Academic Year 2023-2024
Institution University of Aberdeen


School: School of Biological Sciences

Project: The evolution of sociality in subsocial animals

Supervisors: Dr David Fisher, Dr Lesley Lancaster & Dr Gareth Arnott

Undergraduate Education: MSci Biology, University of Nottingham

Postgraduate Education: MSci Biology, University of Nottingham (integrated masters)

Research: I will investigate the evolution of sociality in subsocial organisms, using the group-living cockroach Blaptica dubia as a model species. The presence of other individuals, particularly the mother and siblings from the same brood, influences social behaviour, and I will conduct experiments in a laboratory population to determine precisely how the influences of other individuals, known as “maternal effects” (in the case of the mother) and “indirect effects” (for other conspecifics, such as siblings), affect the transition from simple to more complex forms of social living. Information regarding the ecology  of dubia cockroaches in the wild is limited, so I will also conduct field work in South America on natural populations in order to determine their social structure in the wild and how this may vary with environmental gradients.