Staff Directory

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01522 88 6835
University of Lincoln
Brayford Pool
United Kingdom

About Sheena Cotter

I am an evolutionary ecologist and I'm primarily interested in how interactions between species shape their evolution. My research interests are in the area of physiological and genetic life-history trade-offs; particularly in understanding how organisms evolve to defend themselves against attacks from other organisms and how they trade-off the costs of those defences with life-history traits such as longevity and fecundity. I use a combination of behavioural, physiological, quantitative and molecular genetic approaches to address these questions, using insects as model systems. For more information please see my personal website Please contact me if you are interested in carrying out a PhD in my lab. I'm also happy to discuss potential projects for the Uruguay Scholarship scheme.

Department Responsibilities

I organise the school seminar series I lecture on Evolutionary Ecology, Animal Nutrition and Plant Animal Interactions and teach on residential field courses in Malham and Chile.

Subject Specialism

Evolutionary ecology


  • PG cert Higher Education Teaching — Queen’s University Belfast, 2015
  • PhD Ecology — University of Stirling, 2002
  • BSc Zoology (Hons) — University of Liverpool, 1997


Associate editor for the Journal of Animal Ecology Associate editor for Ecological Entomology

Orcid ID


Research Interests

  • animal behaviour

  • Behavioural Ecology

  • ecological immunology

  • host-parasite interactions

  • insects

  • nutritional ecology

  • Sexual selection

  • social evolution

Research Groups Memberships

Research Projects

  • Host Pathogen interactions as a resource competition problem — awarded £472000 by BBSRC in 2012
  • Individual variation in the costs of molecular parental investment: cooperation, conflict and mutualism in family life — awarded £413000 by NERC in 2011
  • Immune function versus reproduction: the mediation of life history trade-offs in a risky environment — awarded £277000 by NERC in 2010
  • Understanding density-dependent disease resistance in insects — awarded £25000 by NERC in 2008
  • Hormones and Immunity in Insects — awarded £15000 by Royal Society in 2007

Research in the Lincoln Repository

PhD Supervisor

I co-supervise a BBSRC funded PhD student at Lancaster University who is looking at the effects of nutrition on host parasite interactions.

Degree Responsibilities

  • Deputy programme leader - Ecology and Conservation — 2018 to Present

Module Responsibilities

  • Module Coordinator - Animal Nutrition — 2015 to Present
  • Module Coordinator - Plant Animal Interactions — 2016 to Present

Professional Affiliations