Dr David Bilton

Dr David Bilton

School of Marine Science and Engineering (Faculty of Science & Environment)


Google Scholar Author Profile

Winner ZSL Marsh Award for Marine and Freshwater Conservation

Career History

1996- Present Lecturer/Senior Lecturer/Reader in Aquatic Biology, Plymouth University 

1995-1996 Browne Research Fellow in Biological Sciences, The Queen’s College, Oxford University.

1993-1995 Research Fellow in Biological Sciences, University of York.

1993 Royal Society Research Fellow, University of Santiago de Compostela, Spain.

1992 Research Fellow in Genetics, Uppsala University, Sweden.

Education & Qualifications

1997 SEDA Accredited Teacher in Higher Education

1988-1991 PhD (Population Genetics), University of London

1990 MA Zoology, Oxford University

1985-1988 BA (Hons) Zoology (First Class), Oxford University - Gibbs Prize for the highest academic performance in year

Professional membership

Fellow of the Royal Entomological Society

Fellow of the Linnean Society

Member of the Freshwater Biological Association

Member of the International Biogeography Society

Roles on external bodies

NERC Peer Review College - Member 2009-date.

Subject Editor - Biodiversity Data Journal

Editorial Board - Psyche: A Journal of Entomology

Aquatic Coleoptera Conservation Trust - ACCT
. ACCT was founded to promote and co-ordinate conservation and research work on threatened water beetles. Aquatic beetles are a diverse group, and are excellent indicators of habitat quality, age, and 'naturalness'. Around 400 species of British beetle live in water for a significant proportion of their lives, including the familiar diving beetles. Many species have shown significant and dramatic contractions in range since the mid 20th century, in response to a variety of factors, particularly agricultural intensification and associated drainage of wetlands and increases in diffuse pollution, leading to eutrophication. (Secretary) . 

Ponds Advisory Council
. International body concerned with the biology and conservation of small water bodies. Ponds harbour the vast majority of regional aquatic biodiversity in most countries, but are often ignored by ecologists, who study the larger (and often ecologically simpler!) lakes and rivers instead. (Member).

Balfour-Browne Club. Aquatic Coleoptera World specialist group, with over 200 members, who, like water beetles, are distributed on all continents except Antarctica. Co-ordinated from the UK. (Committee Member).

Grant Referee
for NERC, BBSRC, Austrian Science Foundation.

Invited Referee for numerous journals, including: Molecular Ecology, Proceeding of the Royal Society Series B, Journal of Applied Ecology, Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, Freshwater Biology, Conservation Genetics, Invertebrate Reproduction and Development, Functional Ecology, Hydrobiologia, Aquatic Conservation, Ecology Letters, Vie et Milieu, Annales Zoologici Fennici, Archive fur Hydrobiologie, Aquatic Insects, Diversity and Distributions, Ecography, Biological Conservation, Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, Estuaries, Journal of Biogeography, Ecological Entomology.

New animals I've named

Oniscus ancarensis Bilton, 1992
Terrestrial isopod  (woodlouse), endemic to NW Spain

Oniscus asellus occidentalis Bilton, 1994
Terrestrial isopod (woodlouse), known from the UK, Ireland and France, first recognized in Dartmoor woodlands.  Frequently hydridizes with the common Oniscus asellus asellus where the two meet.

Hydraena zezerensis Diaz-Pazos & Bilton, 1995
A hydraenid water beetle with elaborate male secondary sexual characters - endemic to a single headwater stream at the top of a glacial valley in Portugal's highest mountain massif, the Serra Estrela. Still known from knowhere else - one of the rarest water beetles in Europe.

Oniscus galicianus Bilton, 1997
Terrestrial isopod (woodlouse), endemic to NW Spain 

Agabus picotae Foster & Bilton, 1997
Diving beetle, endemic to SW Portugal and Spain. Associated with wet rock faces beside headwater streams. 

Hydraena hosseiniorum Bilton & Jach, 1998
Hydraenid water beetle endemic to the Zagros Mountains in western Iran - the most easterly member of its group.

Stictonectes rebeccae Bilton, 2012
A diving beetle endemic to the north and west of Spain and Portugal.

Discozantaena occidentalis Bilton & Perkins, 2012
A small 'water' beetle which has become secondarily terrestrial, living in damp litter by water. Known only from a single waterhole in West Coast National park, on the Western Cape of South Africa.

Pneuminion fontinalis Bilton & Perkins, 2012
Another small water beetle, restricted to permanent trickles of water, running like condensation on a window pane, in the high mountains near Paarl in the Western Cape of South Africa.

Crenitis bicolor Bilton, 2013
A hydrophilid water beetle so far only known from the high Kamiesberg in the Northern Cape of South Africa, an outlying fragment of the fynbos biome in arid Namaqualand.

Hydraena lotti Bilton, 2013
A small stream dwelling water beetle which I found to be common in high altitude streams in a very small area of the Taygetos Mountains in the Peloponnese, Greece. The 92 member of the "Haenydra" lineage, most of which are similarly narrow-ranged endemics. Its closest relatives are in eastern Greece and central Italy.

Prosthetops wolfbergensis Bilton, 2013
Yet another water beetle, which at 4.2 mm long is by far the largest known 'minute moss beetle' amongst the thousands described to date. Relatively widespread in the Western Cape mountains in South Africa, occurring in temporary pools where rainwater has dissolved bare rock. Named after the Wolfberg Arch, a striking geological feature of the Cederberg mountains, in whose shadow the beetle was abundant.

