School of Life Sciences
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Andrew MacColl

Professor of Evolutionary Ecology, Faculty of Medicine & Health Sciences

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Biography

B.Sc. Ecological Science, University of Edinburgh, 1990. Ph.D. University of Aberdeen, 1998. Research assistant, University of Cambridge 1990 -1994. Postdoctoral research assistant, University of Edinburgh, 1999. Postdoctoral research assistant, University of Sheffield, 2000 - 2003. Royal Society Travelling Fellow, University of British Columbia, Canada, 2004. NERC Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Nottingham, 2005 - 2008. Lecturer, University of Nottingham, 2005 - 2013. Associate Professor, University of Nottingham, 2013 - 2019. Professor of Evolutionary Ecology, 2019 - present.

Expertise Summary

Population ecology of vertebrates.

Ecology of freshwater fish, especially stickleback.

Fish parasitology.

Fieldwork.

Population genomics.

Teaching Summary

I teach a second year residential 'Biodiversity Field Course' which goes to the area around Dovedale in the English Peak District each September. Students learn basic ecological surveying and… read more

Research Summary

The main theme of our research is to understand the role of ecology in driving natural selection and how this can produce the divergent evolution between populations that accumulates into speciation.… read more

Selected Publications

I teach a second year residential 'Biodiversity Field Course' which goes to the area around Dovedale in the English Peak District each September. Students learn basic ecological surveying and identification skills, as well as how to handle biodiversity data.

I also teach a third year 'Evolutionary Ecology' course in the autumn term. The content focuses on how evolution is driven by the ecology of organisms, especially interactions within and between species (competition, mutualism, predation, parasitism).

Current Research

The main theme of our research is to understand the role of ecology in driving natural selection and how this can produce the divergent evolution between populations that accumulates into speciation. Our approach is based on the integration of theory, observation and experiment. We are interested in the relative importance of different selective agents in directing evolution. In general little is known about whether evolution is driven mainly by the abiotic environment or by ecological interactions such as competition, predation and parasitism. Classical ecology has focussed on the part played by competition between organisms in determining individual success (and hence evolution). Other ecological interactions have received less attention. Parasitism in particular has been poorly studied as a driver of evolution in host populations. Three-spined sticklebacks (Gasterosteus aculeatus) are a good model species because they are common, widely distributed and easy to keep in the lab. A great deal is known about their natural history and genetics (their genome has been sequenced). They are particularly interesting because they exhibit a great deal of phenotypic and genetic diversity between populations. We have worked on stickleback in many global locations, including Alaska, British Columbia and Iceland, but we focus in particular on an adaptive radiation of stickleback in lochs on the Scottish island of North Uist. The fish exhibit striking variation between populations within a very small area, largely as a result of underlying differences in water chemistry and associated ecology.

School of Life Sciences

University of Nottingham
Medical School
Queen's Medical Centre
Nottingham NG7 2UH

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