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 Marcus Rhodes

Marcus Rhodes

PhD student

 Environment and Sustainability Institute 


Environment and Sustainability Institute, University of Exeter, Penryn Campus, Penryn, Cornwall, TR10 9FE, UK


I am an ecologist interested in how species respond to environmental change. My research uses a combination of fieldwork and climate modelling to investigate the effects of microclimate on species’ abundance, distribution, and persistence within landscapes. Butterflies are a particular passion of mine, with their ecology and conservation forming a focus for much of my work. I am interested in understanding how butterflies can use microclimate variation in their environment to thermoregulate, and the potential that it may offer to buffer populations against climate extremes.

I study populations of the Silver-studded Blue butterfly (Plebejus argus) across a network of sites created by former mining activity here in Cornwall. These old mining sites provide an extensive network of successionally and topographically diverse habitats for investigating the influences of microclimate. Consequently, I also have a keen interest in the unique biodiversity of these culturally important, post-industrial sites.

I am supervised by Prof Richard ffrench-Constant, Dr Ilya Maclean, Dr Jon Bennie and Dr Adrian Spalding. Funding for my PhD research is provided by the University of Exeter College of Life and Environmental Sciences, Cornwall Butterfly and Moth Society, and Spalding Associates (Environmental) Ltd.


2018 - MRes Ecology, Evolution and Conservation Research, Imperial College London

2017 - BA (Hons) Natural Sciences (Zoology), University of Cambridge




Supervision / Group

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