Sharphydrus brincki Bilton, 2013
A small diving beetle endemic to the Western Cape of South Africa, in mountain streams. The third known member of this genus, which is endemic to temperate South Africa. Named after the late Professor Per Brinck, who first collected this species in the early 1950s.

Sharphydrus kamiesbergensis Bilton, 2013
A small diving beetle so far only known from the high Kamiesberg in the Northern Cape of South Africa - the fourth known species of the genus.

Pterosthetops baini Bilton, 2014
A specialist of wet rock faces, living in a trickles of water and so far known from a single mountain pass in the Cape of South Africa. Named after the guy who directed the pass's construction in the 19th century, making accessible habitat available for these beetles in the process!

Pterosthetops coriaceus Bilton, 2014
A wet-rock seepage specialist, found only at a single site in the Cederberg mountains in South Africa.

Pterosthetops indwei Bilton, 2014
Another wet-rock seepage specialist, known from the Langeberg and Outeniquaberg mountains in South Africa - named after the Blue Crane, an iconic bird of this part of the Cape.

Pterosthetops pulcherrimus Bilton, 2014
Another wet-rock seepage specialist, this time known from one wet mountain pass in the Cederberg of South Africa. Named in reference to its strinking appearance, and the view form the type locality.

Pterosthetops swartbergensis Bilton, 2014
Another wet-rock seepage specialist, found, as its name suggests, in the Groote Swartberg, South Africa.

Pterosthetops tuberculatus Bilton, 2014
Yet another wet-rock seepage specialist - relatively widespread in the Western Cape, South Africa - on mountain passes.

Pterosthetops uitkyki Bilton, 2014
Again a wet-rock seepage specialist, known only from Uitkyk Pass in the Cederberg range, South Africa.

Laccobius leopardus Bilton & Gentili, 2014

Lives in pools in drying river margins on the edge of the Cederberg mountains in South Africa, an area transitional between fynbos and succulent karoo. Named after the leopards which frequent the area, and in reference to its spotted appearance.

Mesoceration hantam Bilton, 2014

From temporary pools and stream on the Hantamsberg, an inselberg in the Northern Cape of South Africa.

Parhydraena faeni Bilton, 2014

Again from temporary pools and stream on the Hantamsberg, an inselberg in the Northern Cape of South Africa.

Yola matsikammae Bilton, 2015

From a stream on the Matsikammaberg, another inselberg, this time on the northern edge of the Fynbos biome in the Western Cape of South Africa.

Capelatus prykei Turner & Bilton, 2015

An entirely new lineage of diving beetle from close to Cape Town. Not related to anything else in sub-Saharan Africa, its closest relatives being in the Mediterranean and Australasia. Also highly endangered by ongoing urbanisation and habitat loss.

Approximately 20 additional water beetles are in the system........

New animals named after me

Armadilloniscus biltoni Taiti & Ferrara, 1989
A terrestrial isopod (woodlouse) found in the entrance to a sea cave on the Togian Islands, Central Sulawesi, Indonesia.

Althepus biltoni Deeleman-Reinhold, 1995
A spider from forests on the Togian Islands, Central Sulawesi, Indonesia.

Neptosternus biltoni Hendrich and Balke, 1997
A small diving beetle from forest streams on one of the Togian Islands, Central Sulawesi, Indonesia. The adjacent island had a different species, also new to science at the time.

Deronectes biltoni Fery & Hosseinie, 1998
A diving beetle endemic to mountains in northern Iran, close to the Caspian Sea.

Helophorus biltoni Angus, Mahdizadeh & Hosseinie, 2005
A small crawling water beetle endemic to the Zagros Mountains in western Iran, where I first collected it in the late 1990s. It has close relatives on the Golan Heights, and in Spain.

Hydraena biltoni Jach & Diaz-Pazos, 2012
A small water beetle currently known only from a handful of places in central Montenegro. Closely related to the widespread Hydraena morio, which also occurs in the region, but not, so far, in the same localities.

Another water beetle, a millipede and a centipede are currently on their way..........

Teaching interests

I am interested in a range of questions related to the origin and distribution of the recent biota, particularly using aquatic invertebrates as models. Much of my teaching reflects my research interests, covering topics such as macroecology and biogeography, aquatic conservation, biological species concepts and speciation, and arthropod zoology. I teach on courses to all three undergraduate years, and supervise a range of BSc and MSc/MRes projects each year.

Stage 1

MBIO101 Evolution and Behaviour - An introduction to evolution, genetics and animal behaviour. I co-ordinate this course, and teach sections on evolutionary genetics, the origin and maintenance of sex, species concepts and human evolution. Includes a practical session, currently on species boundaries and natural hybridization.

MBIO111 Biodiversity - Comparative biology of the five kingdoms. I cover the arthropods, the most successful organisms ever to have existed on earth, surveying their past and present diversity, comparative zoology, and interactions with humans. Includes a practical session where a range of these animals can be seen first hand.

MBIO107 Marine and Freshwater Ecostystems - I deliver the freshwater invertebrate section of this course.

BIOL115 Natural History and Taxonomy - Animal and plant systematics, identification and natural history. I deliver the freshwater invertebrate section of the course.

