2018 - present. Associate Professor, University of Nottingham.
2009 - 2018. Lecturer, University of Nottingham.
2004 - 2009. University Teacher, University of Nottingham.
2002 - 2003. Royal Society Postdoctoral Fellowship, University of Sydney.
1997 - 2001. PhD, Zoology Dept, Cambridge University.
1994 - 1997. BSc (hons) Biological Sciences, Lancaster University.
I believe that teaching and research are critically dependent on one another, and I get immense satisfaction from both parts of my job. I am Deputy Head of Teaching in the School of Life Sciences,… read more
I am an evolutionary and behavioural ecologist, with two main research interests...
First, I am fascinated by the evolution of animal signals, both visual and acoustic, and in particular by Batesian mimicry and aposematism. My research focuses on trying to explain the evolutionary forces shaping signal variation, both within and among species. I do this using a combination of behavioural experiments, mathematical models and even the odd bit of 3D printing.
Second, I am interested in the conservation of reebed biodiversity. Reedbeds, both natural and those "constructed" for wastewater treatment, are home to tremendous animal and plant diversity, with many specilist and rare species. One species of special interest to me is the harvest mouse (Micromys minutus), which seems to be more of a wetland specialist than it is a creature of arable farmland. We don't really understand the conservation status of this iconic species, or how it has been impacted by recent changes in land-use and agriculture.
In addition to field biology and theoretical ecology, I teach statistics at all levels in the School of Life Sciences, and have led a cross-disciplinary research project aimed at improving teaching and learning of statistics at University.
You can find out more about my research and opportunities for students on my personal website:
LEAVEY, ALICE, TAYLOR, CHRISTOPHER H., SYMONDS, MATTHEW R. E., GILBERT, FRANCIS and READER, TOM, 2021. Mapping the evolution of accurate Batesian mimicry of social wasps in hoverflies EVOLUTION. 75(11), 2802-2815
VITALE, JESSICA D., JORDAN, NEIL R., GILFILLAN, GEOFFREY D., MCNUTT, J. W. and READER, TOM, 2020. Spatial and seasonal patterns of communal latrine use by spotted hyenas (Crocuta crocuta) reflect a seasonal resource defense strategy BEHAVIORAL ECOLOGY AND SOCIOBIOLOGY. 74(10),
I believe that teaching and research are critically dependent on one another, and I get immense satisfaction from both parts of my job. I am Deputy Head of Teaching in the School of Life Sciences, and hold two Dearing Awards for excellence in teaching.
My teaching occurs in two main areas:
1) I teach population and behavioural ecology to second year undergraduates (in Ecology), the fundamentals of adaptation by natural selection to third years (in Evolution and Behaviour), and the conservation biology of invasive species (in Conservation). I also co-convene the Behavioural Ecology Field Course in Portugal.
2) I teach statistics and experimental design to students in all years of their undergraduate degree, and act as statistical advisor to many postgraduates. The core principle I teach is that good research is not possible without a proper understanding of the likelihood of data arising by chance under the null hypothesis. Relevant modules I convene are: Core Skills in Biology, Genetics & Zoology; Advanced Experimental Design and Analysis.