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Dr Karl Wotton

Dr Karl Wotton

Senior Lecturer and Royal Society University Research Fellow

 Stella Turk Building B046-121

 

University of Exeter, Penryn Campus, Penryn, TR10 9FE

 Office hours:

My office hours are 14:00-15:00 on Mondays and Wednesdays.

Overview

My research focuses on animal migration and its ecological consequences. I am particularly interested in the drivers of variation in migrant numbers and species though migration hotspots and the genetic basis of traits found in migratory organisms. If you are interested in PhD or postdoc opportunities, or would like any further information, then please get in touch.

Hoverfly migration in the Pyrenees

Qualifications

2007 PhD Evolutionary Developmental Biology, University of Oxford
2002 BSc Molecular Genetics and Biotechnology, University of Sussex

Career

2008-2015 Postdoctoral researcher, EMBL/CRG Research Unit in Systems Biology, Spain
2007-2008 Postdoctoral researcher, King's College London

Links

Research group links

Research

Research interests

Our research focuses on spectacular long-distance migrations of insects and investigates how these tiny organisms move over vast distances and the ecological consequences of these movements.

Research projects

Long-term monitoring and comparative analysis of migratory insect populations. We monitor insect movement through migration hotspots, including high mountain passes, islands and coastal areas. We have developed a number of methods to quantify the huge numbers of individuals involved and our emerging long-term datasets are used to investigate how environmental and geographic variation influences migrant numbers and species assemblages. We use our field sites to investigate a number of interactions between co-migrants and between migrants and resident species (predation, mutualisms, disease etc) in order to understand how these mobile ecosystems function.

Orientation and energetics in migratory hoverflies. Over 4 billion migratory hoverflies move over Britain each year. These species enter in spring, reproduce through summer and the subsequent generations leave in autumn, flying south to the Mediterranean basin. To achieve this, hoverflies may cover hundreds of kilometres in a single day and thousands of kilometres over the entire period. Yet we do not understand how they know when to leave, which way to head or how they power their journeys. To investigate these questions, we use state-of-the-art flight recording technology including flight-simulators, flight-mills and vertical-looking radar to investigate compass navigation and flight capabilities of migratory hoverflies: see here and here.

Environmental induction and genetic control of migration. We utilise transcriptomics and comparative genomics to identify the molecular determinants of migration in insects. In particular, this research aims to move our understanding of the genetics of migration from correlative studies, which identify genes potentially involved in migration, to a mechanistic understanding of how these factors actually function.

Hoverflies as dual ecosystem services providers ‘pollinators+’. Hoverflies visit many of the major global food crops worth around US$300 billion per year to the world economy. In addition, they provide ecosystem functions not seen in bees: crop protection from pests, recycling of organic matter and long-distance pollen transfer. We investigate a number of questions related to the ecological utilisation of hoverflies to improve agriculture: see here.

Publications

Key publications | Publications by category | Publications by year

Key publications


Gao B, Wotton KR, Hawkes WLS, Menz MHM, Reynolds DR, Zhai B-P, Hu G, Chapman JW (2020). Adaptive strategies of high-flying migratory hoverflies in response to wind currents. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 287(1928), 20200406-20200406. Abstract.
Doyle T, Hawkes WLS, Massy R, Powney GD, Menz MHM, Wotton KR (2020). Pollination by hoverflies in the Anthropocene. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 287(1927), 20200508-20200508. Abstract.
Wotton KR, Boya G, Menz M, Morris R, Ball S, Lim K, Reynolds D, Hu G, Chapman J (2019). Mass Seasonal Migrations of Hoverflies Provide Extensive Pollination and Crop Protection Services. Current Biology Full text.
Menz MHM, Reynolds DR, Gao B, Hu G, Chapman JW, Wotton KR (2019). Mechanisms and Consequences of Partial Migration in Insects. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution, 7 Full text.
Menz M, Brown B, Wotton KR (2019). Quantification of migrant hoverfly movements (Diptera: Syrphidae) on the West Coast of North America. Royal Society Open Science, 6 Full text.
Wotton KR, Jiménez-Guri E, Jaeger J (2015). Maternal co-ordinate gene regulation and axis polarity in the scuttle fly Megaselia abdita. PLoS Genet, 11(3). Abstract.  Author URL.  Full text.

