Dr Simon Evans

Research Interests

My current research makes use of archived church records for the Swiss canton of Glarus that were collated by Dr Erik Postma. These records describe births, weddings and deaths, allowing us to reconstruct both individual life-histories and a population pedigree. Based on this information, we can apply quantitative genetic analyses to quantify the variation in reproductive success and lifespan within a human population, examine how this can be partitioned into genetic and various environmental sources, and describe how this composition has changed over recent centuries.

My previous work used plumage coloration as a route to understanding the eco-evolutionary forces governing ornament expression. This research was based on long-term study populations of great tits (Oxford, UK) and collared flycatchers (Gotland, Sweden). All individuals in these nestbox-breeding populations are uniquely marked, allowing individuals to be monitored throughout their lives and pedigrees to be constructed that describe the relatedness structure within each population. By combining phenotypic and relatedness information, it is possible to estimate quantitative genetic parameters (e.g., heritability).

Selected Publications

Evans, S. R. & Gustafsson, L. (2017). Climate change upends selection on ornamentation in a wild bird. Nature Ecology & Evolution, 1: 0039 (doi10.1038/s41559-016-0039).

Evans, S. R. (2016). Gauging the purported costs of public data archiving for long-term population studies. PLoS Biology, 14: e1002432 (doi: 10.1371/journal.pbio.1002432).

Evans, S. R. (2015). Sports doping vastly underestimated. Nature, 519: 33 (doi: 10.1038/519033b).

Evans, S. R. & Sheldon, B. C. (2015). Colour in a new light: a spectral perspective on the quantitative genetics of carotenoid coloration. Functional Ecology, 29: 96-103 (doi: 10.1111/1365-2435.12297).

Evans, S. R. Schielzeth, H., Forstmeier, W., Sheldon, B. C. & Husby, A. (2014). Nonautosomal genetic variation in carotenoid coloration. The American Naturalist, 184: 374-383 (doi: 10.1086/677397).

Evans, S. R. & Sheldon, B. C. (2013). Pigments versus structure: examining the mechanism of age-dependent change in a carotenoid-based colour. Journal of Animal Ecology, 82, 418-428 (doi: 10.1111/1365-2656.12008).

Evans, S. R., Summers, A. G. R. & Sheldon, B. C. (2012). Seasonality of carotenoid-based plumage coloration: modelling wavelength-specific change through spectral reconstruction. Journal of Avian Biology, 43: 234-243 (doi: 10.1111/j.1600-048X.2012.05654.x).

Evans, S. R. & Sheldon, B. C. (2012). Quantitative genetics of a carotenoid-based color: heritability and persistent natal environmental effects in the great tit. The American Naturalist, 179: 79-94 (doi: 10.1086/663198).

Evans, S. R., Gustafsson, L. & Sheldon, B. C. (2011). Divergent patterns of age-dependence in ornamental and reproductive traits in the collared flycatcher. Evolution, 65: 1623-1636 (doi: 10.1111/j.1558-5646.2011.01253.x).