Research Centre Members


anne robertson

Professor Anne Robertson
I work on hyporheic zone ecology, groundwater ecology, colonisation and succession of microcrustacean communities in new streams, and population dynamics of lotic meiofauna.



Dr Peter Shaw
My major research interest is the ecology of UK Collembola (springtails). I also examine the colonisation patterns in, and conservation management of, industrial wastes.



Professor Clare Ozanne
I work on the ecology of insects and other arthropods (springtails etc) in habitats influenced by human activities. I focus on examining hypotheses about animal community assembly rules and understanding how community varies under different internal and external pressures.



Dr Lewis Halsey
My primary research investigates animal adaptations that enhance energetic efficiency. I typically study situations where food resources are scarce or energetically demanding to obtain. To help investigate these topics I am at the vanguard of the development and application of the 'acceleration technique' for estimating metabolic rate in both invertebrates and vertebrates, including humans.



Dr Julia Reiss
I research the ecology of aquatic fauna with a particular focus on energy flow within freshwater assemblages. My other research topics include biodiversity and ecosystem functioning (BE-F) and the size structure of natural communities.


enrico rezende

Dr Enrico Rezende
My research interests are in physiology, ecology and evolution. My current research topics include (i) the evolution of physiological performance and integrated phenotypes, (ii) the association between tolerance limits and geographic distribution and (iii) the fingerprint of evolutionary history on ecological networks of species interactions.


Dr Simon Loader

Dr Simon Loader
I am an evolutionary biologist and I am fascinated by biodiversity and the processes that govern its distribution. My research focuses on questions such as: Why are some areas biologically richer than others? Why have certain lineages been successful and others less so? These questions necessarily require a comparative phylogenetic perspective contrasting the diversity of closely related taxa in different areas and different taxa in the same areas. My practical research has been focused on the continent of Africa where I have invested substantial effort in fieldwork to support my research and in training students from home and abroad.


Dr Daniel Perkins

Dr Daniel Perkins
I am an aquatic ecologist with a focus on theoretical ecology. I am particularly interested in food webs and how metabolism changes in a warming world.


Dr Andrea Perna

Dr Andrea Perna

My main research interests are in the areas of self-organization in biological systems, collective animal behaviour and collective intelligence in group-living animals. I focus in particular on problems of coordination of collective motion in animal groups (such as flocking and schooling phenomena) and in the collective formation of spatial structures (e.g. nest building in social insects).


Dr Alan McElligott

Dr Alan McElligott

Our research focuses on understanding how evolution, ecology and domestication have shaped the social behaviour, cognition and vocal communication of livestock. The current main model species for our research are goats, cattle and poultry. We produce knowledge that is relevant to animal behaviour, behavioural ecology, as well as animal husbandry and welfare. We are also currently studying how public attitudes to animal welfare and sentience are formed.​


Isabel Santos Magalhaes

Dr Isabel Santos Magalhaes

My research aims at understanding the evolutionary processes that promote and constrain organismal diversification, especially in the context of changing and dynamic environments. I am also interested in identifying whether (and what) areas of the genome have undergone episodes of strong selection leading to the observed divergence, and then to pinpoint the environmental causes of such divergence. I focus on the use of fish systems for addressing evolutionary questions. In order to address these questions my research integrates data from multiple sources combining ecological data sets such as abiotic environmental variables collected in the field and morphological, diet and stable isotope analyses of wild populations with phylogeographic, population genetic and genomic data obtained through conventional genetics and next-generation sequencing (NGS) techniques.​



Harry Marshall

I am a behavioural and evolutionary ecologist. I am interested in understanding the ecology and evolution of social animals, and using this knowledge to inform their conservation and management. In particular, I work on wild social vertebrate species asking questions such as how social foraging behaviour varies with environmental conditions, and how early-life experiences influence individual behaviour, health and survival in later-life.​


antonia ford

Dr Antonia Ford

I am interested in patterns of biodiversity and evolutionary processes generating and maintaining diversity. My current research focuses on the genomics of speciation and hybridisation in wild populations of fish species in East Africa. I mainly work on species important in fisheries and aquaculture, including endemic native species threatened by introduced invasive species. Current projects include surveying and population genetics of native species, and the development of a smartphone app for in-field species identification and distribution mapping.


Postdoctoral Researchers/Research Assistants


Louise Soanes

Dr Louise Soanes - Leverhulme Trust Early Career Research Fellow
My research focuses on the foraging behaviour and ecology of seabirds, with a current focus on examining the asynchronous breeding habits of tropical seabirds. My field sites include the Caribbean UK Overseas Territories of Anguilla and the British Virgin Islands where I am also involved in projects related to the conservation of critically endangered sea turtles and a recovery programme for the endangered Lesser Antillean Iguana


tim johns

Tim Johns
Distribution and abundance of groundwater organisms .


Katarina Fussmann

Katarina Fussmann;
I completed my Diploma in Biology, with a focus on ecology, microbiology and molecular biology, at the Technical University of Darmstadt, Germany.  I am now working as a groundwater technician in the Department of Life Sciences.  For this project I monitor changes in the biodiversity and body size of micro-, meso- and macro-fauna in the groundwater column following recent groundwater flooding in chalk aquifers in southern England.  My work includes field sampling of boreholes and sample analysis in the lab.


