People

Dr Peter J Mayhew (Senior Lecturer): peter.mayhew@york.ac.uk

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I studied Zoology at Oxford University (1989-1992), and then did a PhD in insect behavioural ecology at Imperial College supervised by Charles Godfray (1993-1996). I followed this with a Royal Society Leverhulme fellowship at Leiden (1996-1998) in Jacques van Alphen’s group on life history evolution in insect parasitoids. I was appointed Lecturer in Ecology at York in 1998, and Senior Lecturer in 2008. My research at York has followed my interests in insect life histories and comparative biology, diversifying into macroevolution, community ecology, biological control and conservation. I have been lucky enough to lead a field course on the North York Moors since 1999, and this has led to a love for the natural history of Yorkshire. Alongside many other roles, I am currently associate editor for the journals Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata and Ecological Entomology.

You can probably get a feeling for my interests by looking at my review articles:

Mayhew P. J. Comparing parasitoid life histories. Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata 159, 2016, 147-162.

Mayhew, P. J., “Global climate and extinction: evidence from the fossil record”, in Hodkinson, T., Jones, M., Waldren, S. & Parnell, J. (eds.), Climate Change, Ecology and Systematics, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 99-121, 2011.

Mayhew, P. J. Why are there so many insect species? Perspectives from fossils and phylogenies. Biological Reviews 82, 2007, 425-454.

Mayhew, P. J. Adaptive patterns of host-plant selection by phytophagous insects. Oikos, 79, 1997, 417-428.

You will also want to read my book. A full list of my publications, mostly with pdf access, is here.

Adam Bakewell (PhD student – 2016-2020): ab1348@york.ac.uk

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Adam is studying for his PhD on the NERC ACCE DTP project “The evolution of insect life histories and their effect on diversification”. He is compiling a life history dataset across the whole of the insects which he will analyse with phylogenetic comparative techniques.

Dr Katie Davis (Researcher co-investigator 2016-2019): katie.davis@york.ac.uk

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Katie co-wrote the Leverhulme grant she is employed on. She is constructing a supertree of Orthoptera species, and will then use it to investigate the evolution of song, as a way of creating smarter automated acoustic observatories.

Katie’s own webpage is here.

James Rainford (PhD student 2012-2015): jlr43@live.co.uk

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James constructed a dated phylogeny of insect families (see the “Datasets” tab)and used it to investigate the macroevolution of the group. His work was funded by NERC and is now all published:

Rainford JL 2015. Diversification in the Hexapoda: a Molecular Phylogenetic approach. PhD thesis, University of York, UK.

Rainford, J. L., Hofreiter, M. and Mayhew, P. J. Phylogenetic analyses suggest that diversification and body size evolution are independent in insects. BMC Evolutionary Biology 16, 2016, 9.

Rainford, J. L. and Mayhew, P. J. Diet evolution and clade richness in Hexapoda: a phylogenetic study of higher taxa.  American Naturalist, 186, 2015, 777-791.

Rainford, J. L., Hofreiter, M., Nicholson, D. B. and Mayhew, P. J. Phylogenetic distribution of extant richness suggests metamorphosis is a key innovation driving diversification in insects. PLoS ONE 9, 2014, e109085.

James won the Am Nat student paper prize, and went on to a job as a statistician at Lumen Research in London.

David Nicholson (PhD student 2008-2012): david.nicholson@nhm.ac.uk

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David’s project was “Fossil perspectives on the evolution of insect diversity”, funded by a NERC CASE studentship jointly funded by the National Museums of Scotland. David produced a family level catalogue of the temporal ranges of all Hexapod families. David’s work is all published now, and his data (see the Datasets tab) have contributed to several additional publications. David now works as a post-doc on the macroevolution of turtles at The Natural History Museum, London.

Nicholson DB 2012. Fossils perspectives on the evolution of insect diversity. PhD thesis, University of York, UK.

Clapham, M. E., Karr, J. A., Nicholson, D. B., Ross, A. J., and Mayhew P. J. Ancient origin of high taxonomic richness among insects. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 283, 2016, 20152476.

Nicholson, D. B., Mayhew, P. J. and Ross, A. J. Changes to the fossil record of insects through fifteen years of discovery. PLoS ONE, 10, 2015, e0128554.

Nicholson, D. B., Ross, A. J. and Mayhew, P. J. Fossil evidence for key innovations in the evolution of insect diversity. Proceedings of the Royal Society, B, 281, 2014, 20141823.