Publications by category


Journal articles

Gao B, Wotton KR, Hawkes WLS, Menz MHM, Reynolds DR, Zhai B-P, Hu G, Chapman JW (2020). Adaptive strategies of high-flying migratory hoverflies in response to wind currents. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 287(1928), 20200406-20200406. Abstract.
Doyle T, Hawkes WLS, Massy R, Powney GD, Menz MHM, Wotton KR (2020). Pollination by hoverflies in the Anthropocene. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 287(1927), 20200508-20200508. Abstract.
Wotton KR, Boya G, Menz M, Morris R, Ball S, Lim K, Reynolds D, Hu G, Chapman J (2019). Mass Seasonal Migrations of Hoverflies Provide Extensive Pollination and Crop Protection Services. Current Biology Full text.
Menz MHM, Reynolds DR, Gao B, Hu G, Chapman JW, Wotton KR (2019). Mechanisms and Consequences of Partial Migration in Insects. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution, 7 Full text.
Menz M, Brown B, Wotton KR (2019). Quantification of migrant hoverfly movements (Diptera: Syrphidae) on the West Coast of North America. Royal Society Open Science, 6 Full text.
Verd B, Clark E, Wotton K, Janssens H, Jimenez-Guri E, Crombach A, Jaeger J (2018). A damped oscillator imposes temporal order on posterior gap gene expression in Drosophila. PLoS Biology Full text.
Jimenez-Guri E, Wotton KR, Jaeger J (2018). tarsal-less is expressed as a gap gene but has no gap gene phenotype in the moth midge Clogmia albipunctata. Royal Society Open Science Full text.
Wotton KR, Alcaine-Colet A, Jaeger J, Jiménez-Guri E (2017). Non-canonical dorsoventral patterning in the moth midge Clogmia albipunctata. EvoDevo, 20178:20 Full text.
Crombach A, Wotton KR, Jiménez-Guri E, Jaeger J (2016). Gap Gene Regulatory Dynamics Evolve along a Genotype Network. Mol Biol Evol, 33(5), 1293-1307. Abstract.  Author URL.
Wotton KR, Jiménez-Guri E, Crombach A, Cicin-Sain D, Jaeger J (2015). High-resolution gene expression data from blastoderm embryos of the scuttle fly Megaselia abdita. Sci Data, 2 Abstract.  Author URL.  Full text.
Wotton KR, Schubert FR, Dietrich S (2015). Hypaxial muscle: controversial classification and controversial data?. Results Probl Cell Differ, 56, 25-48. Abstract.  Author URL.
Wotton KR, Jiménez-Guri E, Jaeger J (2015). Maternal co-ordinate gene regulation and axis polarity in the scuttle fly Megaselia abdita. PLoS Genet, 11(3). Abstract.  Author URL.  Full text.
Wotton KR, Jiménez-Guri E, Crombach A, Janssens H, Alcaine-Colet A, Lemke S, Schmidt-Ott U, Jaeger J (2015). Quantitative system drift compensates for altered maternal inputs to the gap gene network of the scuttle fly Megaselia abdita. Elife, 4 Abstract.  Author URL.  Full text.
Alcaine-Colet A, Wotton KR, Jimenez-Guri E (2015). Rearing the scuttle fly Megaselia scalaris (Diptera: Phoridae) on industrial compounds: implications on size and lifespan. PeerJ, 3 Abstract.  Author URL.  Full text.
Cicin-Sain D, Pulido AH, Crombach A, Wotton KR, Jiménez-Guri E, Taly J-F, Roma G, Jaeger J (2015). SuperFly: a comparative database for quantified spatio-temporal gene expression patterns in early dipteran embryos. Nucleic Acids Res, 43(Database issue), D751-D755. Abstract.  Author URL.  Full text.
Jiménez-Guri E, Wotton KR, Gavilán B, Jaeger J (2014). A staging scheme for the development of the moth midge Clogmia albipunctata. PLoS One, 9(1). Abstract.  Author URL.  Full text.
Wotton KR, Jiménez-Guri E, García Matheu B, Jaeger J (2014). A staging scheme for the development of the scuttle fly Megaselia abdita. PLoS One, 9(1). Abstract.  Author URL.  Full text.
Lours-Calet C, Alvares LE, El-Hanfy AS, Gandesha S, Walters EH, Sobreira DR, Wotton KR, Jorge EC, Lawson JA, Kelsey Lewis A, et al (2014). Evolutionarily conserved morphogenetic movements at the vertebrate head-trunk interface coordinate the transport and assembly of hypopharyngeal structures. Dev Biol, 390(2), 231-246. Abstract.  Author URL.
Wotton KR (2014). Heterochronic shifts in germband movements contribute to the rapid embryonic development of the coffin fly Megaselia scalaris. Arthropod Struct Dev, 43(6), 589-594. Abstract.  Author URL.
Fernández-Jaén A, Suela J, Fernández-Mayoralas DM, Fernández-Perrone AL, Wotton KR, Dietrich S, Castellanos MDC, Cigudosa JC, Calleja-Pérez B, López-Martín S, et al (2014). Microduplication 10q24.31 in a Spanish girl with scoliosis and myopathy: the critical role of LBX. Am J Med Genet A, 164A(8), 2074-2078. Abstract.  Author URL.
Jiménez-Guri E, Huerta-Cepas J, Cozzuto L, Wotton KR, Kang H, Himmelbauer H, Roma G, Gabaldón T, Jaeger J (2013). Comparative transcriptomics of early dipteran development. BMC Genomics, 14 Abstract.  Author URL.  Full text.
Wotton KR, Alcaine Colet A, Jaeger J, Jimenez-Guri E (2013). Evolution and expression of BMP genes in flies. Dev Genes Evol, 223(5), 335-340. Abstract.  Author URL.  Full text.
Janssens H, Crombach A, Wotton KR, Cicin-Sain D, Surkova S, Lim CL, Samsonova M, Akam M, Jaeger J (2013). Lack of tailless leads to an increase in expression variability in Drosophila embryos. Dev Biol, 377(1), 305-317. Abstract.  Author URL.
Crombach A, Wotton KR, Cicin-Sain D, Ashyraliyev M, Jaeger J (2012). Efficient reverse-engineering of a developmental gene regulatory network. PLoS Comput Biol, 8(7). Abstract.  Author URL.  Full text.
Crombach A, Cicin-Sain D, Wotton KR, Jaeger J (2012). Medium-throughput processing of whole mount in situ hybridisation experiments into gene expression domains. PLoS One, 7(9). Abstract.  Author URL.  Full text.
Wotton KR, Shimeld SM (2011). Analysis of lamprey clustered Fox genes: insight into Fox gene evolution and expression in vertebrates. Gene, 489(1), 30-40. Abstract.  Author URL.
Wotton KR, Weierud FK, Juárez-Morales JL, Alvares LE, Dietrich S, Lewis KE (2009). Conservation of gene linkage in dispersed vertebrate NK homeobox clusters. Dev Genes Evol, 219(9-10), 481-496. Abstract.  Author URL.
Wotton KR, Weierud FK, Dietrich S, Lewis KE (2008). Comparative genomics of Lbx loci reveals conservation of identical Lbx ohnologs in bony vertebrates. BMC Evol Biol, 8 Abstract.  Author URL.  Full text.
Wotton KR, Mazet F, Shimeld SM (2008). Expression of FoxC, FoxF, FoxL1, and FoxQ1 genes in the dogfish Scyliorhinus canicula defines ancient and derived roles for Fox genes in vertebrate development. Dev Dyn, 237(6), 1590-1603. Abstract.  Author URL.
Wotton KR, French KEM, Shimeld SM (2007). The developmental expression of foxl2 in the dogfish Scyliorhinus canicula. Gene Expr Patterns, 7(7), 793-797. Abstract.  Author URL.  Full text.
Wotton KR, Shimeld SM (2006). Comparative genomics of vertebrate Fox cluster loci. BMC Genomics, 7 Abstract.  Author URL.  Full text.

