The MacColl Lab

University of Nottingham


Research outline: We are a whole organism evolutionary ecology lab. We are fascinated by the diversity of life. We are particularly interested in the ecological causes of, and genetic responses to, natural selection, especially in the context of the processes that drive adaptive radiation in contemporary wild populations. But some of us also do conservation biology. Mainly we study the three-spined stickleback, Gasterosteus aculeatus. Developments in genetic technology mean that the study of evolution is crossing the threshold of an extraordinary new period of discovery. Genome sequencing is rapidly revealing the proximate, genetic basis for trait variation and evolution.

There is also a massive opportunity to further our comprehension of the ultimate causes of evolution, which can only come from a better understanding of the ecological context in which evolution takes place. Advance in this area depends on the adoption of model systems that span the range of cutting-edge techniques from sequencing to manipulative ecological experiments. The three-spined stickleback provides such a system. We also do, or have done research on mammals, birds and aquatic insects. We combine observational ecology, analysis of long-term datasets, and field, lab and mesocosm experiments with quantitative and molecular genetics.

Lab news:

Most of the lab are now away on fieldwork for several weeks.
Welcome to Jim Whiting who has joined the lab to do a BBSRC Ph.D. on parasite resistance.
Welcome also to Laura Armstrong, who will begin a NERC Ph.D. on speciation in sticklebacks in October 2014.
Congratulations to Shaun Robertson who has received funding from FSBI and the Genetics Society for a large field experiment.
Laura Armstrong and Sam Corrigan are completing their MSci projects on ecology and microevolution in stickleback.
Previous lab member Paulo Wilfred has a new paper coming out in the African Journal of Ecology
Andrew has a paper online early in Ibis


School of Life Sciences, University of Nottingham, University Park, Nottingham, NG7 2RD, U.K.

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Funders: NERC, NESCent, FSBI

External links:
School of Life Sciences
Behaviour and Ecology Group, Nottingham,