Prof Loeske Kruuk



Loeske is an evolutionary ecologist with a broad range of interests in how evolution works, especially considering the role of genetics and environment in shaping life history differences between individuals in a population: why is there so much diversity? She did an undergraduate degree in maths, but then realised that she wanted to be a biologist, so did a PhD in population genetics at the University of Edinburgh, UK, finishing in 1997. She then did a postdoc at the Universities of Cambridge and Edinburgh, working on a long-term study of red deer. This project introduced her to the huge potential of long-term studies of wild animal populations to explore a wide range of interesting questions about life history evolution and quantitative genetics, and since then she has been lucky enough to be involved in studies of a variety of species. She started a Royal Society University Research Fellowship at Edinburgh in 2000, and became Professor of Evolutionary Ecology there in 2009. In 2012, She took up an Australian Research Council Future Fellowship at ANU. She currently is an editor for Proceedings of the Royal Society B, and has previously been on the editorial boards of Evolution, Journal of Evolutionary Biology, Genetics and Proc B.


Research interests

Loeske is an evolutionary ecologist, with a particular interest in biological diversity at the microevolutionary level, within a population. One of her main research interests at the moment is the effect of climate change on evolutionary processes in wild populations, but she is also interested generally in inheritance, natural and sexual selection, senescence, sexually-antagonistic effects, phenotypic plasticity, inbreeding depression and maternal effects. Her main research systems in the past have been two long-term UK ungulate studies (Red deer and Soay sheep), but in Australia she is now working on the well-studied population of superb fairy wrens in the Australian National Botanic Gardens, and is involved with other projects including effects of climate change on bird species across Australia, quantitative genetics and plasticity in mosquitofish, and quantitative genetics of geckos.

Other positions held

Editor for Proceedings of the Royal Society London Series B.

Associate Editor for Genetics.

Previously Associate Editor for Evolution, Journal of Evolutionary Biology and Proc. Royal Soc London B.






Selected publications

Book: Charmantier, A., D. Garant, and L. E. B. Kruuk, editors. 2014. Quantitative Genetics in the Wild. Oxford University Press, Oxford.


Recent papers:

Thackeray, S. J. et al. (2016) ) Phenological sensitivity to climate across taxa and trophic levels. Nature 

Huisman, J., L. E. B. Kruuk, P. A. Ellis, T. Clutton-Brock, and J. M. Pemberton. 2016. Inbreeding depression across the lifespan in a wild mammal population. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 113:3585-3590.

Pavitt, A.T., JM Pemberton, LEB Kruuk, CA Walling. 2016. Testosterone and cortisol concentrations vary with reproductive status in wild female red deer. Ecology and Evolution 6 (4), 1163-1172.

Kruuk, L. E. B., J. Livingston, A. Kahn, and M. D. Jennions. 2015a. Sex-specific maternal effects in a viviparous fish. Biology Letters 11:20150472.

Kruuk, L. E. B., H. L. Osmond, and A. Cockburn. 2015b. Contrasting effects of climate on juvenile body size in a Southern Hemisphere passerine bird. Global Change Biology 21:2929-2941.

Roche, D. G., L. E. B. Kruuk, R. Lanfear, and S. A. Binning. 2015. Public Data Archiving in Ecology and Evolution: How Well Are We Doing? Plos Biology 13:12.

Callaby, R., O. Hanotte, I. C. Van Wyk, H. Kiara, P. Toye, M. N. Mbole-Kariuki, A. Jennings, S. M. Thumbi, J. A. W. Coetzer, B. M. d. C. Bronsvoort, S. A. Knott, M. E. J. Woolhouse, and L. E. B. Kruuk. 2015. Variation and covariation in strongyle infection in East African shorthorn zebu calves. Parasitology 142:499-511.

Pavitt, A. T., C. A. Walling, E. Moestl, J. M. Pemberton, and L. E. B. Kruuk. 2015. Cortisol but not testosterone is repeatable and varies with reproductive effort in wild red deer stags. General and Comparative Endocrinology DOI 0.1016/j.ygcen.2015.07.009.

Woolhouse, M. E., S. M. Thumbi, A. Jennings, M. Chase-Topping, R. Callaby, H. Kiara, M. C. Oosthuizen, M. N. Mbole-Kariuki, I. Conradie, I. G. Handel, L. E. B. Kruuk, B. M. d. C. Bronsvoort, O. Hanotte, J. A. W. Coetzer, and P. Toye. 2015. Co-infections determine patterns of mortality in a population exposed to parasite infection. Science Advances 1:e1400026.

Kruuk, L. E. B., T. Clutton-Brock, and J. M. Pemberton. 2014a. Quantitative genetics and sexual selection of weaponry in a wild ungulate. Pages 160-176 in A. Charmantier, D. Garant, and L. E. B. Kruuk, editors. Quantitative genetics in the wild. Oxford University Press, Oxford.

Kruuk, L. E. B., D. Garant, and A. Charmantier. 2014b. The study of quantitative genetics in wild populations. Pages 1-15  in A. Charmantier, D. Garant, and L. E. B. Kruuk, editors. Quantitative genetics in the wild. Oxford University Press, Oxford.

Pavitt, A. T., C. A. Walling, A. S. McNeilly, J. M. Pemberton, and L. E. B. Kruuk. 2014a. Variation in early life testosterone within a wild population of red deer. Functional Ecology 28:1224-1334.

Pavitt, A. T., C. A. Walling, J. M. Pemberton, and L. E. B. Kruuk. 2014b. Heritability and cross-sex genetic correlations of early life circulating testosterone levels in a wild mammal. Biology Letters 10:20140685.

Roche, D. G., R. Lanfear, S. A. Binning, T. M. Haff, L. E. Schwanz, K. E. Cain, H. Kokko, M. D. Jennions, and L. E. B. Kruuk. 2014. Troubleshooting Public Data Archiving: Suggestions to Increase Participation. PLoS Biology 12:1-5.

Stopher, K. V., A. I. Bento, T. H. Clutton-Brock, J. M. Pemberton, and L. E. B. Kruuk. 2014. Multiple pathways mediate effects of climate change on maternal reproductive traits in a wild mammal population. Ecology95:3124–3138.

Walling, C. A., M. B. Morrissey, K. Foerster, J. M. Pemberton, T. H. Clutton-Brock, and L. E. B. Kruuk. 2014. A multivariate analysis of genetic constraints to life history evolution in a wild population of red deer Genetics198:1735-1749.

All publications

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