Conferences

Wotton KR, Mazet F, Shimeld SM (2005). Fox gene duplication in vertebrate evolution.  Author URL.

Publications by year


2020

Gao B, Wotton KR, Hawkes WLS, Menz MHM, Reynolds DR, Zhai B-P, Hu G, Chapman JW (2020). Adaptive strategies of high-flying migratory hoverflies in response to wind currents. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 287(1928), 20200406-20200406. Abstract.
Doyle T, Hawkes WLS, Massy R, Powney GD, Menz MHM, Wotton KR (2020). Pollination by hoverflies in the Anthropocene. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 287(1927), 20200508-20200508. Abstract.

2019

Wotton KR, Boya G, Menz M, Morris R, Ball S, Lim K, Reynolds D, Hu G, Chapman J (2019). Mass Seasonal Migrations of Hoverflies Provide Extensive Pollination and Crop Protection Services. Current Biology Full text.
Menz MHM, Reynolds DR, Gao B, Hu G, Chapman JW, Wotton KR (2019). Mechanisms and Consequences of Partial Migration in Insects. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution, 7 Full text.
Menz M, Brown B, Wotton KR (2019). Quantification of migrant hoverfly movements (Diptera: Syrphidae) on the West Coast of North America. Royal Society Open Science, 6 Full text.

