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predicting responses to climate change

from molecules to populations and ecosystems

about the lab

Our research group, led by Dr Natalie Pilakouta, is based in the Centre for Biological Diversity at University of St Andrews. The overarching aim of our work is to improve our ability to predict population responses to human-induced environmental changes and, in particular, climate change. We are also interested in linking these population responses to the underlying molecular mechanisms and their effects on ecosystem-level processes.

Working towards this goal, our research integrates behavioural ecology, evolutionary biology, and ecophysiology, using a wide range of methods, such as experimental evolution, field-based studies, molecular biology techniques, and theoretical approaches. We work mainly on fish and insect study systems, but our work is question-driven rather than species-driven. We also use meta-analytic techniques to answer questions with a broad taxonomic scope. If you are interested in joining the lab, click here for more information and any open positions.



November 2023 ― Natalie gave an invited talk at Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU)


October 2023 ― We are currently advertising two PhD projects in our lab! You can find details on this page

October 2023  Hot off the press! New paper in American Naturalist examining the effects of parental care on inbreeding depression using a meta-analytic approach

September 2023  Welcome to Ellie Moore, Daniel Allan, and Isobel Grieve who have joined the lab for their Honours projects, and Alison Russell who is doing a StARIS research internship


August 2023 ― Natalie attended the Behaviour 2023 conference in Germany, where she gave two oral presentations and was the primary organiser for a symposium on "Plasticity in social behaviour under environmental change". A big thank you to the Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour for facilitating this with an ASAB Childcare Grant!

August 2023 ― Congratulations to Eirini and Claudia, who have completed their MSc projects on the effects of temperature on fertility using a meta-analytic approach

July 2023 ― New paper in Functional Ecology on the effects of heatwaves on animal reproduction (press release here)

July 2023 ― Natalie gave an invited talk on physiological adaptation in geothermal stickleback populations at the Society for Experimental Biology (SEB) conference in Edinburgh, UK

July 2023 ― Karendeep presented a poster at the Animal Behavior Society (ABS) conference in Portland, Oregon

June 2023 ― Natalie has joined the Editorial Board of the Journal of Thermal Biology

May 2023 ― Amber presented some preliminary results from her PhD project at EMPSEB 2023 – stay tuned for some very interesting results on the effects of climate change on fertility in marine and freshwater organisms!

May 2023  Natalie has joined the Editorial Board of the Journal of Animal Ecology

April 2023 ― Natalie is featured in the Scientists with Impact interviews series by the Society for Experimental Biology (SEB)

April 2023 ― A warm welcome to Eirini Meligoniti and Claudia Hayward who have joined the lab for their MSc projects

February 2023 ― Natalie has joined the Editorial Board of the Journal of Evolutionary Biology

January 2023 ― New paper on the effects of temperature on social behaviour in Global Change Biology (featured on the cover of this month's issue!)

January 2023 ― New paper in Evolution on the predictability of morphological evolution in response to temperature

January 2023  New paper on temperature preferences in geothermal fish populations in Ecology and Evolution

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