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Dr Rebecca Boulton

Dr Rebecca Boulton

Postdoctoral Research Assistant (Field)

 Daphne du Maurier 

 

Daphne du Maurier Building, University of Exeter,  Penryn Campus, Penryn, Cornwall, TR10 9FE, UK

I'm an evolutionary biologist and I'm interested in how and why transitions between different behavioural character states occur. I use a combination of lab and field experiments, molecular approaches and phylogeny based techniques to answer my questions of interest.

Many approaches that seek to understand the evolutionary significance of a certain trait look to extant species that express the trait of interest. For instance, attempting to understand why females engage in multiple matings, or polyandry, involves measuring the benefits of high, compared to low mating rates. Such studies focus on species that display elevated polyandry, which can conflate the reason why it is maintained, from what initiated its evoltion. I addressed this issue during my PhD, where I chose to study the evolutionary causes of female multiple mating in the parasitoid wasp Nasonia vitripennis

In my current post-doc I focus on the evolution of sociality, using a primitively social species, the sweat bee Halictus rubicundus as a model. Unlike more advanced and commonly studied species such as the honeybee, H. rubicundus is in a transitional state in terms of its social behaviour, providing an excellent opportunity to examine the selection pressures that lead to the evolution of sociality, and the genetic mechanisms that drive this change. 

In the future I hope to examine how the evolution of sociality and gregariousness interact with mating systems across the hymenoptera. 

In my spare time I play ultimate frisbee and sometimes do stand up comedy. 

More info on my other projects can be found on my (out of date) website: https://rebeccaaboulton.wordpress.com/about/

 

Qualifications

September 2012 - May 2016: PhD "The evolutionary causes and consequences of polyandry in Nasonia vitripennis". School of Biology, University of St Andrews, Dr David Shuker

September 2010 - September 2011: MRes Primate Biology, Behaviour and Conservation (distinction). Department of Life Sciences, University of Roehampton

September 2007 - June 2010: BSc (Hons) Animal Behaviour (first class). Department of Life Sciences, University of Chester.

Career

January 2018 - Date: ERC Post-doctoral Research Fellow, College of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Exeter, Cornwall Camous.

March 2016 - December 2017 - Post-doctoral Research Associate, Department of Entomology, University of Minnesota.

Research

Research interests

Sexual selection, sex allocation and sex ratios, eusociality and conservation behaviour

Research projects

The evolution of sociality in the sweat bee Halictus rubicundus

Biological control Philornis downsi, an invasive dipteran parasite of Darwin's finches on the Galapagos

The evolution of host specificity and oviposition site in the parasitoid wasps

The inconvenient truth about convenience polyandry

The evolutionary causes and consequences of polyandry in Nasonia vitripennis

Links


Key publications | Publications by category | Publications by year

Publications by category


Journal articles

Cook N, Boulton RA, Green J, Trivedi U, Tauber E, Pannebakker BA, Ritchie MG, Shuker DM (In Press). Differential gene expression is not required for facultative sex allocation: a transcriptome analysis of brain tissue in the parasitoid wasp Nasonia vitripennis. Royal Society Open Science
Boulton RA, Heimpel GE (In Press). Mind the Gap: the evolution of oviposition site and specialization in the parasitoid superfamily Chalcidoidea. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society
Boulton RA, Shuker DM (In Press). Polyandry is context dependent but not convenient in a mostly monandrous wasp. Animal Behaviour Full text.
Martel V, Shuker DM, Boulton RA, Damiens D, Boivin G (In Press). Sex allocation and the evolution of insemination capacity under local mate competition. Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata
Bulgarella M, Quiroga MA, Boulton RA, Ramírez IE, Moon RD, Causton CE, Heimpel GE (2017). Life Cycle and Host Specificity of the Parasitoid Conura annulifera (Hymenoptera: Chalcididae), a Potential Biological Control Agent of Philornis downsi (Diptera: Muscidae) in the Galápagos Islands. Annals of the Entomological Society of America, 110(3), 317-328.
Boulton RA, Cook N, Green J, (Ginny) Greenway EV, Shuker DM (2017). Sperm blocking is not a male adaptation to sperm competition in a parasitoid wasp. Behavioral Ecology, 29(1), 253-263.
Boulton RA, Shuker DM (2015). A sex allocation cost to polyandry in a parasitoid wasp. Biology Letters, 11(6), 20150205-20150205.
Boulton RA, Fletcher AW (2015). Do mothers prefer helpers or smaller litters? Birth sex ratio and litter size adjustment in cotton-top tamarins ( Saguinus oedipus ). Ecology and Evolution, 5(3), 598-606.
Boulton RA, Shuker DM (2015). The costs and benefits of multiple mating in a mostly monandrous wasp. Evolution, 69(4), 939-949. Full text.
Boulton RA, Collins LA, Shuker DM (2014). Beyond sex allocation: the role of mating systems in sexual selection in parasitoid wasps. Biological Reviews, 90(2), 599-627. Full text.
Boulton RA, Ross C (2013). Measuring facial symmetry in the wild: a case study in Olive Baboons (Papio anubis). Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 67(4), 699-707.
Boulton RA, Shuker DM (2013). Polyandry. Current Biology, 23(24), R1080-R1081.

