find your perfect postgrad program
Search our Database of 30,000 Courses

University of Nottingham: Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

Institution University of Nottingham
Department School of Life Sciences
Study type Research


Your research degree is bespoke at the University of Nottingham, and allows you to choose your own area of interest to research, under the title of your choosing.

Our Ecology and Evolutionary Biology grouping is made up of the following available PhD and MRes courses:

  • Animal Behaviour

  • Conservation Biology

  • Evolutionary Biology

  • Ecology

  • Evolutionary Ecology

We are ranked 8th in the UK for research power (2014). The Research Excellence Framework (REF) is the system used by UK higher education funding bodies to assess research quality in universities.

  • Life sciences ranked 9th in the UK for research power

  • More than 97% of research at Nottingham is recognised internationally

  • More than 80% of our research is ranked in the highest categories as world-leading or internationally excellent

  • 16 of our 29 subject areas feature in the UK top 10 by research power

The MRes/PhD titles you can choose from in this field are:

  • Evolutionary Biology

Evolutionary Biology involves the study of adaptation of organisms to their environment, at the whole organism and molecular scales. Some research areas in the school include:

  • Evolutionary biology of spiders and spider silk

  • Computational molecular evolution

  • Phylogenomics, protein evolution, evolutionary theory, and adaptation.

  • Colour polymorphism and speciation in snails

  • Evolutionary and population genomics of adaptation in plants

  • Evolution of sparrow-human commensalism

  • Ladybird colour polymorphism and male killers

  • Ecology and evolution in three-spined sticklebacks

  • Evolution and development of left-right asymmetry

Animal Behaviour

Research projects in this area will centre on adaptive decision-making in animals in a range of contexts, including:

  • Trade-offs between social and sexual behaviour, learning and other components of life history, such as immune function and disease resistance

  • Associative and higher order learning in invertebrates

  • Evolution of insect pollinator systems

  • How predators drive the evolution of colour patterns and mimicry

Conservation Biology

Research projects in this area are likely to either involve intensive field work, laboratory experiments, or data analysis/mathematical modelling.

Recent work within the school has been concerned with:

  • Population genetics and conservation of the endangered fen raft spider

  • Social Insect Biology and Conservation

  • Impact of habitat fragmentation on conservation

  • Harvest mice conservation

  • Speciation and conservation of snails on remote Japanese archipelago, the Ogasawara islands

  • Conservation ecology of declining vertebrate populations (especially birds)


Research projects in ecology are offered in a range of animal, plant and microbial topics including:

  • Competition and coexistence in animal communities

  • Ecology of host-parasite interactions

  • Insect pollinator systems

  • Life history strategies and trade-offs

  • Sexual selection and ecology

  • Role of ecology in natural selection

  • Chemical ecology of neurotoxins

  • Bumblebee and spider ecology

  • Aquatic environments and disease ecology

  • Role of exuberant colour polymorphism in snail shells

Evolutionary Ecology

Evolutionary ecology lies at the intersection of ecology and evolutionary biology, typically taking into account interactions between species. Studies available include:

  • The evolutionary and behavioural ecology of insects and mammals

  • Ecological genetics of sibling species of snail

  • Sexual selection and ecology of birds

  • Co-evolution of life histories and mimicry in insects

  • Stickleback evolutionary ecology and parasitism

  • Mimicry and colour polymorphism in invertebrates

  • Host-parasite coevolution in freshwater systems

Doctor of Philosophy - PhD

Master of Research - MRes

Not what you are looking for?

Browse other courses in Pharmacology, Clinical chemistry or Molecular chemistry, or search our comprehensive database of postgrad programs.

Scholarship Opportunity with

Are you a PG student at this University or have you applied to study a postgraduate program at a university in Europe? Tell us your plans and qualify for a £500.00 PGS Scholarship.

Click here