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predicting the effects of environmental change

from molecules to populations and ecosystems

about the lab

Our research group, led by Dr Natalie Pilakouta, is based at the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Aberdeen. Two major themes in our research are (i) how environmental change may alter animal behaviour and (ii) whether such changes in animal behaviour influence the capacity of populations to adapt to environmental change.


We mainly use insect and fish study systems to address fundamental questions in ecology and evolutionary biology, as well as more applied issues relevant to management and conservation. Our research integrates behavioural ecology, evolutionary biology, ecophysiology, and developmental biology. We use a wide range of approaches including experimental evolution, field-based studies, molecular biology techniques, theoretical modeling, and meta-analytic methods. If you are interested in joining the lab, click here for more information and any open positions.



April 2023 We have some big news! The Pilakouta Lab is moving to the University of St Andrews this summer!

March 2023 ― Natalie is co-organising a symposium on "Plasticity in social behaviour under environmental change" for Behaviour 2023 in Bielefield, Germany

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

December 2022 ― Ava presented a poster and Natalie gave a talk at the BES Conference in Edinburgh

December 2022 ― Natalie gave an invited talk at Newcastle University

November 2022 ― Karendeep is attending this year's United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27) in Egypt


October 2022 ― We are advertising two fully-funded PhD projects in our lab! Check the Join Us page for more details

September 2022 ― Welcome to Amber Chatten who is joining the lab as a PhD student to study the effects of environmental change on marine populations!

September 2022 ― This term we welcome five undergraduate students (Alice Ligonniere, Emma Cassellis, Lorelei Sellers, Rebecca Barratt, and Shannon Harvey) joining the lab for their Honours projects!

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