Contact Details

Telephone: +44 (0)1224 274551
Email: lesleylancaster@abdn.ac.uk
Personal website:




PhD, University of California Santa Cruz, 2008. Dissertation title: Maternal Effects as Adaptations for Organizing Alternative Social and Antipredator Strategies.

Postdoctoral Fellow, National Center for Ecological Ananlysis and Synthesis (NCEAS), 2009-2012. Project title: Macroevolutionary causes of regional and habitat-based biodiversity gradients.

Postdoctoral associate, Lund University, 2012-2013. Project title: Adaptation at range limits in Ischnura elegans.

Lecturer, University of Aberdeen, 2013-

Research Interests

My research focuses on evolution under climate change, and evolutionary processes associated with geographic range limits. I am interested in how social and behavioral factors interact with changing ecological conditions to faciliate or hinder evolutionary change, and I am also investigating macroevolutionary/phylogenetic processes associated with geographic range shifts and habitat shifts. Finally, I am interested in the formation and maintenance of Mediterranean biomes.

Current Research

Recent work focuses on niche evolution and population- and community-level processes associated with climate change and invasions. My current study systems include Scottish damselflies (Odonata), experimental evolution in seed beetles (Callosobruchus maculatus), and woodland arthropods across Great Britain. 

See the Lancaster Lab website for more information and opportunities to join the lab: http://lancasterlab.weebly.com


Erik Svensson (Lund University, Sweden), Barry Sinervo (UC Santa Cruz, USA), Bengt Hansson (Lund University, Sweden), Kathleen Kay (UC Santa Cruz, USA), Andrew McAdam (University of Guelph, Canada), Emma Goldberg (University of Minnesota, USA).

Research Grants

2016 - Royal Society research grant, "Biotic consequences of environmental thermal anomalies: an experimental approach using dams." £15000.

2015 - NERC iCASE studentship award, "Native biodiversity in human-impacted habitats: Applying NGS technology to arthropod assemblages in semi-natural and plantation oak woodlands.” £82000.00

2014 - NERC NBAF Pilot sequencing award, "Migration, fragmentation, and adaptation: Evolutionary dynamics of altitudinal range expansions." £6000.

Teaching Responsibilities

I coordinate Introduction to Ecological Field Methods in Northern Scotland, a field course for MSc stidents in Ecology and Environmental Sustainability, and Behavioural Biology, a 3rd-year course focusing on the ecology and evolution of animal behaviour.

My teaching philosophy at the undergraduate level is to encourage critical assessment of central topics during extensive interactive class discussions and in-class activities. Rather than rewarding recall or punctuality, I expect to reward students who broaden their understanding of course material with wider reading of the primary literature and applying critical thought to what they have read.

At the masters level, I believe strongly in learning while doing, and provide students opportunities to learn from the real challenges encountered during field work in the sometimes challenging but always spectacular conditions of Scotland's north coast.

Admin Responsibilities

Self-assessment team, School of Biological Sciences bid for AthenaSWAN award

Image result for athena swan


See Google scholar citations profile for full publcation list and citation metrics.

Selected journal contributions:

Lancaster, L.T. (2016) Widespread range expansions shape latitudinal variation in insect thermal limits. Nature Climate Change. DOI: 10.1038/nclimate2945.

Lancaster, L.T., Dudaniec, R.Y., Chauhan, P., Wellenreuther, M., Svensson, E., & Hansson, B. (2016) Gene expression under thermal stress varies across a geographic range expansion front. Molecular Ecology. DOI: 10.1111/mec.13548.

Lancaster, L.T., Dudaniec, R.Y., Hansson, B., & Svensson, E.I. (2015) Latitudinal shift in thermal niche breadth results from thermal release during a climate-medaited range expansion. Journal of Biogeography 42: 1953-1963.

Lancaster, L.T., McAdam, A.G., Hipsley, C.A., & Sinervo, B.R. (2014) Frequency-dependent and correlational selection pressures have conflicting consequences for assortative mating in a color-polymorphic lizard, Uta stansburianaAmerican Naturalist 184: 188-197.

Lancaster, L.T. & Kay, K.M. (2013) Origin and Diversification of the California Flora: Re- examining classic hypotheses with molecular phylogenies. Evolution 67: 1041-1054.

Goldberg, E.E. Lancaster, L.T., & Ree, R.H. (2011) Phylogenetic Inference of Reciprocal Effects between Geographic Range Evolution and Diversification. Systematic Biology 60:451-465.

Lancaster, L.T. (2010) Molecular evolutionary rates predict both extinction and speciation in temperate angiosperm lineages. BMC Evolutionary Biology 10:162.

Lancaster, L.T., McAdam, A.G., & Sinervo, B. (2010) Maternal adjustment of egg size organizes alternative escape behaviors, promoting adaptive phenotypic integration. Evolution 64: 1607-1621.

Lancaster, L.T., Hipsley, C.A., & Sinervo, B.R. (2009) Female choice for optimal combinations of multiple male display traits increases offspring survival. Behavioral Ecology 20: 993-999.

Lancaster, L.T., Hazard, L.C., Clobert, J., & Sinervo, B.R. (2008) Corticosterone manipulation reveals differences in hierarchical organization of multi-dimensional reproductive trade-offs in r-strategist and K-strategist females. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 21: 556-565.

Sinervo, B., Clobert, J., Miles, D.B., McAdam, A., & Lancaster, L. (2008) The role of pleiotropy versus signaller-receiver gene epistasis in life history trade-offs: dissecting the genomic architecture of organismal design in social systems. Heredity 101: 197-211.

Mills, S.C., Hazard, L., Lancaster, L., Mappes, T., Miles, D., Oksanen, T.A., & Sinervo, B. (2008) Gonadotropin hormone modulation of testosterone, immune function, performance and behavioral tradeoffs among male morphs of the lizard, Uta stansburiana. American Naturalist. 171: 339-357.

Lancaster, L.T., McAdam, A.G., Wingfield, J.C., & Sinervo, B. (2007) Adaptive social and maternal induction of antipredator dorsal patterns in a lizard with alternative social strategies. Ecology Letters 10: 798-808. (Cover article)

Sinervo, B., Chaine, A., Clobert, J., Calsbeek, R., McAdam, A., Hazard, H., Lancaster, L., Alonzo, S., Corrigan, G., & M. Hochberg. (2006) Self-recognition, color signals and cycles of greenbeard mutualism and transient altruism. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA. 102: 7372-7377.

Book chapters:

Lancaster, L.T. (2015) Maternal and genetic effects on escape: a prospective review. In: Escaping from predators: An integrative view of escape decisions. Cooper, W. and Blumstein, D., eds. Cambridge: Cambridge UP.

Lancaster, L.T. & Sinervo, B. (2011) Epistatic social and endocrine networks and the evolution of life history trade-offs and plasticity. In: Molecular Mechanisms of Life history EvolutionThe Genetics and Physiology of Life History Traits and Trade-Offs. Flatt, T. & Heyland, A., eds. Oxford: Oxford U.P. 329-348.

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