Welcome to Hannah Dugdale’s research group. We are interested in how animals can respond to environmental change and variation. Our research focuses on within- and between-individual differences in behavioural and life-history traits in variable, wild populations. We are interested in how these differences evolved and how they are maintained. This will improve our understanding of evolutionary dynamics in wild populations, providing insights into whether animals may cope with rapidly changing environments.

Our research is focused around six topics:


Why do individuals age the way they do? We investigate senescence in the wild, for example by looking at how fecundity declines at old ages and how this differs between males and females (the graph shows fewer badger cubs are born to older badgers).

Cooperative breeding

Cooperative breeding occurs when individuals help to raise offspring that are not their own. We investigate the fitness components of this behaviour to understand how this behaviour evolved and what maintains it, using long-term datasets.

Sexual selection and mate choice

Understanding variation in promiscuity remains a major challenge. Our research investigates socio-ecological correlates of promiscuity, and how promiscuity is maintained when the assumed benefits are rarely demonstrated.


Social behaviour

The behaviour of the social partner can affect the behaviour of the focal individual. Such interactions can alter the direction of selection, so they are critical for our understanding of the evolution of social behaviours.



Why do individuals consistently behave differently and how are these differences are maintained in populations. We investigate boldness and tendency to explore new areas (e.g. the tent in the picture) and correlate these behaviours with fitness.

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.

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