MBIO109 Skills - Includes a residential fieldcourse, currently in Brittany, France. I devised this fieldcourse, and still typically attend it. It provides an opportunity to conduct field biology projects in a range of marine and coastal habitats with high biodiversity.

Stage 2

BIOL213 Ecology - An up-to-date exploration of the fundamental principles of population and community ecology. I teach community ecology from a large-scale, or macroecological, perspective, examining the assembly of communities, island biogeography, adaptive radiation, biodiversity and ecosystem function, and asking why most species are rare, and why there are there are more species of organisms in the tropics?

MBIO213 Marine Biology and Coastal Ecology Fieldcourse - An exploration of biodiversity in a coastal setting, currently in one of the World's Biodiversity Hotspots, on the western Cape of South Africa. 

Stage 3

MBIO324 Speciation and Diversity - What is a species? How do new species originate? What generates and maintains the diversity of life? How do we quantify this biodiversity? What are the ecological and evolutionary processes which underpin global patterns in biodiversity? Does biodiversity matter? An up-to-date exploration of the nature and generation of biological diversity, examining model taxa from a wide range of habitats and groups. I co-ordinate this course and teach biological species concepts and speciation.

BIOL304 Global Change Biology - what it says on the tin. Mostly on the causes and consequences of current global change. I deliver three lectures on Quaternary climate change and biological responses to ice ages, to give a wider historical/evolutionary context to ongoing change.

I supervise a range of projects in aquatic biology, ecology and evolution - typically 6-10 students per year.

Module leader for:

MBIO101 Evolution and Behaviour

MBIO324 Speciation and Diversity

Personal Tutor

Research interests

My work addresses a range of questions in aquatic biology, using both freshwater and marine organisms as model systems, but with a particular focus on water beetles. Much of my research focuses on attempts to understand the geographical distribution and evolutionary differentiation of organisms at a number of spatial scales.  Specific areas of interest include:

Macroecology and macrophysiology of aquatic invertebrates
.  What determines relative geographical range size - why are most species rare? Testing hypotheses of rarity, using selected clades of aquatic insects as model systems. Investigation of thermal tolerance across clades containing both widespread and restricted endemic taxa. Unravelling the mechanisms underlying differences in thermal tolerance.

Systematics and evolution of aquatic beetles. I work extensively on the taxonomy and systematics of water beetles, in various families and regions, with a particular focus on the Western Palaearctic and Southern Africa. I have also co-authored a recent Royal Entomological Society/Field Studies Council guide the British and Irish hydrophiloid water beetles, and am working on a further guide to remaining aquatic taxa, as well as being a co-author on the forthcoming atlas of British and Irish Hydradephaga (predaceous water beetles).

Ecology and conservation of temporary waters
. The invertebrate assemblages of temporary and fluctuating water bodies. Exploration of factors structuring communities at regional and local scales. The use of aquatic insects as biodiversity surrogates and indicator taxa in conservation.

Dispersal biology of aquatic invertebrates
. Causes and consequences of dispersal in aquatic invertebrates. 

Ecology and conservation of aquatic Coleoptera (water beetles)
. Evolution and ecology of aquatic beetles. Sexual conflict in diving beetles. Conservation biology of threatened taxa. Use of aquatic beetles as surrogates in ecosystem assessment and monitoring. Water beetle systematics and phylogeny. 

Current projects include:

Ecophysiology of European water beetles. Determinants of range size and ecological range. Collaborators: Ignacio Ribera (CSIC, Barcelona); Andres Millan (Universidad de Murcia). 

Oxygen limitation in aquatic arthropods. Does oxygen limitation set thermal limits in aquatic arthropods, and does respiratory mode influence this? Collaborator: Dr Wilco Verberk (Radboud University, Netherlands).

Systematics and Biodiversity of South African water beetles. Fieldwork in poorly known areas of this biodiverse region is combined with taxonomic and systematic work, which has resulted in the discovery of numerous new species and genera. Collaborators: Prof. Renzo Perissonotto (Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, South Africa), Manfred Jach (Vienna Natural History Museum, Austria), Michael Balke (Zoologische Staatsammlung, Munich, Germany), Ignacio Ribera (CSIC, Barcelona).

Conservation biology of threatened aquatic beetles
Ecology and conservation of UK Biodiversity Action Plan species.  In association with the Aquatic Coleoptera Conservation Trust.

Sexual conflict in diving beetles
Inter-relationships between male and female morphology in sexually dimorphic taxa; evolution and biogeography of sexual dimorphism in dytiscids.

Other research

Current PhD Students

Rebekah Simpson. Metabolic plasticity, immunocompetence and the evolution of geographical range sizes in organisms. (Supervised with John Moody).

John Thorpe-Dixon. Biodiversity of the Sadas, Western Ghats, India. (Supervised with Mairi Knight). 

Balbina Ramsay. Tardigrade spatial ecology in the Andes. (Supervised with Simon Rundle).

Recent Lab Visitors

Pedro Abellán (University de Murcia) 

Dr David Sanches-Fernandez (University de Murcia)

Dr Maragrita Florencio (Doñana Biological Station, Seville)

Dr Juan-Carlos Guitterez Estrada (University of Huelva)

Félix Picazo Mota (University of Murcia)

Cristina Coccia (Doñana Biological Station, Seville)

Paula Arribas (University of Murcia)

Simone Guareschi (University of Murcia)

Jose Carbonell (University of Murcia)

Susana Pallares (University of Murcia)

Research degrees awarded to supervised students

Dr Lucy Kelly
. Dispersal, Genetic Differentiation and Community Composition of Insular Stream Invertebrates. (Supervised with Simon Rundle). Awarded 2001.