2018

Verd B, Clark E, Wotton K, Janssens H, Jimenez-Guri E, Crombach A, Jaeger J (2018). A damped oscillator imposes temporal order on posterior gap gene expression in Drosophila. PLoS Biology Full text.
Jimenez-Guri E, Wotton KR, Jaeger J (2018). tarsal-less is expressed as a gap gene but has no gap gene phenotype in the moth midge Clogmia albipunctata. Royal Society Open Science Full text.

2017

Wotton KR, Alcaine-Colet A, Jaeger J, Jiménez-Guri E (2017). Non-canonical dorsoventral patterning in the moth midge Clogmia albipunctata. EvoDevo, 20178:20 Full text.

2016

Crombach A, Wotton KR, Jiménez-Guri E, Jaeger J (2016). Gap Gene Regulatory Dynamics Evolve along a Genotype Network. Mol Biol Evol, 33(5), 1293-1307. Abstract.  Author URL.

2015

Wotton KR, Jiménez-Guri E, Crombach A, Cicin-Sain D, Jaeger J (2015). High-resolution gene expression data from blastoderm embryos of the scuttle fly Megaselia abdita. Sci Data, 2 Abstract.  Author URL.  Full text.
Wotton KR, Schubert FR, Dietrich S (2015). Hypaxial muscle: controversial classification and controversial data?. Results Probl Cell Differ, 56, 25-48. Abstract.  Author URL.
Wotton KR, Jiménez-Guri E, Jaeger J (2015). Maternal co-ordinate gene regulation and axis polarity in the scuttle fly Megaselia abdita. PLoS Genet, 11(3). Abstract.  Author URL.  Full text.
Wotton KR, Jiménez-Guri E, Crombach A, Janssens H, Alcaine-Colet A, Lemke S, Schmidt-Ott U, Jaeger J (2015). Quantitative system drift compensates for altered maternal inputs to the gap gene network of the scuttle fly Megaselia abdita. Elife, 4 Abstract.  Author URL.  Full text.
Alcaine-Colet A, Wotton KR, Jimenez-Guri E (2015). Rearing the scuttle fly Megaselia scalaris (Diptera: Phoridae) on industrial compounds: implications on size and lifespan. PeerJ, 3 Abstract.  Author URL.  Full text.
Cicin-Sain D, Pulido AH, Crombach A, Wotton KR, Jiménez-Guri E, Taly J-F, Roma G, Jaeger J (2015). SuperFly: a comparative database for quantified spatio-temporal gene expression patterns in early dipteran embryos. Nucleic Acids Res, 43(Database issue), D751-D755. Abstract.  Author URL.  Full text.

2014

Jiménez-Guri E, Wotton KR, Gavilán B, Jaeger J (2014). A staging scheme for the development of the moth midge Clogmia albipunctata. PLoS One, 9(1). Abstract.  Author URL.  Full text.
Wotton KR, Jiménez-Guri E, García Matheu B, Jaeger J (2014). A staging scheme for the development of the scuttle fly Megaselia abdita. PLoS One, 9(1). Abstract.  Author URL.  Full text.
Lours-Calet C, Alvares LE, El-Hanfy AS, Gandesha S, Walters EH, Sobreira DR, Wotton KR, Jorge EC, Lawson JA, Kelsey Lewis A, et al (2014). Evolutionarily conserved morphogenetic movements at the vertebrate head-trunk interface coordinate the transport and assembly of hypopharyngeal structures. Dev Biol, 390(2), 231-246. Abstract.  Author URL.
Wotton KR (2014). Heterochronic shifts in germband movements contribute to the rapid embryonic development of the coffin fly Megaselia scalaris. Arthropod Struct Dev, 43(6), 589-594. Abstract.  Author URL.
Fernández-Jaén A, Suela J, Fernández-Mayoralas DM, Fernández-Perrone AL, Wotton KR, Dietrich S, Castellanos MDC, Cigudosa JC, Calleja-Pérez B, López-Martín S, et al (2014). Microduplication 10q24.31 in a Spanish girl with scoliosis and myopathy: the critical role of LBX. Am J Med Genet A, 164A(8), 2074-2078. Abstract.  Author URL.

