Impact of Urbanisation on Warning Colouration

Of all the anthropogenic changes human activities bring, urbanisation is one of the most striking. Not only do they differ in many abiotic factors, such as noise, light, and chemical composition, they also create very different communities and species assemblages than rural habitats. These changes are all likely to impact the effectiveness of anti-predator signalling, including aposematism.

My lab investigates the impact of urbanisation on the expression and effectiveness on warning colouration using a variety of methods including:

Analysis of museum specimens to look for long-term patterns in the appearance of aposematic species, like the six spot burnet moth Zygaena filipendulae.

Model predation experiments to understand how predators in urban areas select on different colour patterns.

Blue and Great tit monitoring to understand how urbanisation affects the foraging behaviour and prey choices of insectivorous birds.