Photo of Professor Mike Speed

Professor Mike Speed

Dean of the School of Life Sciences School of Life Sciences

    Research

    Research Interest 1

    Research Interests

    My main research focus is on the evolution of defensive traits in prey species, specifically I am warning displays, crypsis and camouflage and the repellent secondary defences (such as toxins or spines). This research has a major empirical component - testing functional hypotheses about varied forms of prey defences with individually-identified wild (bird) predators, and a major theoretical component – developing models of defensive trait optimisation, paying particular attention to the way that components of a defensive ensemble co-evolve in relation to one another. I am also interested in particular species that have well defined anti-predator defences such as the common wasp; with the animal genomics group here, we are looking at the phylogeography of variation in warning displays in common wasps.

    Research Grants

    Exploring optimisation of defences in prey animals: an individual-based approach - Fellowship

    LEVERHULME TRUST (UK)

    September 2006 - August 2008

    Application of spectral analysis to test the theory of countershaded-crypsis in insect larvae.

    ROYAL SOCIETY (CHARITABLE)

    March 2005 - February 2006

    Optimal investment in costly anti-predator defences

    NATURAL ENVIRONMENT RESEARCH COUNCIL (NERC)

    February 2008 - February 2011

    The evolutionary ecology of automimicry.

    ROYAL SOCIETY (CHARITABLE)

    August 2004

    Butterfly Wings - A testing ground for Darwinian and Wallacian hypotheses of sexual dichromatism

    ASSOCIATION FOR THE STUDY OF ANIMAL BEHAVIOUR (UK)

    July 2013 - August 2013

    Masquerade: critical testing of the ecology of disguise

    NATURAL ENVIRONMENT RESEARCH COUNCIL (NERC)

    June 2008 - June 2011

    Development of novel molecular tools for the study of sperm usage in insects

    LEVERHULME TRUST (UK)

    January 2007 - November 2010

    The evolutionary ecology of defensive toxins

    NATURAL ENVIRONMENT RESEARCH COUNCIL (NERC)

    July 2013 - September 2013

    Causes of signal mimicry and its consequences for optimal investment in secondary defences.

    NATURAL ENVIRONMENT RESEARCH COUNCIL (NERC)

    October 2007 - September 2010

    Research Collaborations

    Professor Graeme Ruxton

    External: University of Glasgow

    Collaborative work on the evolution of secondary defences in prey animals