2013

Jiménez-Guri E, Huerta-Cepas J, Cozzuto L, Wotton KR, Kang H, Himmelbauer H, Roma G, Gabaldón T, Jaeger J (2013). Comparative transcriptomics of early dipteran development. BMC Genomics, 14 Abstract.  Author URL.  Full text.
Wotton KR, Alcaine Colet A, Jaeger J, Jimenez-Guri E (2013). Evolution and expression of BMP genes in flies. Dev Genes Evol, 223(5), 335-340. Abstract.  Author URL.  Full text.
Janssens H, Crombach A, Wotton KR, Cicin-Sain D, Surkova S, Lim CL, Samsonova M, Akam M, Jaeger J (2013). Lack of tailless leads to an increase in expression variability in Drosophila embryos. Dev Biol, 377(1), 305-317. Abstract.  Author URL.

2012

Crombach A, Wotton KR, Cicin-Sain D, Ashyraliyev M, Jaeger J (2012). Efficient reverse-engineering of a developmental gene regulatory network. PLoS Comput Biol, 8(7). Abstract.  Author URL.  Full text.
Crombach A, Cicin-Sain D, Wotton KR, Jaeger J (2012). Medium-throughput processing of whole mount in situ hybridisation experiments into gene expression domains. PLoS One, 7(9). Abstract.  Author URL.  Full text.

2011

Wotton KR, Shimeld SM (2011). Analysis of lamprey clustered Fox genes: insight into Fox gene evolution and expression in vertebrates. Gene, 489(1), 30-40. Abstract.  Author URL.

2009

Wotton KR, Weierud FK, Juárez-Morales JL, Alvares LE, Dietrich S, Lewis KE (2009). Conservation of gene linkage in dispersed vertebrate NK homeobox clusters. Dev Genes Evol, 219(9-10), 481-496. Abstract.  Author URL.

2008

Wotton KR, Weierud FK, Dietrich S, Lewis KE (2008). Comparative genomics of Lbx loci reveals conservation of identical Lbx ohnologs in bony vertebrates. BMC Evol Biol, 8 Abstract.  Author URL.  Full text.
Wotton KR, Mazet F, Shimeld SM (2008). Expression of FoxC, FoxF, FoxL1, and FoxQ1 genes in the dogfish Scyliorhinus canicula defines ancient and derived roles for Fox genes in vertebrate development. Dev Dyn, 237(6), 1590-1603. Abstract.  Author URL.

2007

Wotton KR, French KEM, Shimeld SM (2007). The developmental expression of foxl2 in the dogfish Scyliorhinus canicula. Gene Expr Patterns, 7(7), 793-797. Abstract.  Author URL.  Full text.

2006

Wotton KR, Shimeld SM (2006). Comparative genomics of vertebrate Fox cluster loci. BMC Genomics, 7 Abstract.  Author URL.  Full text.

2005

Wotton KR, Mazet F, Shimeld SM (2005). Fox gene duplication in vertebrate evolution.  Author URL.

Karl_Wotton Details from cache as at 2020-07-07 19:30:20

Refresh publications

External Engagement and Impact

Media Coverage

Will & Ben the Wildlife Men discuss insect migration in their podcast series. Will, a PhD student in the lab, discusses in his calming voice how insects travel long-distances and his life in the field

Coverage of our review of hoverflies as pollinators (2020) from the ScienceX news network

Our contribution to a collection of poetry and interviews from award-winning poet Fiona Benson and sound artists Mair Bosworth and Eliza Lomas called In the Company of Insects (2020): interview about our research with me and Will Hawkes with additional poems from children about hoveflies read at the Eden project.

Coverage in The Guardian (2020) of our research into the migration flyway over Cyrpus.

Coverage of our Current Biology hoverfly migration paper (2019) in Science and The New York Times.

Feature article in Science News covering our work on mass migration


Research funding

2018 Royal Society Research Grant (180047)

2018 NERC GW4+ Doctoral Training Partnership (NE/L002434/1)

2017 Royal Society Enhancement Award (180083)

2016 BBSRC Global Challenges Research Fund. (Co-I)

2016 Royal Society University Research Fellowship (UF150126)

2016 Marie Curie Individual Fellowship (Declined)

2014 -15 -16: Teaching grants from Fundacio Catalunya La Pedrera (Joves i Ciència Evolution and Biodiversity Pyrenees field course)

2014 CRG Research Grant

Teaching

I lead the Pyrenees Field Course (BIO2449) where students can visit our fieldsite and migration hotspot on the Spanish/French border. I also lecture on the genetics and physiology of migrants on the Animal Migration module (BIO3421). 

Modules

2019/20


Supervision / Group

Postgraduate researchers

  • Amy Hall
  • William Hawkes
  • Emma Lane
  • Richard Massy

Research Technicians

  • Toby Doyle

Alumni

  • Daniel Osmond

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