Dr Louise McAbendroth
. Mediterranean Temporary Ponds in the UK: Ecology, Status and Management. (Supervised with Simon Rundle and Andy Foggo ). Awarded 2004.

Dr Punyasloke Bhadury
. Molecular resolution of marine nematode biodiversity: Development of a rapid assessment technique. (Supervised with Mel Austin & Gary Smerdon, Plymouth Marine Laboratory, and John Lambshead, Natural History Museum, London). Awarded 2006.

Dr Ena Mata-Zayas.
The distribution of phylogenetic diversity of mammals in Mexico and its implications for conservation. (Supervised with Miguel Franco). Awarded 2007.

Dr Victor Aguirre-Hidalgo
. Demographic and genetic diversity of the Mexican black iguana Ctenosaura pectinata. (Supervised with Miguel Franco). Awarded 2008. 

Dr Sonia Fontani
. Genetic biodiversity of the European barnacle Chthalamus montagui. (Supervised with John Bishop). Awarded 2009.

Dr Tony Bicknell.  Population biology of Leach's storm petrel. (Supervised with Steven Votier and Mairi Knight). Awarded 2011.

Dr Nigel Marley. Biology of Tardigrada. Awarded 2011.

Grants & contracts

2013-2016 Jack of all trades, master of all? Physiological niche, immunocompetence metabolic plasticity and the evolution of geographical range size 
University of Plymouth (ca. £72,000 - Competitive PhD Studentship)

2011-2015 Integrating ecophysiological and evolutionary aspects to undersatnd past, present and future distributions of Iberian hypersaline beetles
Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation PI: Josefa Velasco García, Murcia, Spain. Co-PIs : David Bilton (University of Plymouth, UK), Andres Millan(Universidad de Murcia), Ignacio Ribera (CSIC, Barcelona)

2011-2013 Evolution of the thermal tolerance in Pleistocene range expansions of aquatic Coleoptera from Mediterranean refugia
Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation PI: Ignacio Ribera, Barcelona, Spain. Co-PIs: David Bilton (University of Plymouth, UK), Josefina Garrido (Universidad de Vigo), Luis Felipe Valladares (Universidad de León)

2010-2012 RESPIRE - Climate-driven oxygen limitation in freshwater macroinvertebrates 
European Union Marie Curie Fellowship (Euro 180,103) for Dr Wilco Verberk

2009-2011 Oxygen deficiency in stream ectotherms
Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research Rubicon Fellowship (Euro 97,060) for Dr Wilco Verberk  

2009-2012 THESEUS: Innovative technologies for safer European coasts in a changing climate 
European Union (Euro 250,000) Co-PI with R.C. Thompson, S.D. Rundle & M Hanley

2007-2010 Population genetics of grazing marsh invertebrates
Esmée Fairbairn Foundation (£38,000) PI

 2007-2010 Biodiversity of lower, tidally-influenced river reaches
Esmée Fairbairn Foundation (£128,000) Co-PI with S.D. Rundle & M.J. Attrill

 2007-2010 The evolution of the size of the geographical range as a key factor in the generation of biodiversity.  
Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation PI: Ignacio Ribera, Barcelona, Spain. Co-PIs: David Bilton (University of Plymouth, UK), Josefina Garrido (Universidad de Vigo), Juan Angel Díaz-Pazos (Universidad de Santiago de Compostela), Luis Felipe Valladares (Universidad de León), Michael Balke (Zoologische Staatssammlung München).

2008-2009 Thermal adaptation in ectotherms: linking life history, physiology, behaviour and genetics
European Science Foundation ThermAdapt Programme, collaboration Short Visit grant (working with Ignacio Ribera, Barcelona) (Euro 750) PI

 2006-2008 What determines a species' geographic range? Physiology and range size relationships in European diving beetles.
Leverhulme Trust (£51,000) PI

2005-2008 Neutral theories to explain genetic diversity of aquatic insects 
NERC (£272,000) Co-PI with A.P. Vogler & T.G. Barraclough, Natural History Museum & Imperial College, London

1999-2004 Status, ecology and management of Mediterranean Temporary Ponds in the UK
English Nature & UoP (£32,000 - £18,000 each) PI & DoS (supervised with Simon Rundle)

1999-2000 Molecular solutions to previously intractable aspects of trophic ecology NERC new investigator’s grant (£25,654) PI

I have published over 160 papers to date, largely concerning aquatic ecology, biogeography....and beetles.

Selected publications 


Foster,G.N., Bilton, D.T. & Friday, L.E. 2014. Keys to adults of the water beetles of Britain and Ireland (Part 2). Handbooks for the Identification of British Insects 4(5b): i-iv, 1-126.



Guareschi, S., Bilton D. T., Velasco, J., Millán A,.& Abellán, P. In press. How well do
protected area networks support taxonomic and functional diversity in non-target taxa
The case of Iberian freshwaters. Biological Conservation in press.

Bilton, D.T. in press. Two new species of madicolous water beetle from South Africa 

(Coleoptera: Hydraenidae). African Invertebrates in press.

