October 2, 2017

Vanessa Cutts

Vanessa Cutts

PhD: Evolutionary dynamics in changing environments: oceanic islands as natural experiments

University of Nottingham
Email Vanessa Cutts


I completed a BSc in Zoology at the University of Reading followed by an MSc in Ecology, Evolution and Conservation at Imperial College. For my masters project I studied an asexual class of microscopic animals: Bdelloid rotifers in an attempt to understand how they have diversified in the absence of sexual reproduction. I would describe myself as an ecologist and evolutionary biologist with a specific interest in mechanisms that promote speciation.

Research Project:

For my PhD project I aim to understand the mechanism by which specialized species evolve using oceanic islands as natural experiments.  I will compare two theories: 1) speciation by niche packing and 2) speciation by ecological isolation.  I will use island data sets to test the ability of these two models to explain existing specialisation.  This project will contribute to our understanding of general biodiversity patterns.


October 2, 2017 2017