Dr David Shuker

My research interests focus on insect behavioural ecology, especially the evolution of insect reproductive behaviour. We use whole-organism and genetic approaches to explore how insect behaviour evolves, testing ecological and evolutionary theory in the process. Until recently I was also the Secretary for the Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour.

Brief CV
2015-2015 Visiting Research Fellow, University of Western Australia, Australia.
2013-date  Senior Lecturer, University of St Andrews, U.K.
2012-2013 Lecturer, University of St Andrews, U.K.
2009-2011 NERC Advanced Research Fellow & Lecturer, University of St Andrews, U.K.
2007-2009 NERC Advanced Research Fellow, University of Edinburgh, U.K.
2004-2006 NERC Post-doc, University of Edinburgh, U.K.
2001-2004 BBSRC Post-doc, University of Edinburgh, U.K.
2000-2001 NERC Post-doc, University of Leeds, U.K.
1999-2000 Research Assistant, University of Manchester, U.K.
1998-1999 Teaching Fellow, University of Nottingham, U.K.
1994-1998 PhD. University of Nottingham, U.K.
1991-1994 BSc. (Hons) Pure and Applied Ecology, University of Sheffield, U.K.
1990-1991 The Natural History Museum, London.

For a thinly disguised pen-portrait of me, Dan Brown borrowed me for a character in one of his novels – please go HERE to read it.

Eleanor Gourevitch

University of St Andrews PhD student (2019-date)

Sexual selection in true bugs


Vicki Balfour

University of St Andrews PhD Apprentice (2017-date)

Mating failure in seed bugs




Previous group members

Mélissa Armand

MSc(Res) student (2018-2019)

Post-copulatory sexual selection in seed bugs


Céile Swinton-Boyle

MSc(Res) student (2018-2019)

Testing sex allocation theory in wasps


Joe Hamm

MSc(Res) student (2018-2019)

The effects of neonicotinoids on reproductive behaviour of parasitic wasps


Cédric Aumont (2017-18)

Visiting Masters student, Agrocampus Ouest, France

Mating systems of Lygaeus seed bugs


Ginny Greenway

Ginny-cropped-and-smallerNERC Phd Student (2013-2017)

Post-copulatory sexual selection in lygaeid bugs

Ginny is now a post-doc at the University of Florida: her new email is [email protected]

Georgina Glaser (primary supervisor Dr Sue Healy)

BBSRC PhD Student (2013-2017)

Context-dependent decision making in hummingbirds and wasps.

Georgina is currently Events Officer with the British Ecological Society: her email is [email protected]

Becky Boulton

NERC PhD student (2012-2016)

The evolution of multiple mating in Nasonia wasps.

After post-docs in Minnesota and the University of Exeter, and a fellowship in the Netherlands, Becky will be a BBSRC Fellow at Stirling University: her current email is [email protected]

Nicki Cook

Post-doctoral research associate (2013-2016)
The genetic and genomic basis of sex ratio variation Nasonia wasps.

Nicki is now the Managing Editor of the Journal of Evolutionary Biology.

Jade Green

mara_jade_green_lightsaber_SmallerResearch technican (2013-2016)
The genetic and genomic basis of sex ratio variation Nasonia wasps (and generally looking after things in the lab, with a light-sabre).


Dr Liam Dougherty

lab 007NERC PhD student (2011-2015)
Context-dependent reproductive behaviour in Lygaeus seed bugs.

Liam has a tenure-track position at the University of Liverpool. His email is [email protected]

Dr Emily Burdfield-Steel

NERC PhD student (2010-2014)Emily and RI photo Cropped for website

The causes and consequences of reproductive interference in five species of seed bug (Hemiptera: Lygaeidae).

Emily is now an Associate Professor at the Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics (IBED) at the University of Amsterdam (UvA). Her email is: [email protected]

Dr Rebekah Watt NERC PhD student (2008-2012)

The transcriptomic basis of post-mating responses in females of the parasitic wasp Nasonia vitripennis.

Rebekah now has a career in the pharmaceutical industry.

Dr Anna Auld (nee Moynihan; NERC PhD student 2007-2011)

Sexual selection and sex allocation in the gregarious parasitoid wasp Nasonia vitripennis. Anna is a recruitment consultant.


Dr Gethin Evans (NERC PhD student 2007-2011)

Sexual conflict over mating in Lygaeus seed bugs. Gethin has since been involved in conservation work in Africa and now works for Atkins-Global.


Dr Laura Ross (PhD student 2006-2010)

Genetic conflict and sex allocation in scale insects (Coccoidea). Laura is currently a NERC Research Fellow in Edinburgh, albeit now with an ERC grant and a permanent position…!


Dr Bart Pannebakker (Post-doc 2005-2008)

Genetic basis of sex allocation in Nasonia vitripennis. Bart now has a faculty position at the University of Wageningen.


Dr Max Burton (NERC PhD student 2003-2007)

The mating and reproductive behaviour of the gregarious parasitoid wasp Nasonia vitripennis. Max has a position at the University of Lausanne.

Dr Ed Sykes (BBSRC PhD student 2003-2007)

Life history evolution in the parasitoid wasp Nasonia vitripennis. Formerly of the Science Media Centre and Babylon, Ed now works in healthcare research.

Senior Honours and Taught Masters students* and summer students/interns

2020-21 Maddy Abbs*, Bekki Gorgon*, Mia Richmond*, Julie MacDonald*, Melissa Wright*, Dani Black*, Anna Dorling*, Andrew Spires*, Leila Cooper, Heidi Bough, Liliana Potter.

2019-20 Andrew Smith*, Katie Delahooke*, Lea Fourchault (supported by University of St Andrews URAS scholarship), Madingley Abbs (supported by an ASAB Undergraduate Project Scholarship), Leila Cooper

2018-19 Sophie Zawadzki*, Amy Knight*, Clea Russell*, Hannah Wilson*, Georgia Kay*, Dani Black (again! Laidlaw Scholarship Programme and BBSRC Research Experience Placement), Ksenia Potapova

2017-18 Jasmin Martin*, Ryan Teague*, Mia Corliss, Dani Black (Laidlaw Scholarship Programme)

2016-17 Jane Gordon*, Emma Laurent*

2014-15 Mhari Miller*, Alex Fryer*, Vicki Balfour (ASAB Undergraduate Project Scholarship), Sophie van Meyel (University of Poitiers), Connor Dunleavy (supported by the Nuffield Foundation Research Placement Scheme).

2013-14 Sam Auty*#, Sophie Gill & Charlotte Blackburn (both supported by the Nuffield Foundation Research Placement Scheme), Vicki Balfour
# Sam was awarded a Certificate of Commendation by the Zoological Society of London as part of the Charles Darwin Award & Marsh Prize for the best undergraduate thesis across the UK.

2012-13 Hannah Learney*

2011-12 Laura Collins, Laura Couldrey*, Raluca Herascu (IBANS Scholarship), Kathryn Scott*, Lynsey Ann Smith

2010-11 Anna Bird*, Michael Dimmock*, MIlly McGlone (ASAB Undergraduate Project Scholarship)

2009-10 Niall Currie*, Chris Doughty*, Jessica Haghkerdar, Jack McLachlan

2008-09 Toby Nowlan*, Jennifer Park

2008 and before: previous illustrious under-grad alumni supervised in part or in full by Dave include Ali Duncan, Penelope Whitehorn, Jess Phillimore, Alice Laughton, Gav Ballantyne, Lucy Browning, and Felicity Muth.