The evolution of insect life histories and their effect on diversification

Adam Bakewell


Start Year: 2016, 3rd cohort

Host University: The University of York

Department: Biology

Supervisors: Dr Peter Mayhew (University of York); Prof Rob Freckleton (University of Sheffield); Dr Nick Isaac (CEH)

Academic profile


MSc by Research in Biology: University of Hull, 2015-16
BSc in Biology, 1st Class Hons: University of Hull, 2012-2015

Skills and relevant qualifications

Phylogenetic comparative methods; Bayesian MCMC methods; general statistical analysis in R


ACCE PhD Research Topic

The evolution of insect life histories and their effect on diversification

Despite insects making up over half of all described animal species, most of our knowledge about life history evolution and its effects on diversity comes from vertebrates. In this project we will undertake the first broad assessment of life history evolution across the whole of the insects. We will investigate whether there is a broad pattern of correlated evolution in the life history traits of insects, how they associate with key innovations (e.g. metamorphosis), and their effect on diversification. We will develop a database of insect life history traits and use it with modern phylogenetic comparative methods to reveal patterns of co-variation among life history traits and address key questions such as ‘is the evolution of metamorphosis associated with a grade shift in life history traits?’ and ‘how are insect life history traits related to diversification?’.