Rainford, J. L., Hofreiter, M., Nicholson, D. B. and Mayhew, P. J. Phylogenetic distribution of extant richness suggests metamorphosis is a key innovation driving diversification in insects. PLoS ONE 9, 2014, e109085.

Davis, R. B., Nicholson, D. B., Saunders, E. L. R. and Mayhew, P. J. Fossil gaps inferred from phylogenies alter the apparent nature of diversification in dragonflies and their relatives. BMC Evolutionary Biology 11, 2011, 252.

Dr Hannah Lewis (PDRA 2007-2010): h.lewis@ucl.ac.uk

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Hannah was a post-doc on the BBSRC grant “Understanding the constraints on sex ratio adaptation using artificial neural networks” which was joint with Edinburgh. Hannah went on to a post-doc at St Andrews and is now at UCL, having made the move into evolutionary anthropology. Hannah’s work from this grant packs a lot into a small amount of space, and bizarrely, the bit I have most often talked about is in the supplementary info (Figure S3.1).

Lewis, H. M., Tosh, C. R., O’Keefe, S., Shuker, D. M., West, S. A. and Mayhew, P. J. Constraints on adaptation: explaining deviation from optimal sex ratio using artificial neural networks. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 23, 2010, 1708-1719.

Rob Davis (PhD student 2006-2009): robert.davis@ut.ee

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Rob did his PhD on “Insights into hexapod diversification using the supertree approach”,  funded by a BBSRC studentship, jointly supervised by Sandra Baldauf. His work is all now published, and has been widely cited. Rob got a post-doc on insect life history evolution at the University of Tartu, Estonia. He is still there.

Davis, R. B., Nicholson, D. B., Saunders, E. L. R. and Mayhew, P. J. Fossil gaps inferred from phylogenies alter the apparent nature of diversification in dragonflies and their relatives. BMC Evolutionary Biology 11, 2011, 252.

Davis, R. B., Baldauf, S. L. and Mayhew, P. J. The origins of species richness in the Hymenoptera: insights from a family-level supertree. BMC Evolutionary Biology 10, 2010, 109.

Davis, R. B., Baldauf, S. L., Mayhew, P. J. Many hexapod groups originated earlier and withstood extinction events better than previously realized: inferences from supertrees. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 277, 2010, 1597-1606.

Davis, R. B., Baldauf , S. L. and Mayhew, P. J. Eusociality and the success of the termites: insights from a supertree of the dictyopteran families. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 22, 2009, 1750-1761.

Luke Tilley (PhD student 2005-2010): luke@royensoc.co.uk

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Luke did his PhD on the biological control of the greenhouse shorefly in glasshouses using a native parasitoid, Aphaereta debilitata. He was funded by a NERC CASE studentship, jointly supervised by Pat Croft, Stockbridge Technology Institute.  Luke went onto work for his CASE partner as an Entomological Scientist, and is now Director of Outreach and Development for the Royal Entomological Society. There is a nice biography on him here.

Tilley, L. A. N., Croft, P.  and Mayhew, P. J. Testing a candidate parasitoid in the glasshouse: control efficacy of Aphaereta debilitata (Hymenoptera: Braconidae) against shore fly populations. BioControl 56, 2011, 851-860.

Tilley, L. A. N., Croft, P. and Mayhew, P. J. Control of a glasshouse pest through conservation of its natural enemies? An evaluation of apparently naturally controlled shore fly populations. Biological Control 56, 2011, 22-29.

Sally Fraser (PhD student 2002-2005)

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Sally’s PhD was on “The Ecology of Woodland Parasitoid Assemblages”, and involved looking at predictors of icheumonid wasp communities in woodland fragments in the Vale of York. Her work was very productive in scientific papers. Sally went on to become an ecological consultant and is now Principal Ecologist at Jacobs.

Mayhew, P. J., Dytham, C., Shaw, M. R. and Fraser S. E. M. Collections of ichneumonid wasps (Subfamilies Diacritinae, Diplazontinae, Pimplinae, and Poemeniinae) from woodlands near York and their implications for conservation planning. The Naturalist 134, 2009, 3-24.

Fraser, S. E. M., Beresford, A. E., Peters, J., Redhead, J. W., Welch, A. J., Mayhew, P. J., and Dytham, C. Effectiveness of vegetation surrogates for parasitoid wasps in reserve selection. Conservation Biology 23, 2009, 142-150.

Fraser, S. E. M., Dytham, C., Mayhew, P. J., Mouillot, D., Anderson B. J., Community structure in ichneumonid parasitoids at different spatial scales. Oecologia, 157, 2008, 521-530.

