Fiona Ingleby

PhD student Fiona Ingleby.

Understanding climate change and the mating behaviour of insects

University of Exeter

University of Exeter PhD student Fiona Ingleby is examining how insects cope with environmental change, specifically focussing on the evolution of the female mate choice.

The female mate choice in insects is responsible for the evolution of some of the most spectacular male characters. It is believed that females rely on noticeable traits to identify the most genetically beneficial male with which to mate. There are concerns that a fluctuating environment could impact on the ability of the female to identify male quality.

The work undertaken by Fiona provides a contribution to the wider field of research looking at the biology and reproductive behaviour of insect pest species. This exploration is essential in analysing the impact of climate change on insects which may affect industries critical to the Cornish economy, such as, the dairy industry.

Fiona’s project is a small part of a much bigger field of research, which is likely to have long-term gains. It is hoped that further development of this project will make it possible for scientists to be able to identify the impacts of pest populations on agricultural industries in Cornwall. This will prove useful in areas such as the reduction of the use of antibiotics and pesticides in farming and could be of interest to medical researchers investigating the transmission of disease from insects.