Florencio,M., Fernández-Zamudio, R., Bilton,D.T. & Díaz-Paniagua, C. in press. The
exotic weevil Stenopelmus rufinasus Gyllenhal, 1835 (Coleoptera: Curculionidae)
across a “host-free”pond network. Limnetica in press.

Pallarés, S., Arribas,P., Bilton, D.T., Millán, A. & Velasco, J. In press. The
comparativeosmoregulatory ability of two water beetle genera whose species span
the fresh-hyposaline gradient in inland waters (Coleoptera: Dytiscidae,Hydrophilidae).
PLoS ONE in press.

Bilton, D.T. in press. A review ofthe Canthyporus exilis group, with the description of two

new species (Coleoptera: Dytiscidae). Zootaxa in press.

Bilton,D.T.,Toussaint, E.F.A., Turner, C.R. & Balke, M. 2015. Capelatus prykeigen. et sp.

n. (Coleoptera: Dytiscidae: Copelatinae) - a phylogenetically isolated diving beetle from the

Western Cape of South Africa. Systematic Entomology DOI:10.1111/syen.12128.

Simmonds, D., et al.,……Bilton, D.T. &Rundle, S.D. 2015. TeignEstuary, South Devon,

UK: Stakeholder-led mitigation. Chapter 7.2 in:Zannuttigh, B., Nicholls, R., Vanderlinden,

J.P., Burcharth, H.F. &Thompson, R.C. (Eds.) Coastal Risk Management in a Changing

Climate. Butterworth-Heinmann/Elsevier, Oxford.

Hoggart,S., Hawkins, S.J., Bohn, K., Airoldi, L., van Belzen, J., Bichout, A., Bilton,D.T. et

al. 2015. Ecological approaches to coastal risk mitigation.Chapter 4 in: Zannuttigh, B.,

Nicholls, R., Vanderlinden, J.P., Burcharth, H.F.& Thompson, R.C. (Eds.) Coastal Risk

Management in a Changing Climate.Butterworth-Heinmann/Elsevier, Oxford.

Bilton, D.T. 2015. A new species of Yola Des Gozis, 1886 from the Western Cape of

South Africa. Zootaxa 3905: 441-446.


Bilton, D.T. 2014. Two new water beetles from the Hantamsberg, an inselberg in the

Northern Cape of South Africa (Coleoptera, Hydraenidae). Zootaxa 3877: 471-480.

Hidalgo-Galiana,A., Sánchez-Fernández, D., Bilton, D.T., Cieslak, A & Ribera, I.2014.

Thermal niche evolution and geographical range expansion in a species complex of

western Mediterranean diving beetles. BMC Evolutionary Biology14:187. 

Foster,G.N., Warne, A.C., Scally, A. & Bilton, D.T. 2014. WetlandColeoptera of Jersey,

including terrestrial Hydrophiloidea. Entomologist’s Monthly Magazine 150: 149-163.

Bilton, D.T. & Gentili, E. 2014. Laccobius leopardus sp. nov. from the Western Cape
of South Africa (Coleoptera: Hydrophilidae). Zootaxa 3835: 397–400.

Bilton, D.T. 2014. What’s in a name? – What have taxonomy and systematics ever done

for us? Journal of Biological Education 48:116-118.

Ryndevich,S.K., Foster, G.N., Bilton, D.T., Aquilina, R., Turner, C.R., Shaverdo,H. &

Prokin, A.A. 2014. Additions to the Belarusian fauna of water beetles.Latissimus 35: 32-42.

Hoggart,S.P.G., Hanley, M.E., Parker, D.J., Simmonds, D.J., Bilton, D.T.,Filipova-

Marinova, M., Franklin, E.L., Kotsev, I., Penning-Rowsell, E.C.,Rundle, S.D., Trifonova, E.,

Vergiev, S., White, A.C. & Thompson, R.C.2014. The consequences of doing nothing: the

effects of seawater flooding oncoastal zones. Coastal Engineering 87: 169-182.

Bilton, D.T. 2014. New species and new records of Pterosthetops: eumadicolous water

beetles of the South African Cape (Coleoptera, Hydraenidae). Zootaxa 3811: 438-462.

Bicknell, A.W.J., Knight, M.E., Bilton, D.T., Campbell, M., Reid, J.B., Newton, J. & Votier, S.C. 2014. Intercolony movement of pre-breeding seabirds over oceanic scales: implications of cryptic age-classes for conservation and metapopulation dynamics. Diversity & Distributions DOI: 10.1111/ddi.12137.

 Bilton, D.T. 2014. Dispersal in Dytiscidae. In: Ecology,Systematics, and Natural History of Predaceous Diving Beetles (Coleoptera:Dytiscidae) (ed. D.A. Yee) pp. 387-407. Springer, New York.

Foster,G.N. & Bilton, D.T. 2014. The conservation of predaceous diving beetles: knowns, unknowns and anecdotes. In: Ecology,Systematics, and Natural History of Predaceous Diving Beetles (Coleoptera:Dytiscidae) (ed. D.A. Yee)pp. 437-462. Springer, New York.


Bilton, D.T. 2013. A revision of South African Sharphydrus (Coleoptera, Dytiscidae, Bidessini), with the description of two new species. Zootaxa 3750: 26–36.

