Research in the lab centres on species interactions in an evolutionary and ecological context. We address fundamental questions about how genetics, physiology, behaviour and life history influence the distribution, interaction among and abundance of organisms.

  • We work on predator-prey interactions and predator induced phenotypic plasticity using Daphnia pulex morphological defences as a model organism.
  • We work on algae biotechnology and ecosystem services, focusing on grazer induced defences in algae
  • We work on multiple stressor biology, examining how anthropogenic stress like metals combine with natural stress like predation to shape species traits and population growth.
  • We work on food web biology and the theory of complexity and connectance, tying species interactions to foraging biology.
  • We work on parrots, linking their demography to socioeconomic constraints and trade-offs that influence their management as endangered species.

Funding sources include NERC, BBSRC, Microsoft Research, The British Ecological Society, The Royal Society, The EU Marie Curie Programme, The Nuffield Foundation, and The University of Sheffield.

:: The genetics and physiology of predator induced phenotypic plasticity ::

We examine the genetic, genomic and endocrine basis of predator induced phenotypic plasticity.
  • Predator induced changes in morphology, life history and behaviour
  • The quantitative genetics and evolutionary ecology of phenotypic plasticity
  • The genetics and genomics of phenotypic plasticity
Robinson, M. R., and A. P. Beckerman. 2013. Quantifying multivariate plasticity: genetic variation in resource acquisition drives plasticity in resource allocation to components of life history. Ecology Letters:281-290.

Orsini, L … Beckerman, AP…Frilander. M. (14 authors) 2016. Daphnia magna transcriptome by RNA-Seq across 12 environmental stressors. Scientific Data doi:10.1038/sdata.2016.30.

Lind, M. I., K. Yarlett, J. Reger, M. J. Carter, and A. P. Beckerman. 2015. The alignment between phenotypic plasticity, the major axis of genetic variation and the response to selection. Proceedings of the Royal Society 282: 20151651. http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2015.1651

Beckerman, A. P., J. de Roij, S. R. Dennis, and T. J. Little. 2013. A shared mechanism of defense against predators and parasites: chitin regulation and its implications for life-history theory. Ecology and Evolution 3:5119-5126.

Dennis, S. D., G. A. LeBlanc, and A. P. Beckerman. 2014. Endocrine regulation of predator-induced phenotypic plasticity. Oecologia 176:625–635.

Dennis, S. R., M. J. Carter, W. T. Hentley, and A. P. Beckerman. (2011). Phenotypic convergence along a gradient of predation risk. Proceedings of the Royal Society B-Biological Sciences 278:1687-1969.

Beckerman, A. P., G. M. Rodgers, and S. R. Dennis. (2010). The reaction norm of size and age at maturity under multiple predator risk. Journal of Animal Ecology 79:1069-1076.

Hammill, E., A. Rogers, and A. P. Beckerman. (2008). Costs, benefits and the evolution of inducible defences: a case study with Daphnia pulex. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 21:705-715.

This work is supported the Daphnia Genomics Consortium

:: Algae Biotechnology and Ecosystem Function ::

With Jags Pandhal in Chemical and Biological Engineering, we work to explore the ecological opportunities for solving engineering problems, including mitigation of eutrophication and production of low and high value algae based products.

Russo, D., Beckerman, A.P., Pandhal. J. 2017 Competitive growth experiments with a high-lipid Chlamydomonas reinhardtii mutant strain and its wild-type to predict industrial and ecological risks. AMB Express (Applied and Industrial Biotechnology) 7:10 DOI: 10.1186/s13568-016-0305-x

Roccuzzo, S., Beckerman, A.P. and Pandhal, J. 2016. The use of natural infochemicals for sustainable and efficient harvesting of microalgae for biotechnology: insights from a meta-analysis. Biotechnology Letters 38(12): 1983–1990 doi:  10.1007/s10529-016-2192-2

Russo, D. Beckerman, AP, Couto, N., Pandhal,J. 2016. A metaproteomic analysis of the response of a freshwater microbial community under nutrient enrichment. Frontiers in Microbiology 7 1172 (doi:  10.3389/fmicb.2016.01172)

:: Optimal foraging theory and food web structure ::

In collaboration with Phil Warren at Sheffield and Owen Petchey in Zurich, we explore the role that optimal foraging theory can play in predicting pattern and process in food webs.
  • What determines connectance (the number of interactions) and structure of a food web?
  • How does optimal foraging predict the dynamic consequences of species invasions and extinctions in a food web.
Beckerman, A. P., O. L. Petchey, and P. H. Warren. (2006). Foraging biology predicts food web complexity. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 103:13745-13749.

Petchey, O. L., A. P. Beckerman, J. O. Riede, and P. H. Warren. (2008). Size, foraging, and food web structure. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 105:4191-4196.

Thierry, A., O. L. Petchey, A. P. Beckerman, P. H. Warren, and R. J. Williams. (2011). The consequences of size dependent foraging for food web topology. Oikos 120:493-502.

Petchey, O. L., M. Pontarp, T. M. Massie, S. Kéfi, A. Ozgul, M. Weilenmann, G. M. Palamara, F. Altermatt, B. Matthews, J. M. Levine, D. Z. Childs, B. J. McGill, M. E. Schaepman, P. Spaak, A. P. Beckerman, F. Pennekamp, and I. S. Pearse. 2015. The Ecological Forecast Horizon, and examples of its uses and determinants. Ecology Letters 18: 597–611 DOI: 10.1111/ele.12443

Thierry, A., A. P. Beckerman, P. H. Warren, R. J. Williams, A. J. Cole, and O. L. Petchey. (2011). Adaptive foraging and the rewiring of size-structured food webs following extinctions. Basic and Applied Ecology 12:562-570.

Petchey, O. L., A. P. Beckerman, J. O. Riede, and P. H. Warren. (2011). Fit, efficiency, and biology: some thoughts on judging food web models. Journal of Theoretical Biology 279:169-171.

:: Conservation Biology of Amazon Parrots ::

In cooperation with the World Parrot Trust (CASE partner; Dr. Jamie Gilardi), PhD student Tamora James is building models of the Yellow Shouldered Amazon Parrot Amazona barbadensis demography to assess not only extinction risk and habitat issues, but develop it into a bio-economic model for conservation decision making. We are also working in Malaysia on firefly biodiversity and conservation.

Roberts M.H., Martin R.O., Beckerman A.P. & Williams S.R. 2014. Occupation rates of artificial and restored natural nest cavities by yellow-shouldered Amazons Amazona barbadensis on Bonaire, Caribbean Netherlands. Conservation Evidence, 11, 39-42.

:: Glaciology and Climate Change ::

Andrew is working with Sebastian Mernild on several glaciology projects, using empirical orthogonal function analyses to summarise mass balance changes over long periods of time and large spatial areas, including glaciers in South America and Greenland

Mernild SH, Beckerman AP, Knudsen, NT, Yde JC. 2016. Statistical analysis of spatiotemporal stake mass-balance variability at Greenland’s Mittivakkat Gletscher Arctic, Antarctic and Alpine Research (in press).

Mernild SH, Liston, GE, Hiemstra, C, Beckerman AP, Yde JC, McPhee, J. 2016 The Andes Cordillera. Part IV: Spatiotemporal freshwater runoff distribution to adjacent seas (1979–2014) International Journal of Climatology DOI: 10.1002/joc.4922

Mernild SH, Beckerman AP, Yde JC, Hanna E, Malmros JK, Wilson R, Zemp M. 2015. Mass loss and imbalance of glaciers along the Andes Cordillera to the sub-Antarctic islands Global and Planetary Change 133:109-119.