Loeske Kruuk

Group membership

I am now a Royal Society Research Professor at the University of Edinburgh, UK; please see my webpage there.

I am 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? I did an undergraduate degree in maths, but then realised that I wanted to be a biologist, so did a PhD in population genetics at the University of Edinburgh, UK. I then did a postdoc at the Universities of Cambridge and Edinburgh. This project introduced me to the huge potential of long-term studies of wild animal populations to explore a range of key questions about life history evolution and quantitative genetics, and since then I have been lucky enough to be involved in studies of a variety of species. I started a Royal Society University Research Fellowship at Edinburgh in 2000, and became Professor of Evolutionary Ecology there in 2009. In 2012, I took up an Australian Research Council Future Fellowship and so moved to ANU; in 2020, I won an ARC Laureate Fellowship. I am currently an Editor for Proceedings of the Royal Society B. I have now moved back to the UK, but am maintaining links with ANU through an Honorary Professorship.

Research interests

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

Previously Associate Editor for Genetics, 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:

Cooper, Bonnet, Osmond, Cockburn and Kruuk (2021). Aging and Senescence across Reproductive Traits and Survival in Superb Fairy-Wrens (Malurus cyaneus). The American Naturalist, 197:111-127.

de Villemereuil, Charmantier, Arlt, Bize, Brekke, Brouwer, Cockburn, Côté, Dobson, Evans, Festa-Bianchet, Gamelon, Hamel, Hegelbach, Jerstad, Kempenaers, Kruuk, Kumpula, Kvalnes, McAdam, McFarlane, Morrissey, Pärt, Pemberton, Qvarnström, Røstad, Schroeder, Senar, Sheldon, van de Pol, Visser, Wheelwright, Tufto and Chevin (2020). Fluctuating optimum and temporally variable selection on breeding date in birds and mammals. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 117:31969-31978.

Lv, Liu, Osmond, Cockburn and Kruuk (2020). When to start and when to stop: Effects of climate on breeding in a multi-brooded songbird. Global Change Biology, 26:443-457.

Iglesias-Carrasco, Brookes, Kruuk and Head (2020). The effects of competition on fitness depend on the sex of both competitors. Ecology and Evolution, 10:9808-9826.

Hajduk, Osmond, Cockburn and Kruuk (in press). Complex effects of helper relatedness on female extra-pair reproduction in a cooperative breeder. Behavioral Ecology, (accepted 25/06/2020).

Hajduk, Walling, Cockburn and Kruuk (2020). The 'algebra of evolution': the Robertson-Price identity and viability selection for body mass in a wild bird population. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 375:20190359.

Gauzere, Pemberton, Morris, Morris, Kruuk and Walling (2020). The genetic architecture of maternal effects across ontogeny in the red deer. Evolution, 74:1378-1391.
Cooper, Bonnet, Osmond, Cockburn and Kruuk (2020). Do the ages of parents or helpers affect offspring fitness in a cooperatively breeding bird? Journal of Evolutionary Biology, 33:1735-1748.

Brookes, Iglesias-Carrasco, Kruuk and Head (2020). Sex-specific responses to competitive environment in the mosquitofish Gambusia holbrooki. Evolutionary Ecology, 34:963-979.

Bailey, Kruuk, Allen, Clayton, Stein and Gardner (2020). Using different body size measures can lead to different conclusions about the effects of climate change. Journal of Biogeography, 47:1687-1697.

Siepielski, Morrissey, Carlson, Francis, Kingsolver, Whitney and Kruuk (2019). No evidence that warmer temperatures are associated with selection for smaller body sizes. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 286:2019.1332.

Martins, Kruuk, Llewelyn, Moritz and Phillips (2019). Heritability of climate-relevant traits in a rainforest skink. Heredity, 122:41-52.

Froy, Martin, Stopher, Morris, Morris, Clutton-Brock, Pemberton and Kruuk (2019). Consistent within-individual plasticity is sufficient to explain temperature responses in red deer reproductive traits. Journal of Evolutionary Biology, 32:1194-1206.

Bonnet, Morrissey and Kruuk (2019). Estimation of Genetic Variance in Fitness, and Inference of Adaptation, When Fitness Follows a Log-Normal Distribution. Journal of Heredity, 110:383-395.

Bonnet, Morrissey, Clutton-Brock, Pemberton and Kruuk (2019). The role of selection and evolution in changing parturition date in a red deer population. Plos Biology, 9:9-15.

Arnold, Nicotra and Kruuk (2019). Sparse evidence for selection on phenotypic plasticity in response to temperature. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 374:20180185.

Arnold, Kruuk and Nicotra (2019). How to analyse plant phenotypic plasticity in response to a changing climate. New Phytologist, 222:1235-1241.

Vega-Trejo, Kruuk, Jennions and Head (2018). What happens to offspring when parents are inbred, old or had a poor start in life? Evidence for sex-specific parental effects. Journal of Evolutionary Biology, 31:1138-1151.

Vega-Trejo, Head, Jennions and Kruuk (2018). Maternal-by-environment but not genotype-by-environment interactions in a fish without parental care. Heredity, 120:154-167.

Nottingham, Fierer, Turner, Whitaker, Ostle, McNamara, Bardgett, Leff, Salinas, Silman, Kruuk and Meir (2018). Microbes follow Humboldt: temperature drives plant and soil microbial diversity patterns from the Amazon to the Andes. Ecology, 99:2455-2466.

Kruuk and Wilson (2018). The challenge of estimating indirect genetic effects on behavior. Behavioral Ecology, 29:13-14.

Henshaw, Jennions and Kruuk (2018). How to quantify (the response to) sexual selection on traits. Evolution, 72:1904-1917.

Hayward, Pemberton, Berenos, Wilson, Pilkington and Kruuk (2018). Evidence for Selection-by-Environment but Not Genotype-by-Environment Interactions for Fitness-Related Traits in a Wild Mammal Population. Genetics, 208:349-364.

Hajduk, Cockburn, Margraf, Osmond, Walling and Kruuk (2018). Inbreeding, inbreeding depression, and infidelity in a cooperatively breeding bird. Evolution, 72:1500-1514.

Cooper and Kruuk (2018). Ageing with a silver-spoon: A meta-analysis of the effect of developmental environment on senescence. Evolution Letters, 2:460-471.

Siepielski, Morrissey, Buoro, Carlson, Caruso, Clegg, Coulson, DiBattista, Gotanda, Francis, Hereford, Kingsolver, Augustine, Kruuk, Martin, Sheldon, Sletvold, Svensson, Wade and MacColl (2017). Precipitation drives global variation in natural selection. Science, 355:959-969.

Kruuk (2017). A new explanation for unexpected evolution in body size. Plos Biology, 15:6-8.

Andrews, Kruuk and Smiseth (2017). Evolution of elaborate parental care: phenotypic and genetic correlations between parent and offspring traits. Behavioral Ecology, 28:39-48.

Thackeray, S. J. et al. (2016) ) Phenological sensitivity to climate across taxa and trophic levels. Nature http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nature18608 

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. Ecology 95:3124–3138.

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 Genetics 198:1735-1749.

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