 Ribera, I.,....Bilton, D.T. et al. 2013. Los coleopteros aquaticos di Gipuzkoa (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae, Curculionidae, Dryopidae, Dytiscidae, Elmidae, Gyrinidae, Haliplidae, Helophoridae, Hydraenidae, Hydrochidae, Hydrophilidae, Noteridae, Psephenidae, Scirtidae). Heteropterus Revista de Entomologia 13: 127-145.

Hanley, M.E., Yip, P.Y.S., Hoggart, S., Bilton, D.T., Rundle, S.D., Thompson, R.C., 2013. Riding the storm: the response of Plantago lanceolata to simulated tidal flooding. Journal of Coastal Conservation 17:799-803.

Verberk, W.C.E.P. & Bilton, D.T. 2013. Respiratory control in aquatic insects dictates their vulnerability to global warming. Biology Letters 9: 20130473.

Coccia, C., Calosi, P., Boyero, L., Green, A.J. and Bilton, D.T. 2013. Does ecophysiology determine invasion success? A comparison between the invasive corixid Trichocorixa verticalis verticalis and the native Sigara lateralis in south-west Spain (Hemiptera, Corixidae). PLoS ONE 8: e63105. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0063105.

 Bilton, D.T. 2013. Prosthetops wolfbergensis sp. nov. – a giant amongst the ‘minute moss beetles’, with new data on other members of the genus (Coleoptera, Hydraenidae). Zootaxa 3666: 345–357.

Bilton, D.T. 2013. Hydraena lotti sp. n., a new member of the “Haenydra” lineage from the Peloponnese (Greece), with additional records of Hydraena species in the region (Coleoptera, Hydraenidae). Zootaxa 3637: 29–38.

Bilton, D.T. 2013. Crenitis bicolor sp. n. from the Kamiesberg of South Africa (Coleoptera: Hydrophilidae). Zootaxa 3626: 589–592.

Bilton, D.T. 2013. Description of the male of Sebasthetops omaliniformis Jäch, 1998 – a phylogenetically isolated water beetle from South Africa, with notes on its ecology (Coleoptera: Hydraenidae). Zootaxa 3635: 94–100.

Guitiérrez-Estrada, J.C. & Bilton, D.T. 2013. Consistency of fuzzy rules in an ecological context. Ecological Modelling 251: 187-198.

Arribas, P., Abellan, P., Velasco, J., Bilton, D.T. , Lobo, J.M., Millán, A. & Sánchez-Fernández , D. 2012. La vulnerabilidad de las especias frente al cambio climatico, un reto urgente para la conservacion de la biodiversidad. Ecosystemas 21 : 79-84.


Sánchez-Fernández, D., Aragón, P., Bilton, D.T. & Lobo, J.M. 2012. Assessing the congruence of thermal niche estimations derived from distribution and physiological data. A test using diving beetles. PloS ONE 7: e48163. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0048163.

Massamba-N'Siala, G., Calosi, P., Bilton, D.T., Prevedelli, D. & Simonini, P. 2012. Life-history and thermal tolerance traits display different thermal plasticities and relationships with temperature in the marine polychaete Ophryotrocha labronica La Greca and Bacci (Dorvilleidae). Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 438: 109–117.

Alarie, Y. & Bilton, D.T. 2012. The larva of Hydroporus zimmermanni J. Müller, 1926 (Coleoptera: Dytiscidae: Hydroporinae), with notes on its ecology and a review of described larvae of Hydroporus Clairville. The Coleopterists Bulletin 66:81-91.

Bilton, D.T.  & Perkins, P. 2012. Two new species of Parhydraenini from South Africa (Coleoptera: Hydraenidae). Zootaxa 3342: 51–59.

Bicknell, A.W.J., Knight, M.E., Bilton, D.T., Reid, J.B. Burke, T. & Votier, S.C. 2012. Population genetic structure and long-distance dispersal among seabird populations: Implications for colony persistence. Molecular Ecology doi: 10.1111/j.1365-294X.2012.05558.x.

Arribas P., Abellán P., Velasco J., Bilton D.T., Millán A. & Sánchez-Fernández D. 2012. Evaluating drivers of vulnerability to climate change: a guide for insect conservation strategies. Global Change Biology 18: 2135–2146.

Bergsten, J., Bilton, D.T., Fujisawa, T., Elliott, M., Monaghan, M.T., Balke, M., Hendrich, L., Geijer, J., Herrmann J., Foster, G.N., Ribera, I., Nilsson, A.N., Barraclough, T.G. & Vogler, A.P. 2012. The Effect of Geographical Scale of Sampling on DNA Barcoding. Systematic Biology doi: 10.1093/sysbio/sys037.

Bilton, D.T. 2012. Stictonectes rebeccae sp. nov. from the Iberian peninsula, with notes on its phylogenetic position (Coleoptera: Dytiscidae). Zootaxa 3188: 42–54.

Calosi, P.C., Bilton, D.T., Spicer, J.I., Verberk, W.C.E.P., Atfield, A. & Garland, T. Jr. 2012. The comparative biology of diving in two genera of European Dytiscidae (Coleoptera). Journal of Evolutionary Biology 25: 329–341.


Arribas, P., Velasco, J., Abellán, P., Sánchez-Fernandez, D., Andújar, C., Calosi, P. Millán, A., Ribera, I. & Bilton, D.T. 2011. Dispersal ability rather than ecological tolerance drives differences in range size between lentic and lotic water beetles (Coleoptera: Hydrophilidae). Journal of Biogeography doi:10.1111/j.1365-2699.2011.02641.x.

