Welcome to the Dugdale Research Group. We are interested in the evolution of within- and between-individual differences in behavioural and life-history traits. Our current focus is the evolution of ageing. One of the most profound challenges we all face is that we deteriorate with age – a process known as senescence. Individuals clearly senesce differently, but our understanding of how and why individuals senesce in such different ways remains limited. Our research takes a comprehensive and integrative approach to investigate why individual variation in senescence evolved and is maintained. This will generate vital knowledge on how individuals can live longer, healthier lives.
Our research is focused around:
Why do individuals senesce differently? We study senescence in natural systems (the graph shows fewer cubs are born to older badgers). We use genomic markers to investigate the relative impact of environmental, social, transgenerational and genetic effects on senescence.
Understanding variation in extra-group paternity (EGP) remains a major challenge. Our research investigates the evolution of EGP – such as personality dependent mate choice and sexual selection on MHC genes.
Why do individuals consistently behave differently and why are these differences maintained in populations. We investigate the heritability and fitness consequences of personality, such as the tendency to explore (e.g. exploration in the tent in the picture).
|Women in science
We are passionate about promoting women in science and we enjoy teaching about our research to school children. We have conducted research into reasons underlying lower visibility of female scientists at evolutionary biology conferences.