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.

Vicki Balfour

University of St Andrews PhD Apprentice

Mating failure in seed bugs

Cédric Aumont

Visiting Masters student, Agrocampus Ouest, France

Mating systems of seed bugs



Previous group members:

Ginny Greenway

NERC Phd Student (2013-2017)Ginny-cropped-and-smaller

Post-copulatory sexual selection in lygaeid bugs

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

Georgina Glaser (primary supervisor Dr Sue Healy)

BBSRC PhD Student (2013-2017)

Context-dependent decision making in hummingbirds and wasps.

Georgina is about to start a Royal Society science communication internship

Becky Boulton

NERC PhD student (2012-2016)

The evolution of multiple mating in Nasonia wasps.

Becky is now a post-doc at the University of Minnesota: her email is

Nicki Cook

Post-doctoral research associate (2013-2016)

The genetic and genomic basis of sex ratio variation Nasonia wasps.

Nicki is now a post-doc with Mike Ritchie here in St Andrews.

Jade Green

Research technican (2013-2016)mara_jade_green_lightsaber_Smaller

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

NERC PhD student (2011-2015)lab 007

Context-dependent reproductive behaviour in Lygaeus seed bugs.

Liam is now an adjunct post-doc at UWA. His email is


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 a post-doc in Jyvaskyla: her email is:


Dr Rebekah Watt NERC PhD student (2008-2012)

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

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

Sexual selection and sex allocation in the gregarious parasitoid wasp Nasonia vitripennis.

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.


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 is currently a post-doc in Oxford.

Dr Ed Sykes (BBSRC PhD student 2003-2007)

Life history evolution in the parasitoid wasp Nasonia vitripennis. Ed is currently at the Science Media Centre in London.

Senior Honours* and summer students:

2017-18 Jasmin Martin*, Ryan Teague*, Mia Corliss

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.