Verberk, W.C.E.P. & Bilton, D.T. 2011. Can oxygen set thermal limits in an insect and drive gigantism? PLoS ONE 6: e22610.

 Bicknell, A.W.J., Dawson, D.A., Horsburgh, G.J.., Knight, M.E., Bilton, D.T. & Votier, S.C. 2011. Characterisation and predicted genome locations of Leach’s storm-petrel (Oceanodroma leucorhoa) microsatellite loci (PROCELLARIIDAE, AVES). Conservation Genetics Resources DOI: 10.1007/s12686-011-9439-y.

Verberk, W.C.E.P., Bilton, D.T., Calosi, P. & Spicer, J.I. 2011. Oxygen supply in aquatic ectotherms: Partial pressure and solubility together explain biodiversity and size patterns. Ecology 92: 1565–1572.  
Evaluated as a 'must read' by the Faculty of 1000

Bicknell, A.W.J., Campbell, M., Knight, M.E., Bilton, D.T., Newton, J. & Votier, S.C. 2011. Effects of formalin preservation on stable carbon and nitrogen isotope signatures in Calanoid copepods: Implications for the use of Continuous Plankton Recorder Survey samples in stable isotope analyses. Rapid Communications in Mass Spectroscopy 2011: 1794-1800.

Picazo, F., Bilton, D.T., J.L. Moreno, J.L., Sánchez-Fernández, D. & Millán, A. 2011. Water beetle biodiversity in Mediterranean standing waters: assemblage composition, environmental drivers and nestedness patterns. Insect Conservation and Diversity doi: 10.1111/j.1752-4598.2011.00144.x.

Florencio, M., Díaz-Paniagua, C., Serrano, L. & Bilton, D. T. 2011. Spatio-temporal nested patterns in macroinvertebrate assemblages across a pond network with a wide hydroperiod range. Oecologia 166:469–483.


Guitiérrez-Estrada, J.C. & Bilton, D.T. 2010. A heuristic approach to predicting water beetle diversity in temporary and fluctuating waters. Ecological Modelling in press.

Sánchez-Fernández, D., Calosi, P., Atfield, A., Arribas, P., Velasco, J., Spicer, J.I. Millán, A. & Bilton, D.T. 2010. Reduced salinities compromise the thermal tolerance of hypersaline specialist diving beetles (Coleoptera, Dytiscidae). Physiological Entomology in press.

Calosi, P., Bilton, D.T., Spicer, J.I., Votier, S. & Atfield, A. 2010. What determines a species' geographical range? Thermal biology and latitudinal range size relationships in European diving beetles (Coleoptera: Dytiscidae). Journal of Animal Ecology 79: 194–204.
JAE's most highly cited paper of the year

Before 2010

Gaston K.J., Chown S.L., Calosi P., Bernardo J., Bilton D.T., Clarke A., Clusella-Trullas S., Ghalambor C.K., Konarzewski M., Peck L.S., Porter W.P., Pörtner H.O., Rezende E.L., Schulter P.M., Spicer J.I., Stillman J., Terblanche J.S. & van Kleunen M. 2009. Macrophysiology: a conceptual re-unification. American Naturalist 174: 595–612.

Bhadury, P., Bridge, P.D., Austen, M.C., Bilton, D.T. & Smerdon, G.R. 2009. Detection of fungal 18S rRNA sequences in conjunction with marine nematode 18S rRNA amplicons. Aquatic Biology 5: 149-155.

Bilton, D.T., McAbendroth, L.C., Nicolet, P., Bedford, A., Rundle, S.D., Foggo, A. & Ramsay, P.M. 2009. Ecology and conservation status of temporary and fluctuating ponds in two areas of southern England. Aquatic Conservation Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems 19: 134-146.

Sánchez-Fernández, D., Bilton, D.T., Abellán, P., Picazo, F., Ribera, I., Velasco, J. & Millán, A. 2009. Los coleópteros acuáticos como indicadores de la biodiversidad. Quercus 275: 22-27.

Bilton, D.T., Thompson, A. & Foster, G.N. 2008. Inter- and intra-sexual dimorphism in the diving beetle Hydroporus memnonius Nicolai (Coleoptera: Dytiscidae). Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 94: 685-697.

Bhadury, P., Austen, M.C., Bilton, D.T., Lambshead, P.J.D., Rogers, A.D. & Smerdon, G.R. 2008. Evaluation of combined morphological and molecular techniques for marine nematode (Terschellingia spp.) identification. Marine Biology 154: 509-518.

Sánchez-Fernández, D., Bilton, D.T., Abellán, P., Ribera, I., Velasco, J. & Millán, A. 2008. Are the endemic water beetles of the Iberian Peninsula and the Balearic Islands effectively protected? Biological Conservation 141: 1612-1627.

Calosi, P., Bilton, D.T. & Spicer, J.I. 2008. Thermal tolerance, acclimatory capacity and vulnerability to global climate change. Biology Letters 4: 99-102.

Calosi, P., Bilton, D.T., Spicer, J.I. & Atfield, A. 2008. Thermal tolerance and geographic range size in the Agabus brunneus group of European diving beetles (Coleoptera: Dytiscidae). Journal of Biogeography 35: 295-305.