Fraser, S. E. M., Dytham, C., Mayhew, P. J. Patterns in the abundance and distribution of ichneumonid parasitoids within and across habitat patches. Ecological Entomology 33, 2008, 473-483.

Fraser, S. E. M., Dytham, C., Mayhew, P. J. The effectiveness and optimal use of Malaise traps for monitoring parasitoid wasps. Insect Conservation and Diversity 1, 2008, 22-31.

Fraser, S. E. M., Dytham, C, and Mayhew, P. J. Determinants of parasitoid abundance and diversity in woodland habitats. Journal of Applied Ecology 44, 2007, 352-361.

Ruth Traynor (PhD student 2000-2004)

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Ruth conducted comparative studies of parasitoid wasp life histories, including the construction of a novel dataset on ichneumonoids. She then left to train to become a secondary school teacher and was based at Driffield school, and now works as an administrator at York St John University.

Ruth Traynor (2004), Life history evolution in the parasitoid Hymenoptera. PhD thesis, University of York, UK.

Traynor, R. E. and Mayhew, P. J. A comparative study of body size and clutch size across the parasitoid Hymenoptera. Oikos, 109, 2005, 305-316.

Traynor, R. E. and Mayhew, P. J. Host range in solitary versus gregarious parasitoids: a laboratory experiment. Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata, 117, 2005, 41-49

Her ichneumonoid work also features in this review:

Mayhew P. J. Comparing parasitoid life histories. Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata 159, 2016, 147-162.

John Pexton (PhD student 1999-2003).

John’s thesis was on the evolution of gregarious development in parasitoid wasps, and involved both lab and theoretical work. John went on to a post-doc in Paul Ode’s lab, then in Fargo, North Dakota.

Thorne, A. D., Pexton, J. J., Dytham, C. and Mayhew, P. J. Small body size in an insect shifts development, prior to adult eclosion, towards early reproduction. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, Series B, 273, 2006, 1099-1103.

Pexton, J. J. and Mayhew, P. J. Clutch size adjustment, information use and the evolution of gregarious development in parasitoid wasps. Behavioural Ecology and Sociobiology, 58, 2005, 99-110.

Pexton,  J. J. and Mayhew, P. J. Competitive interactions between parasitoid larvae and the evolution of gregarious development. Oecologia, 141, 2004, 179-190.

Pexton, J. J, Rankin, D. J., Dytham, C. & Mayhew, P. J. Asymmetric larval mobility and the evolutionary transition from siblicide to nonsiblicidal behaviour in parasitoid wasps. Behavioral Ecology, 14, 2003, 182-193.

Pexton, J. J. and Mayhew, P. J. Siblicide and life history evolution in parasitoids. Behavioral Ecology, 13, 2002, 690-695.

Pexton, J. J. and Mayhew, P. J. Immobility: the key to family harmony? Trends in Ecology and Evolution, 16, 2001, 7-9

Significant Others:

Undergraduates contributing to papers:

Dan Rankin: Dan’s undergraduate project was the basis of this paper in Behavioral Ecology in 2003.

Ashley Thorne: Ashley was a visiting student from the United States, and her project data was included in this paper in Proceedings B in 2006.

Gareth Jenkins: Gareth’s undergraduate project was the basis of the 2008 paper in Proceedings B.

Christina Smart: Christina’s undergraduate project work on ichneumonoid sex ratios was the basis of this paper in 2009

Emily Saunders: Emily’s undergraduate project work contributed to this paper on Odonata evolution in 2010.

Tallulah Gullett: Tallulah’s undergraduate project work contributed towards our 2016 paper on Dark Bordered Beauty.

Sam Jones: Sam’s undergraduate project on stream invertebrates in the North York Moors was published in Inland Waters in 2017.

Masters students contributing to papers:

Monika Boehm: Monika’s masters project on the latitudinal richness gradient in primates formed the basis of this paper in 2005 in BJLS.

Alison Beresford, Jenny Peters, John Redhead, Alastair Welch all did a group project on parasitoid habitat conservation which was published in Conservation Biology in 2009.

Sinead Barrett: Sinead’s masters project  covered the spatial analysis which contributed to our 2016 paper on Dark Bordered Beauty.

Visiting researchers:

Margarete de Macedo from UFRJ in Brazil visited for six months in 2012-13 and we co-wrote three parasitoid ecology papers, respectively in Behavioral Processes, Journal of Insect Behavior, and Ent. Exp. et Appl.

 

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