Hello! My name is Georgia Cash and I have just started my first year as a PhD student based at the University of Aberdeen within the School of Biological Sciences. My project is titled ‘the evolution of sociality in subsocial animals’ and will use Blaptica dubia cockroaches as a model organism to study what factors influence the transition from non-social to subsocial lifestyles. Cockroaches are an excellent group to study this transition as a wide variety of species exhibit social behaviours. Further, cockroaches are closely related to the eusocial termites, exhibiting the highest level of sociality. I will explore the influence of various factors on the evolution of sociality, particularly the influence of the mother (maternal effects) and other individuals (indirect effects) on the development of social groups.

I grew up on the North Wales coast and have always been passionate about the natural world, spending my free time at the beach, birdwatching with my grandfather, and watching David Attenborough documentaries! I studied Biology at the University of Nottingham and obtained an MSci degree from there, with a particular focus on animal behaviour and conservation genetics. My master’s dissertation also worked with cockroaches, this time investigating communication in Madagascar hissing cockroaches (Gromphadorhina spp.), which exhibit three classes of hiss each with different auditory characteristics to convey particular messages to conspecifics and predators.

A Madagascar hissing cockroach (Gromphadorhina portentosa). Photo by Georgia Cash

Outside of my research, you will probably find me at the beach or taking photos of bugs! I am also a keen gig-goer and am looking forward to discovering new artists at Aberdeen’s many independent music venues. I am excited to start my new chapter in Aberdeen, a beautiful city surrounded by nature. Feel free to email me or reach out on mastodon or bluesky!