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 Stephen  Beckett

Stephen Beckett

 Laver Building 710


Laver Building, University of Exeter, North Park Road, Exeter, EX4 4QE, UK

I am currently researching the ecology and evolution of marine microbial systems, in particular the interactions and coevolution of bacteria and their viruses (aka. phage). I am interested about how local interactions and mechanisms can lead to global patterns. I use mathematical and computational tools guided by ecological principles to guide my work with the Earth System Science group. Before coming to Exeter I investigated the role of pheromone signalling for foraging pharaoh‘s ants (monomorium pharaonis), which utilise attractive and repellent pheromones. I also had an intern placement working with the Computational Science group at Microsoft Research on leaf longevity models in defining global leaf phenology biogeographic patterns. For more details about my research:

Broad research specialisms:

  • Mathematical ecology
  • Computational ecology
  • Theoretical ecology


MRes Mathematics in the Living Environment, University of York
BSc Geography and Mathematics, University of Leeds


Research interests

Project Title: Modelling evolutionary and ecological processes in the marine microbial ecosystem

Supervisors: Dr. Hywel Williams

Funding Body: RKT/College Funded

Project Description:

The need to understand the role and functioning of microbial communities is becoming increasingly important in both environmental and industrial contexts as the potential to study them through physical and computational methods has improved. Microbial communities are the most abundant and diverse biological replicators on Earth. Particularly understanding the coevolution of PBIN's (phage bacterial interaction networks) could provide useful information for studying phage therapy or marine carbon cycling. Using a combination of dynamical models and network theory I hope to investigate how PBIN's coevolve in an ecological and evolutionary framework.


S. J. Beckett, H. T. P. Williams. (2013). Coevolutionary diversification creates nested-modular structure in phage-bacteria interaction networks. submitted.


S.J. Beckett. 2013. Coevolved nestedness and modularity in model phage-bacteria infection networks. Talk presented at Mathematical Models in Ecology and Evolution(York).

S. J. Beckett, H. T. P. Williams. (2013). Coevolved nestedness and modularity in phage-bacteria infection networks. figshare. Poster presented at Modelling Biological Evolution(Leicester), Cambridge Networks Day(Cambridge) and Uncertainty in Interaction Networks(Bath).

S. J. Beckett, H. T. P. Williams. (2012). Towards trait-based models for aquatic virology. figshare. Poster presented at Viruses of Microbes(Brussels).

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