James Gilbert_portrait pic

Dr James Gilbert

Lecturer in Zoology/ Deputy Programme Leader, Zoology

Faculty of Science and Engineering

School of Environmental Sciences

james.gilbert@hull.ac.uk

01482 465486

James is interested in the evolution of parental care and social behaviour – especially how these crucial animal interactions shape, and are shaped by, animals’ nutritional environments.

In the most spectacularly social or parental species, these behaviours are obligatory, which gives little insight into their evolution.

Instead his work focuses on evolutionary origins – using comparative analyses across groups of social / parental species, and using field and lab experiments.

James completed his PhD on the evolution of parental care at Cambridge, and a Marie Curie Fellowship on social behaviour at the Universities of Sydney and Sussex, before joining Hull in 2015.

 Twitter: @james_gilbert

Research

Research Interests

  • Behavioural ecology

  • Social evolution

  • Parental care evolution

  • Sexual selection

  • Nutritional ecology

Research groups

  • Parental Care Research Cluster, with Isabella Capellini and Lesley Morrell, focusing on macro-ecological patterns in life history and parental care evolution

  • Collaborates with Steve Simpson (University of Sydney) and Laurence Mound (CSIRO, Canberra) on social evolution in socially plastic Acacia thrips

  • Collaborates with Karim Vahed (University of Derby) and Gerlind Lehmann (Humboldt University, Berlin) on sexual selection in katydids

  • Coordinates the Special Interest Group for Insect Data, part of the Royal Entomological Society

  • Wild Ecology & Behaviour Group 

Publications

Santos E S A, Bueno P P, Gilbert J D J, Machado G, 'Macroecology of parental care in arthropods: higher mortality risk leads to higher benefits of offspring protection in tropical climates', Biological Review, doi: 10.1111/brv.12303 (2016)

Field J, Shreeves G, Kennedy M, Stimmler C, Gilbert J D J, Brace S, 'Sex-biased parental care and sexual size dimorphism in a provisioning arthropod', Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 69:12, pp 1897-1906 (2015)

Grinsted L, Bilde T, Gilbert J D J, 'Questioning the evidence for group selection in social spiders', Nature, 524:7566, E1-E3, doi:10.1038/nature14595 (2015)

Gilbert J D J, Manica A, 'Evolution of parental care in insects: a test of current hypotheses', Evolution, 69:5, pp 1255-1270, doi:10.1111/evo.12656 (2015)

Gilbert J D J, 'Thrips domiciles protect against desiccation in an arid environment', Behavioral Ecology, 25:6, pp 1338-1346 (2014)

Full list

Teaching

Programmes taught on (2019)

Modules list

  • Skills for Biologists

  • Behavioural Ecology

  • Topics in Biodiversity and Evolution

  • Reviews in Biology

  • Research projects

  • Concepts in Ecology

  • Insect Biology

Research PhDs

  • Behavioural and nutritional ecology

  • Comparative studies of life history

  • Sexual selection

Current PhD supervisions 

  • Ioannis Dimopoulos (2017-2020)

  • Alex Austin (2015-2018)

  • Catherine Carrick (2014-2017). Co-supervised with Dr Lesley Morrell

 

Teaching awards and accolades

  • Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice (2017)

  • HEA Fellowship (2017)

Professional highlights

Academic qualifications

  • PhD, Cambridge (2007)

External roles

  • Collaborates with Steve Simpson (University of Sydney) and Laurence Mound (CSIRO, Canberra) on social evolution in socially plastic Acacia thrips

  • Collaborates with Karim Vahed (University of Derby) and Gerlind Lehmann (Humboldt University, Berlin) on sexual selection in katydids

  • Coordinates the Special Interest Group for Insect Data, part of the Royal Entomological Society

Professional highlights

Festivals and public events

  • University of Hull coordinator for Pint of Science 2016

  • University of Hull Science Festival 2016

  • Hull Freedom Festival 2015 – Science Corner

  • TEDx Talk

  • Gilbert JDJ. 2014. Crickets help us understand sex.

  • Reddit AMA

Popular science articles

  • Gilbert J D J, 'This Father’s Day, be grateful your dad is a human', The Conversation, June 2015

  • Gilbert J D J, 'Secrets of the orchid mantis revealed – it doesn’t mimic an orchid after all', The Conversation, January, 2015

  • Gilbert J D J, 'From monogamous termites to male-eating spiders, an insect ecologist explains', The Conversation, June, 2014

  • Gilbert J D J, 'Handcuffs, traps and spikes shed light on the sex lives of insects', The Conversation, May, 2014. Republished on iflscience.com, slate.com, arstechnica.com and interviewed on Canada’s CBC Radio Quirks and Quarks programme

  • Gilbert J D J, 'Invertebrates inject a bit of romance during sex – by stabbing each other', The Conversation, March, 2014. Republished on iflscience.com, slate.com, arstechnica.com

  • Gilbert J D J, 'Even among ants, size matters more than shape', The Conversation, Jan 2014

Radio and podcast interviews