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Faculty of Health and Life Sciences

Mr William Hawkes

Mr William Hawkes

PhD student


 Daphne du Maurier 3052


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


My research through my PhD focusses on the phenomenon that is insect migration. Tiny insects such as hoverflies (Syrphidae - but migration is also found in myriad other groups from dragonflies to wasps) travel thousands of kilometres south through Europe. Because their migration is multigenerational throughout the year, the individuals that perform the lengthy autumnal migration do so with no prior route learning from their parents as they have already died. My research, based in the mountainous passes of the Pyrenees and the Alps which concentrate and channel the migrants, will focus on better understanding how these insects fuel their journey, whether there is a genetic basis to the migration, quantifying just how many insects are migrating every year over these passes, and assessing exactly what insect species perform this incredible feat. 

For more information see the following links:

Lab website:

Lab twitter: @genmig

Personal website:

Personal twitter: @Hawkes_Will


2018 BSc Zoology University of Exeter

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Supervision / Group

Postgraduate researchers

  • Karl Wotton

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