Dr Dave Hodgson in the lab

Dr Dave Hodgson in the lab

Dr Dave Hodgson
Associate Dean for Education / Associate Professor of Ecology


Research interests

1. A predictive framework for ecological demography. If we are to predict the impacts of climate change, invasive species and ecological management strategies on natural systems, we need mathematical tools that can cope with 3 critical problems: uncertainty, data quality, and complexity. In collaboration with Stuart Townley, I am engaged in the translation and development of tools that describe the robustness of empirical ecological models. Rather than focus on our own pet models, we should study the predictions of nearby models and transient dynamics. I have developed Daphnia as a model system to study the impacts of ecological disturbances and perturbations on population dynamics. This work has relevance to conservation strategies, invasion dynamics, and evolutionary fitness.

2. Maintenance of diversity in natural systems. Everywhere we look, we are surrounded by spectacular biodiversity. How is this diversity maintained in the face of competition and natural selection? I study mechanisms that help promote and maintain biodiversity, in diverse systems including baculoviruses, wild Brassicas, aphid parasitoids, Daphnia, farmland mammals and insects, and bacterial microcosms. Recent collaboration with Angus Buckling has developed the Pseudomonas model system for the study of relationships between diversity, parasitism and ecosystem functioning.

3. Sex and parasites. I have an enduring fascination with the evolution of sexual diversity and the virulence of parasites. This has lead to various collaborations and the study of male investment in ejaculates, sexual dimorphism in lizards, host-parasite coevolution, facultative parthenogenesis and promiscuity.

4. Statistical methods for modern ecology. I work with ecologists and evolutionary biologists to ensure the use of correct and elegant statistical analyses in empirical research.

Research grants

  • 2011
    Dave Hodgson, Stuart Townley, Hartmutt Logemann (Bath)  EPSRC Standard Grant Nonlinear feedback loops and robustness: Integrating density dependence, uncertainty and environmental stress in modelling biological invasions
  • 2010-2013
    Dave Hodgson. NERC CASE PhD Studentship: Badger demography & Tb transmission
  • 2009
    Dave Hodgson. Natural England: Feasibility of hen harrier reintroductions to England
  • 2009-2012
    Tom Tregenza, Dave Hodgson. Leverhulme Trust. Sexual dimorphism and speciation: alternative outcomes of evolutionary radiation.
  • 2008-2011
    Stuart Bearhop, David Hodgson, Richard Inger & Eileen Rees (WWT). NERC Standard Grant: The consequences of seasonal interactions in migratory birds: from individuals to populations.
  • 2007 UK Energy Research Council
    Social and Ecological impacts of Miscanthus biofuel cropping (with Michael Winter, Dept Politics).
  • 2007 University of Exeter Interdisciplinary Research Network
    Integrative Systems Biology
  • 2007 NERC
    Modelling fishing impacts on the resilience of Caribbean coral reefs. (with Pete Mumby)
  • 2006 NERC
    Predicting the impact of life history perturbations on stage structured population dynamics.
  • 2005 Leverhulme Trust
    Experimental evolution of virulence in a bacteria-bacteriophage interaction.
  • 2005 European Social fund
    Local adaptation of plant-herbivore interactions.
  • 2004 Royal Society Equipment grant
    Climate change and insect fitness.

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