New paper

Congratulations to Becky, who has just had her review on convenience polyandry accepted in TREE. The review, based on part of her thesis discussion, considers the fleeting nature of true convenience polyandry, and is co-authored by Marlene Zuk and yours truly. Final details of in-print version to follow.


A brief post to re-affirm my strong opposition to leaving the EU, and to repudiate the ugly – and frankly ridiculous – statements made by various members of the current UK Government about our European friends and allies.

I strongly support the EU, and will continue to do so regardless of the state of the UK’s relationship with EU countries.

Undergraduate and post-graduate students from the EU enrich my research and teaching, and are a valuable part of our academic community. The benefits of their presence, and also of the presence of EU workers in the UK, has been confirmed beyond any doubt, and I will continue to welcome them. To argue that they are damaging our economy is to tell lies.

I am disgusted that our politicians cannot make the case for the contribution of EU – and non-EU – workers to our economy, and to our broader intellectual and social well-being, through contributions to science, arts and so on. Instead, they are appear craven to a media that is xenophobic at best, racist at worst, and a small group of atavistic nationalists that do not reflect our true values as a country.

Please resist BREXIT in any way that you can.

Lots of new news!

Hello everyone,

After a quiet couple of months, lots of lab news to catch up on.

First, a warm welcome to three new MSc(Res) students: Céile Swinton-Boyle, Mélissa Armand, and Joe Hamm. Céile and Joe will be working on sex allocation and other things with Nasonia and possibly Ampulex, whilst Mélissa will be joining Vicki to work on post-copulatory sexual selection in the bugs.

Second, an equally warm welcome to five Honours project students who will working in the lab this year: Sophie Zawadzki (wasps), Amy Knight (CHCs in the bugs), Clea Russell (also with Sue Healy, working on gender biases in student assessment of lecturers), Georgia Kay (sexual selection), and Hannah Wilson (infertility in the wild).

We will be busy – excellent!

Third, we have a couple of manuscripts being revised at the moment, so hopefully news of our next publications to follow very shortly.

Finally, teaching has already started, with Dave and Vicki off doing the Orielton field-course a couple of weeks ago (which again was blessed with pretty good weather), so good luck to everyone for the coming academic year!

Cedric’s first paper

Congratulations to Cedric, who has just had his first paper accepted! Dave and Cedric have written a Quick Guide on Cryptic Male Choice for Current Biology.

We will let you know when the hard-copy version is published. Now for the Bateman Gradient paper…

Congratulations to Liam

Delighted to pass on the great news that ex-grad student Liam Dougherty has just been awarded a Leverhulme Fellowship to carry on his sexual selection work in Liverpool. Lucky Liverpool!

Congratulations Liam!

Peacocks and sexual selection

Dave has just been at a great Royal Society meeting on sexual selection and macroevolution, bringing together behavioural ecologists and palaeontologists for a very thought-provoking and fun discussion.

Best of all – and right on cue – one the local peacock males at Chicheley Hall started displaying during the first coffee break – couldn’t have been better! Still making Darwin sick after all these years…

(And the obligatory team photo below the peacock – thanks to Rob Knell)

Females and speciation

A commentary by Emily and Dave on the comprehensive review of male-male competition and speciation by Tinghitella et al is now out in Behavioural Ecology. Whilst male-male competition should not be ignored as a source of reproductive isolation, mate choice and the role of females will generally also be needed to close the loop and hence lead to speciation.

Our note is here: Burdfield-Steel, E.R. & Shuker, D.M. (2018) Divergence is not speciation, or why we need females: a comment on Tinghitella et al. Behavioral Ecology, ary069.

And the original review is here: