Biology / Biomedical Sciences
School of Environmental Sciences / Life Sciences

Dr Lesley Morrell

Lesley Morrell

Lecturer in Evolutionary Biology

School of Biological, Biomedical and Environmental Sciences

  • Teaching
  • Research
  • Publications
  • Brief CV
  • Administrative duties
  • Additional


Module number

Module name



58128 Biology Book Club Lecturer 4
58127 Skills for Biologists Tutor 4
58272 Professional & Research Skills for Biologists Module coordinator 5
58279 Behavioural Ecology Lecturer 5
58377 Topics in Biodiversity and Evolution Module coordinator 6
 58331 Reviews in Biology   Supervisor 6
58327 / 58376 Research projects  Supervisor 6


My research focuses on two broad areas: the evolution of aggregation as an anti-predator behaviour, the role of the physical and social environment on foraging, mating and social decisions.

The first theme explores why animals live in groups (flocks, shoals and herds), particularly as a response to predation risk, and what drives the patterns of grouping that we see, such as which group an animal chooses to join, and the risk that it experiences by choosing one group over another. The second theme explores how animals respond to the environment in which they live. This includes the physical environment, such as the distribution of resources, water flow or turbidity, and the social environment: the behaviour of other individuals around them. Under this theme, we are particularly interested in how experience of a particular environment shapes behavioural responses, and the effects of environmental change on behaviour.

We explore these questions using small fish and invertebrates (we are currently working on guppies, sticklebacks and Daphnia), and computer models.


  • Lesley J. Morrell: (2013) Use of Feed-forward Mechanisms in a Novel Research-led Module. Bioscience Education. DOI: 10.11120/beej.2013.00020
  • Rodgers, GM, Gladman, NW, Corless, H & Morrell, LJ. (2013) Costs of colour change in fish: food intake and behavioural decisions.  Journal of Experimental Biology 216: 2760-2767
  • Ward, AJW, Herbert-Read, JE, Jordan, LA, James, R, Krause, J, Ma, Q, Rubenstein, DI, Sumpter, DJT & Morrell, LJ. (2013) Initiators, leaders and recruitment mechanisms in the collective movements of damselfish.  American Naturalist 181: 748-760
  • Rodgers, GM, Kimbell, H & Morrell, LJ. (2013) Mixed phenotype grouping: the interaction between oddity and crypsis. Oecologia 172: 59-68
  • Johannesen, A, Dunn, A & Morrell, LJ. (2012) Olfactory cue use by three-spined sticklebacks foraging in turbid water: prey detection or prey location? Animal Behaviour 84: 151-158
  • Morrell, LJ, Hentley, WT, Wickens, VJ, Wickens, JB & Rodgers, GM. (2012) Artificial enhancement of an extended phenotype signal increases investment in courtship in three-spine sticklebacks. Animal Behaviour 84: 93-101
  • Hirsch, B & Morrell, LJ. (2011) Measuring marginal predation in animal groups. Behavioural Ecology 22: 648-656
  • Morrell, LJ, Ruxton, GD & James, R. (2011) Spatial positioning in the selfish herd. Behavioral Ecology 22: 16-22
  • Morrell, LJ, Ruxton, GD & James, R. (2011) The temporal selfish herd: Predation risk while aggregations form. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London Series B 278: 605-612

Brief CV

  • Lecturer in Evolutionary Biology, University of Hull, 2010 –
  • NERC Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Leeds, 2006-2010
  • Postdoctoral Researcher, University of Leeds, 2005-2006
  • PhD, University of Glasgow, 2001-2004
  • BSc Ecology, University of East Anglia, 1995-1999

Administrative duties

Level 6 co-ordinator



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