Professor Stuart Piertney
Professor Stuart Piertney

Professor Stuart Piertney

Chair in Molecular Ecology and Evolution


Research Overview

Research within the Piertney-Lab focuses on the interplay between evolutionary and ecological dynamics in natural populations. From an eco-to-evo perspective, I examine how different ecological, environmental and behavioural processes drive microevolution, adaptation and speciation. Then from an evo-to-eco perspective, I link how genetic diversity affects individual fitness, population dynamics, ecosystem function and population persistence.

Studies have either a gene-centric focus, examining candidate genes of known ecological importance and adaptive significance (e.g. MHC, MC1R, IFN), or exploit next-generation 'omics technologies to gain a more holistic understanding of adaptation and genome-wide responses to environmental and ecological change.


Current Research

  • Piezophilic adaptation in deep-ocean amphipods (NERC).
  • The genomic landscape of speciation and adaptive variation in the intertidal isopod Jaera albifrons (NERC).
  • Emergence, spread and persistence of maine invasive non-native species (with Marine Scotland Science, and South Atlantic Environment Research Institute).
  • Genome-wide responses to demographic perturbation in insular populations of water voles (BBSRC)
  • PolyExESS - Extreme environment simulation system for experimental evolution (NERC).
  • The ecology, evolution and epidemiology of zoonotic pathogens in fragmented multi-host populations (BBSRC).
  • The epigenomic landscape of maternal effects in the soil mite Sancassania berlesei (NERC).


Maria Kamouyiaros - Mitochondrial DNA variation in the invasive tunicate Didemnum vexillum. 

Nathan Loustalot -  Next-generation DNA approaches to biodiversity monitoring during oil and gas decommissioning.

Eleanor Stroud - Causes and consequences of microbiome variation in the fulmar (Fulmarus glacialis).

Anna Wawer -  Immunogenic status of salmonid populations in Scotland.

Amy Guest - Sub tidal ecology of the Falkland Islands – a biogeographical comparison with the Straits of Magellan and the Beagle Channel.


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  • A systematic review of phenotypic responses to between-population outbreeding

    Whitlock, R., Stewart, G. B., Goodman, S. J., Piertney, S. B., Butlin, R. K., Pullin, A. S., Burke, T.
    Environmental Evidence, vol. 2, 13
    Contributions to Journals: Articles
  • Eco-evolutionary dynamics in response to selection on life-history

    Cameron, T. C., O'Sullivan, D., Reynolds, A., Piertney, S. B., Benton, T. G.
    Ecology Letters, vol. 16, no. 6, pp. 754-763
    Contributions to Journals: Articles
  • Individual variation in dispersal associated with phenotype influences fine-scale genetic structure in weasels

    McDevitt, A. D., Oliver, M. K., Piertney, S. B., Szafranska, P. A., Konarzewski, M., Zub, K.
    Conservation Genetics, vol. 14, no. 2, pp. 499-509
    Contributions to Journals: Articles
  • A transcriptomic investigation of handicap models in sexual selection

    Wenzel, M. A., Webster, L. M. I., Paterson, S., Mougeot, F., Martinez-Padilla, J., Piertney, S. B.
    Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, vol. 67, no. 2, pp. 221-234
    Contributions to Journals: Articles
  • Pronounced genetic structure and low genetic diversity in European red-billed chough (Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax) populations

    Wenzel, M. A., Webster, L. M. I., Blanco, G., Burgess, M. D., Kerbiriou, C., Segelbacher, G., Piertney, S. B., Reid, J. M.
    Conservation Genetics, vol. 13, no. 5, pp. 1213-1230
    Contributions to Journals: Articles
  • Disease transmission in an extreme environment: nematode parasites infect reindeer during the Arctic winter

    Carlsson, A. M., Irvine, K. J., Wilson, K., Piertney, S. B., Halvorsen, O., Coulson, S. J., Stien, A., Albon, S. D.
    International Journal for Parasitology, vol. 42, no. 8, pp. 789-795
    Contributions to Journals: Articles
  • Selection maintains MHC diversity through a natural population bottleneck

    Oliver, M. K., Piertney, S. B.
    Molecular Biology and Evolution, vol. 29, no. 7, pp. 1713-1720
    Contributions to Journals: Articles
  • Genetic variation among endangered Irish red grouse (Lagopus lagopus hibernicus) populations: implications for conservation and management

    McMahon, B. J., Johansson, M. P., Piertney, S. B., Buckley, K., Hoglund, J.
    Conservation Genetics, vol. 13, no. 3, pp. 639-647
    Contributions to Journals: Articles
  • Impacts of climate, host and landscape factors on Culicoides species in Scotland

    Purse, B. V., Falconer, D., Sullivan, M. J., Carpenter, S., Mellor, P. S., Piertney, S. B., Mordue (Luntz), A. J., Albon, S., Gunn, G. J., Blackwell, A.
    Medical and Veterinary Entomology, vol. 26, no. 2, pp. 168-177
    Contributions to Journals: Articles
  • Environmental and genetic influences on body mass and resting metabolic rates (RMR) in a natural population of weasel Mustela nivalis

    Zub, K., Piertney, S., Szafranska, P. A., Konarzewski, M.
    Molecular Ecology, vol. 21, no. 5, pp. 1283-1293
    Contributions to Journals: Articles
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Chapters in Books, Reports and Conference Proceedings

Contributions to Journals