us are the evolution of foraging behaviours and predator-prey interactions and we use a combination of trophic ecology, experimental manipulation and theoretical models to study how these have shaped the organisms themselves, but also the ecosystem in which they reside. We also study whole organism evolution from a developmental biology perspective in a bid to link skeletal form with function and how systems for regulation of development have evolved over time. Pricinpal Investigators in the Evolutionary Biology and Systematics theme - Natalie Cooper, Trevor Hodkinson, Andrew Jackson, David Kelly, Nicola Marples, Paula Murphy, John Parnell, Stephen Waldren, Patrick Wyse Jackson


Last updated 6 March 2012 Natural Sciences (Email).