Chapters

Hardy ICW, Boulton RA (2018). Sex allocation, sex ratios and reproduction. In  (Ed) Encyclopedia of Animal Behavior.

Publications by year


In Press

Cook N, Boulton RA, Green J, Trivedi U, Tauber E, Pannebakker BA, Ritchie MG, Shuker DM (In Press). Differential gene expression is not required for facultative sex allocation: a transcriptome analysis of brain tissue in the parasitoid wasp Nasonia vitripennis. Royal Society Open Science
Boulton RA, Heimpel GE (In Press). Mind the Gap: the evolution of oviposition site and specialization in the parasitoid superfamily Chalcidoidea. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society
Boulton RA, Shuker DM (In Press). Polyandry is context dependent but not convenient in a mostly monandrous wasp. Animal Behaviour Full text.
Martel V, Shuker DM, Boulton RA, Damiens D, Boivin G (In Press). Sex allocation and the evolution of insemination capacity under local mate competition. Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata

2018

Hardy ICW, Boulton RA (2018). Sex allocation, sex ratios and reproduction. In  (Ed) Encyclopedia of Animal Behavior.

2017

Bulgarella M, Quiroga MA, Boulton RA, Ramírez IE, Moon RD, Causton CE, Heimpel GE (2017). Life Cycle and Host Specificity of the Parasitoid Conura annulifera (Hymenoptera: Chalcididae), a Potential Biological Control Agent of Philornis downsi (Diptera: Muscidae) in the Galápagos Islands. Annals of the Entomological Society of America, 110(3), 317-328.
Boulton RA, Cook N, Green J, (Ginny) Greenway EV, Shuker DM (2017). Sperm blocking is not a male adaptation to sperm competition in a parasitoid wasp. Behavioral Ecology, 29(1), 253-263.

2015

Boulton RA, Shuker DM (2015). A sex allocation cost to polyandry in a parasitoid wasp. Biology Letters, 11(6), 20150205-20150205.
Boulton RA, Fletcher AW (2015). Do mothers prefer helpers or smaller litters? Birth sex ratio and litter size adjustment in cotton-top tamarins ( Saguinus oedipus ). Ecology and Evolution, 5(3), 598-606.
Boulton RA, Shuker DM (2015). The costs and benefits of multiple mating in a mostly monandrous wasp. Evolution, 69(4), 939-949. Full text.

2014

Boulton RA, Collins LA, Shuker DM (2014). Beyond sex allocation: the role of mating systems in sexual selection in parasitoid wasps. Biological Reviews, 90(2), 599-627. Full text.

2013

Boulton RA, Ross C (2013). Measuring facial symmetry in the wild: a case study in Olive Baboons (Papio anubis). Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 67(4), 699-707.
Boulton RA, Shuker DM (2013). Polyandry. Current Biology, 23(24), R1080-R1081.

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