The Behavioural Ecology and Conservation Group has been founded in September 2004 when Hans Van Dyck [link personal page] arrived at UCL as a new Faculty member. We are a young research group with a strong interest in both basic and applied ecology and evolution, and particularly in animal behaviour. We like to improve applied conservation work by making use of evolutionary ecological conceptual approaches. On the other hand, our applied work also generates hypotheses to stimulate our basic evolutionary ecological research. A general theme of research in our group is evolutionary change in anthropogenic environments: “changing organisms in changing landscapes”. Why are some species highly successful in anthropogenic landscapes, while many others decline?
The fields covered by our ongoing research projects include behaviour, life history, functional morphology, thermal ecology and landscape ecology. For some projects we also include some eco-physiology, population genetics and quantitative genetics. We aim to provide a stimulating academic environment for young evolutionary ecologists and conservation biologists. We also like to think carefully about conservation policy, and how theory could be put in action (and vice versa!).
Butterflies are our main study system to address ecological, evolutionary and conservation issues, but we also work with grasshoppers and birds. Butterflies and grasshoppers are ectotherms making them interesting models to study thermal adaptation in the field and in the laboratory. For conservation questions, our interest is not limited to single species conservation. More holistic, multi-species approaches that take into account evolution are the real challenge for conservation in rapidly changing environments.