Simon Szary

Szymon Szary
I completed my BSc in Zoology at the University of Roehampton in 2012.  I then undertook an MRes in Ecology at the University of Brighton in 2013 where my dissertation evaluated methods used to monitor populations of stoats and weasels in Poland. I have been volunteering for the British Trust for Ornithology since 2008 and London Wildlife Trust since 2010 and I am a member of the British Ecological Society and Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management.  Following an ecology internship at the University of Roehampton, I am now working on the Groundwater Flooding project.


anne robertson

Dr Nick Payne

I am interested in learning how marine animals interact with their environment, and do this by studying their movement patterns, biogeographies and energetics. My Cascade Postdoctoral Research Fellowship focuses on a range of large oceanic species, in particular ocean sunfish in the Mediterranean and around Ireland, and tiger sharks in Hawaii and northern Australia.


Research Students


Marie-Claire Danner

Marie-Claire Danner
My research interests are focused on freshwater ecology and ecotoxicology and I am interested in looking at the effects of anthropogenic stressors on freshwater ecosystems. I started my PhD in September 2015 with Dr. Julia Reiss and Prof. Anne Robertson and during the PhD, I aim to quantify the impact of antibiotics and temperature on freshwater communities.


philip collins

Philip Collins
Philip Collins studies variability in reproductive success between individuals within seabird populations and the potential underlying causes of these differences. His fieldwork takes place on Puffin Island, N Wales and mostly involves studying kittiwakes, a widespread gull species. He employs a diverse range of methodologies including: deployment of bird-borne logging devices (accelerometers, geolocators and GPS), time-lapse photography, and morphological measurements. Understanding which individuals are more reproductively successful, and why they are more successful, should allow for more effective conservation decisions.


Ignacio Peralta-Maraver

Ignacio Peralta-Maraver
I am doing my PhD studies funded by the Marie Sklodowska-Curie Innovative Training Networks. My research focuses on the biology and ecology of aquatic communities of stream and rivers. Currently I am studying the link between species richness, abundance, trophic relationship, metabolic activity and secondary production of the protozoan and invertebrate communities, and their relationship with the biogeochemical conditions, flow-paths and pollutants in the hyporheic zone of lotic ecosystems


Alejandra Toledo

Alejandra Toledo
My research interests focus on avian ecology, mainly ecophysiology and evolutionary ecology. I am especially interested in how environmental factors influence physiology and behaviour, thereby affecting traits and processes at the individual and population level. Under the supervision of Lewis Halsey and Enrico Rezende, during my PhD I am investigating which traits determine individual quality in several species of Caribbean seabirds. In order to investigate this topic, I am studying foraging efficiency and energy expenditure through the application of the 'acceleration technique', morphological and physiological parameters, and several proxies of reproduction success.


Tessa Van Walsum

Tessa van Walsum
I study diving physiology (i.e. heart rate, body temperature, and movement) of king penguins on the French sub-Antarctic island Crozet (Ile de la Possession). During my studies I will try to answer not only how they dive so deeply, but what limitations they face when diving to such depth. My research interests include; phylogeny, diving physiology, hydrodynamics, and extend to; behaviour, personality, and sleep.



Damiano Weitowitz
Geological controls on groundwater fauna.


Honorary Research Fellows


erica mcallister

Dr Erica McAlister
Erica is collections manager and senior curator at the Natural History Museum, London. She is responsible for a team of curators working on Diptera, Siphonaptera, Arachnida and Myriapoda. She is also an active fieldworker undertaking joint research in many areas within Diptera.


les ruse

Dr Les Ruse
Les has been a biologist in the water industry for more than 30 years. He has researched the distribution and ecology of chironomid (midge) larvae and is amongst the pioneers of the chironomid pupal exuvial technique.





Stephanie Bird
Stephanie Bird is undertaking a PhD co-funded by the Royal Horticultural Society on the influence of garden planting choices on soil biodiversity and functioning. She uses the Plants For Bugs experimental plots in Wisley Gardens as well as wild habitats nearby, and combines classical taxonomy with genetic barcoding to identify soil faunal biodiversity. She also uses a variety of approaches to quantify decomposer activity within the soils, to see whether soil function is affected by changes in its animal community.


astrid willener

Astrid Willener
Astrid Willener is investigating the onshore life of king penguins. This involves studying their energy expenditure and biomechanics and understanding their physiological stress-response.


mike mcdermot

Dr Mike McDermott
Colonisation and succession of lotic meiofauna following glacial recession.


roger baker

Dr Roger Baker
Colonisation and succession of meiofauna in the Jubilee River.


Dr Imogen Palmer
Edge effects on canopy arthropods in UK plantations.


Christie Allen
Amerindian ethnoecology, Resource use and forest management in southwest Guyana.


erica mcallister

Erica McAlister
Arthropod Colonisation of a created urban wetland, Barnes Wetland Centre.


barbara hancock

Dr Barbara Hancock
The physical and biological factors affecting meiofauna in the Jubilee River.


Dr Dave Bennett
Human Wildlife conflict:perception of crop damage and crop protection.



Dr Octavian Pacioglu
What is the response of hyporheic assemblages to nutrient and associated land use pollution pressures?



Dr Mark Dunscombe
Understanding the hydrogeologic controls on lowland hyporheic assemblages in the UK.


dan weaver

Dr Dan Weaver
Diversity of Diptera and Collembola in disturbed and undisturbed forest, Gashaka Gumpti National Park, Nigeria.