Leahurst environmental research

Department of Ecology, Evolution and Behaviour

We study the biology of animals, plant and microbes, from the individual to the population-level, to understand the processes driving the natural world.

Our research

Ecological and epidemiological dynamics of diseases

We work on:

  • The ecological and epidemiological dynamics of diseases (zoonoses) in natural populations in the UK and internationally
  • Coinfection, especially, how parasite species interact within a host and how host species interact through the parasites they share
  • Host-parasite coevolution, where we provided the first laboratory test of the “Red Queen Hypothesis”
  • Parasite genomicsto study the evolution of host resistance and parasite infection.

Evolutionary ecology

We are interested in:

  • Anti-­predator adaptations, combining behavioural and post-genomic studies
  • Understanding the importance of meiotic drive and microbial symbionts as evolutionary and ecological drivers
  • Biodiversity conservation and climate change
  • Using field, laboratory, and modeling approaches
  • Functional evolution, especially in relation to climate change, combining genetic, phylogenetic, experimental and meta-analytical approaches.

Mammalian behaviour and evolution

This is a multi-disciplinary field that uses an evolutionary approach while integrating:

  • Behaviour
  • Ecology
  • Biochemistry
  • Physiology
  • Proteomics
  • Structural biology
  • Molecular genetics

We focus on mammalian scent communication in particular, and on how reproductive competition influences phenotypic diversity in reproductive strategies. We apply our understanding of behaviour and evolution to advance understanding of animal welfare.

Working with us

We provide an environment of strong mentoring that has proved highly successful in developing our staff. With colleagues from the University of Sheffield and the University of York, we have the only Natural Environment Research Council Doctoral Training Partnership dedicated to the ecological and evolutionary sciences under Adaptation to the Challenges of a Changing Environment. We therefore provide a world-class environment for doctoral training.

We collaborate extensively with research groups across the Institute, in other Institutes and beyond Liverpool, both nationally and internationally.

Head of Department

Professor Mark Viney