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Welcome to the personal homepage of Christopher Hassall, Lecturer in the Faculty of Biological Sciences at the University of Leeds. You can find out more about the lab that I run over at http://hassalllab.weebly.com/. My research focuses on the impacts of environmental change for ecological and evolutionary systems. At present the main themes include:

  • Urban freshwater ecology, with a focus on ponds.
  • The evolution of (imperfect) mimicry.
  • Biomechanics of insect flight, and its relation to macroecology.
  • Global change biology, with a focus on insects.

I am always happy to discuss collaborations or potential funding applications, whether for research grants, PhD studentships or postdoctoral funding. I am particularly interested in interdisciplinary work, involving researchers from the social and psychological sciences. Please do get in touch with me if you are interested. For more information on my research, publications, or teaching, please follow the links in the above menu. From time to time I blog at www.katatrepsis.com and I am also involved with an exciting new third sector consultancy: Impact Metrics.

You can also find me on the following sites:


Lab news

15/02/2016: New paper published: Gio’s first paper from her PhD has been published in the European Journal of Entomology. The paper, entitled “Dragonflies and damselflies (Odonata) in urban ecosystems: A review” describes the body of work that has investigated the consequences of urbanisation for Odonata. You can read the study online for free here.

01/02/2016: Congratulations to Gio Villalobos: Gio won the British Ecological Society Student Poster Prize at the meeting in Edinburgh in December 2015. You can read more here.

01/10/2015: A couple of new PhD students in the lab: A big welcome to Rob Williams who joins the lab after a MSc at Brighton. Rob’s project will focus on the evaluation of connectivity enhancement in north east England using a range of techniques and taxa. I am also a second supervisor for Tom Dalley, who is working with Bill Kunin on pollinator monitoring. Lots of great work to come from both projects over the next few years, I’m sure.

22/08/2015: Paper accepted in the Journal of Tropical Ecology: I have just had a paper accepted with a former MRes student, Dan Nicholson, based on his work on an endangered Honduran gecko. Dan worked tremendously hard on this, and I’m delighted that the effort has paid-off.

07/08/2015: Paper accepted in PeerJ: The (almost certainly) final paper from my British Ecological Society Small Project Grant in 2010 has been accepted in PeerJ.  The paper, “Strong geographical variation in wing aspect ratio of a damselfly, Calopteryx maculata (Odonata: Zygoptera)” describes large-scale variation in odonate wing shape and shows a strong longitudinal pattern in aspect ratio that may be the result of warmer summer temperatures in interior regions of North America.

18/05/2015: Paper accepted in the Journal of Animal Ecology: A paper on reproductive senescence in damselflies that has been five years in the making has now been accepted in JAE. [now available online]

01/05/2015: Paper accepted in Freshwater Science: Our opening review for the special issue of Freshwater Science on “Odonata in applied ecology and conservation” has been accepted. Publication of the issue is likely to be in September 2015.

12/01/2015: New Physiological Society Grant: I am pleased to announce that my application for the David Jordan Teaching Grant from the Physiological Society was successful. The project will investigate the use of blended learning techniques and online resources in physiology education, and is a new collaboration between myself and Dr Dave Lewis.

22/12/2014: Paper accepted in Freshwater Science: Along with a few other odonatologists, I am currently guest-editing an issue of Freshwater Science on “Odonata in applied ecology and conservation”. My contribution to the issue has been formally accepted – I’ll post more soon.

07/11/2014: Paper accepted in Secularism and Nonreligion: Bit of a tangent for me, but this was a sociological paper analysing the composition of communities of speakers at atheist and skeptical conferences. We suggest that the situation in that community is very similar to the situation in academia, where women and minorities are underrepresented. [now available online]

06/10/2014: Paper accepted in Hydrobiologia: A paper that I have co-authored with Sarah Anderson at Carleton University entitled “Stormwater ponds can contain comparable biodiversity to unmanaged wetlands in urban areas” has been accepted for publication in Hydrobiologia. [now available online]

08/10/2014: New Royal Society grant: I have been awarded a £15,000 grant from the Royal Society to use unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to map small-scale variations in temperature across terrestrial-aquatic boundaries.

06/10/2014: Paper accepted in Urban Ecosystems: Andrew Noble’s MSc project, titled “Poor ecological quality of urban ponds in northern England: causes and consequences” has been accepted for publication in Urban Ecosystems. [now available online]

07/08/2014: Paper accepted in PLOS ONE: Along with a graduate student at Carleton University, I have been working on past, present and future patterns of mammal diversity in North America. That paper has now been accepted in PLOS ONE, and should be published any time now. [now available online]

07/07/2014: Project student wins Leeds Naturalist Prize in Zoology: Many congratulations to Nicole, one of my project students this year, on winning the Leeds Naturalist Prize in Zoology for the best zoology project in the year. A well-deserved prize for a great project on urban pond biodiversity.

05/07/2014: New collaboration in entomological education: I’m pleased to announce a small but exciting collaboration with Rich Burkmar at the Field Studies Council’s Tomorrow’s Biodiversity project, funded by the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation, to work on entomological teaching resources. More on this later in the year!

03/06/2014: Paper accepted in PeerJ: I have just had a paper accepted for publication in the open access journal PeerJ. The paper describes some of the work I carried out in 2010/11 on my Government of Canada Fellowship on wing pigmentation in damselflies.  [now available online]

25/04/2014: Marie Curie Fellowship: Delighted to say that my application for a Marie Curie Fellowship has been accepted (worth €230k), and I will be taking time out from teaching in January 2015 for two years to work on the ecology and evolution of mimicry, funded by the EU.

05/04/2014: University Student Education Fellowship: I have been awarded a University Student Education Fellowship (USEF) to support my work developing the student educational experience here at Leeds, involving a 2-3 year project on pedagogy.

30/03/2014: New Paper: Ecology of Urban Ponds: Extensive review article on the Ecology and Biodiversity of Urban Ponds has been published in the new WIREs Water journal. The article is free to view online for the next year (I think).

25/03/2014: Biology Letters paper is featured on New Scientist: paper published with Rich Webster using eye-tracking to look at the mechanisms behind disruptive colouration has been cited by Ed Yong, as providing the “first real insights into how [disruptive colouration] works” in his piece “Invisible: The high-vis trick that blinds the eye“.

21/03/2014: New PhD student starting in October 2014: I’m delighted to announce that Zak Mitchell has accepted an offer of a NERC DTP PhD studentship to come and work with me and Graham Askew on dragonfly biomechanics. Zak brings a lot of great experience working with insect flight and will be starting in October 2014.

13/03/2014: PhD Opportunity: The University of Leeds is offering 110 PhD studentships for start in October 2014 with a deadline of 30th April 2014.  If you are a UK/EU citizen and would like to discuss an application then I would be delighted to hear from you.  Note that the application process involves several steps, so don’t leave it until the last minute. For more details, click here.