Qualifications & background
BSc, University of Dundee (1987)
AFRC Research Assistant, University of Oxford (1991-1993)
In the first year I teach vertebrate biology (BIOL1003), evolution and animal behaviour (BIOL1403), and help to run the ecosystems field course to Brittany (BIOL1101).
My second year teaching covers experimental design and analysis (BIOL2005) and the Marine Biology and Coastal Ecology field course in South Africa (BIOL2103).
In the third year I teach behavioural ecology (BIOL3102) and supervise research projects (BIOL3001).
I was the programme leader for BSc Marine Biology & Coastal Ecology from 2005 to 2010 and now help Dave Bilton to run the programme.
Staff serving as external examiners
I am a behavioural ecologist and of late I have primarily worked on predator-prey interactions and contest behaviour. I'm also interested in community ecology and anthropogenic impacts on ecological assemblages and phenology.
Cotton, P.A. (2003) Avian migration phenology and global climate change. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA. 100: 12219-12222. pdf
Cotton, P.A., Rundle, S.D. & Smith, K.E. (2004) Trait compensation in marine gastropods: shell shape, avoidance behavior and susceptibility to predation. Ecology 85: 1581-1584. pdf
Dalesman, S., Bilton, D.T., Rundle, S.D. & Cotton, P.A. (2007) Phylogenetic relatedness and ecological interactions determine anti-predator behaviour. Ecology 88: 2462-2467. pdf
Mowles, S.L., Cotton, P.A. & Briffa, M. (2011) Flexing the abdominals: Do bigger muscles make better fighters? Biology Letters doi: 10.1098/rsbl.2010.1079 pdf
UoP Research group membershipMarine Biology & Ecology Research Centre (MBERC)
Research degrees awarded to supervised students
Ahmed Al-Mazrouai: Phenotypic plasticity in marine intertidal gastropods. (Jointly supervised with Dr. S. Rundle). Funding: Sultanate of Oman. Completed 2009.
Sophie Mowles: Contest behaviour in hermit crabs. (Jointly supervised with Dr Mark Briffa). Funding: University of Plymouth Research Studentship. Completed 2009.
Sarah Dalesman. PhD. Anti-predator behaviour in the freshwater gastropod Lymnaea stagnalis. (Jointly supervised with Dr Simon Rundle). Funding: University of Plymouth Studentship. Completed 2007.
Gillian Groeger. PhD. The visual performance of the cuttlefish eye. (Jointly supervised with Prof. Roddy Williamson). Funding: HEFCE COLLr. Completed 2003.
(2011) 'Flexing the abdominals: do bigger muscles make better fighters?' Biol Lett 7 (3), pp 358 - 360 , DOI
(2011) 'Specialization in Plant-Hummingbird Networks Is Associated with Species Richness, Contemporary Precipitation and Quaternary Climate-Change Velocity' PLOS ONE 6 (10), , DOI
(2011) 'Susceptibility to predation affects trait-mediated indirect interactions by reversing interspecific competition.' PLoS One 6 (8), p e23068 , DOI
(2010) 'Using Observational Methods to Research the Student Experience' JOURNAL OF GEOGRAPHY IN HIGHER EDUCATION 34 (3), pp 463 - 473 , DOI
(2010) 'Whole-organism performance capacity predicts resource-holding potential in the hermit crab Pagurus bernhardus' ANIMAL BEHAVIOUR 80 (2), pp 277 - 282 , DOI
(2009) 'Aerobic capacity influences giving-up decisions in fighting hermit crabs: does stamina constrain contests?' ANIMAL BEHAVIOUR 78 (3), pp 735 - 740 , DOI
(2009) 'Crawl-out behaviour in response to predation cues in an aquatic gastropod: insights from artificial selection' EVOLUTIONARY ECOLOGY 23 (6), pp 907 - 918 , DOI
(2009) 'Developmental plasticity compensates for selected low levels of behavioural avoidance in a freshwater snail' ANIMAL BEHAVIOUR 78 (4), pp 987 - 991 , DOI
(2009) 'Field biology experiences of undergraduate students: the impact of novelty space' JOURNAL OF BIOLOGICAL EDUCATION 43 (4), pp 169 - 174 , DOI
(2008) 'The role of circulating metal ions during shell fights in the hermit crab Pagurus bernhardus' ETHOLOGY 114 (10), pp 1014 - 1022 , DOI
(2007) 'Phylogenetic relatedness and ecological interactions determine antipredator behavior' Ecology 88 (10), pp 2462 - 2467
(2007) 'Predator regime influences innate anti-predator behaviour in the freshwater gastropod Lymnaea stagnalis' Freshwater Biology 52 (11), pp 2134 - 2140
(2007) 'Seasonal resource tracking by Amazonian hummingbirds' Ibis 149 (1), pp 135 - 142
(2006) 'Cue association and antipredator behaviour in a pulmonate snail, Lymnaea stagnalis' Animal Behaviour 71, pp 789 - 797
(2006) 'Effects of habitat complexity on the diversity and abundance of macrofauna colonising artificial kelp holdfasts' Marine Ecology-Progress Series 325, pp 93 - 100
(2005) 'Ontogenetic changes in the visual acuity of Sepia officinalis measured using the optomotor response' Canadian Journal of Zoology-Revue Canadienne de Zoologie 83 (2), pp 274 - 279
(2005) 'The effects of climate variability on zooplankton and basking shark (Cetorhinus maximus) relative abundance off southwest Britain' Fisheries Oceanography 14 (2), pp 151 - 155
(2004) 'Habitat selection by song thrushes in stable and declining farmland populations.' Journal of Applied Ecology 41 (2), pp 275 - 293 , DOI
(2004) 'Ontogenetic changes in metabolism may determine diet shifts for a sit-and-wait predator' Journal of Animal Ecology 73 (3), pp 536 - 545
(2004) 'The effects of boat traffic on the behaviour of bottlenose dolphins Tursiops truncatus' Aquat. Mamm 30:, pp 279 - 283
(2004) 'Trait compensation in marine gastropods: Shell shape, avoidance behavior, and susceptibility to predation' Ecology 85 (6), pp 1581 - 1584
(2003) 'Avian migration phenology and global climate change' Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 100 (21), pp 12219 - 12222
(2002) 'Book Review :Howell, SNG (ed). Hummingbirds of North America: The Photographic Guide' Ibis 144, p 360
(2002) 'Habitat utilisation by song thrushes Turdus philomelos on lowland farmland during summer and winter' Birds and Agriculture Aspects of Applied Biology 67, pp 11 - 20
(2001) 'The Behavior and interactions of birds visiting Erythrina fusca flowers in the Colombian Amazon' Biotropica 33 (4), pp 662 - 669