Calosi, P., Bilton, D.T. & Spicer, J.I. 2007. The diving response of the diving beetle Ilybius montanus (Coleoptera: Dytiscidae): the effects of temperature and acidification. Journal of Zoology 273: 289–297.

Dalesman, S., Rundle, S.D., Bilton, D.T. & Cotton, P.A. 2007. Phylogenetic relatedness and ecological interactions determine antipredator behavior. Ecology 88: 2462-2467.

Foggo, A., Bilton, D.T. & Rundle, S.D. 2007. Do developmental mode and dispersal shape abundance-occupancy relationships in marine macroinvertebrates? Journal of Animal Ecology 76: 695-702.

Rundle, S.D., Bilton, D.T., Abbott, J.C. & Foggo, A. 2007. Range size in North American Enallagma damselflies correlates with range size. Freshwater Biology 52: 471-477.

Bhadury, P., Austen, M.C., Bilton, D.T., Lambshead, P.J.D., Rogers, A.D. & Smerdon, G.R. 2007. Exploitation of archived marine nematodes- a hot lysis DNA extraction protocol for molecular studies Zoologica Scripta 36: 93-98.

Bhadury, P., Austen, M.C., Bilton, D.T., Lambshead, P.J.D., Rogers, A.D. & Smerdon, G.R. 2006. Development and evaluation of a DNA barcoding approach for rapid identification of marine nematodes. Marine Ecology Progress Series 320: 1-9.

Abellan, P., Bilton, D.T., Millan, A., Sanchez-Fernandez, D. and Ramsay, P.M. 2006. Can taxonomic distinctness assess anthropogenic impacts in inland waters? A case study from a Mediterranean river basin. Freshwater Biology 51: 1744-1756.

Bhadury, P., Austen, M.C., Bilton, D.T., Lambshead, P.J.D., Rogers, A.D. & Smerdon, G.R. 2006. Molecular detection of marine nematodes from environmental samples- overcoming eukaryotic interference. Aquatic Microbial Ecology 44: 97-103.

Bilton, D.T., McAbendroth, L., Bedford, A. & Ramsay, P.M. 2006. How wide to cast the net? Cross-taxon congruence of species richness, community similarity and indicator taxa in ponds. Freshwater Biology 51: 578-590.

Biggs, J., Bilton, D.T., Williams, P., Nicolet, P., Briggs, L., Eeles, B. & Whitfield, M. 2005. Temporary ponds of eastern Poland: an initial assessment of importance for nature conservation. Archives de Sciences 57: 23-41.

Alarie, Y. & Bilton, D.T. 2005. Larval morphology of Aspidytidae (Coleoptera: Adephaga) and its phylogenetic implications. Annals of the Entomological Society of America 98: 417-430.

Bhadury, P., Austen, M.C., Bilton, D.T., Lambshead, P.J.D., Rogers, A.D. & Smerdon, G.R. 2005. Combined morphological and molecular analysis of individual nematodes through short-term preservation in formalin. Molecular Ecology Notes 5: 965-968.

McAbendroth, L., Ramsay, P.M., Foggo, A., Rundle, S.D. & Bilton, D.T. 2005. Does macrophyte structural complexity drive invertebrate diversity, biomass and body size distributions? Oikos 111: 279-290.

McAbendroth, L., Foggo, A., Rundle, S.D. & Bilton, D.T. 2005. Unravelling nestedness and spatial pattern in pond assemblages. Journal of Animal Ecology. 74: 41-49.

Ribera, I., Bilton, D.T., Balke, M. & Hendrich, L. 2003. Evolution, mitochondrial DNA phylogeny and systematic position of the Macaronesian endemic Hydrotarsus Falkenstrom (Coleoptera: Dytiscidae). Systematic Entomology 28:1-16.

Foggo, A., Rundle, S.D. & Bilton, D.T. 2003. The net result: evaluating species richness extrapolation techniques for pond invertebrates. Freshwater Biology 48: 1-9.

Ribera, I., Bilton, D.T. & Vogler, A. 2003. Mitochondrial DNA phylogeography and population history of Meladema diving beetles on the Atlantic Islands and in the Mediterranean basin. Molecular Ecology 12: 153-167.

Kelly, L.C., Rundle, S.D. & Bilton, D.T 2002. Genetic population structure and dispersal in Atlantic Island caddisflies. Freshwater Biology 47: 1642-1650.

Rundle, S.D., Foggo, A., Choisel, V. & Bilton, D.T.. 2002. Are distribution patterns linked to dispersal mechanism? An investigation using pond invertebrate assemblages. Freshwater Biology 4: 1571-1581.

Villalobos, L.C. Ribera, I. & Bilton, D.T. 2001. First data on Iberian Nematomorpha, with redescription of Gordius aquaticus Linnaeus, G. plicatulus Heinze, Gordionus wolterstorffii (Camerano) and Paragordius tricuspidatus (Dufour). Contributions to Zoology 70: 73-84.

Alarie, Y. & Bilton, D.T. 2001. Larval morphology of Hydrotarsus Falkenstrom: Generic characteristics, description of H. compunctus (Wollaston), and analysis of relationships with other members of the tribe Hydroporini (Coleoptera: Dytiscidae, Hydroporinae). Coleopterists Bulletin 55: 341-350.

Kelly, L.C., Bilton, D.T. & Rundle, S.D. 2001. Population structure and dispersal in the Canary Island caddisfly Mesophylax aspersus (Trichoptera, Limnephilidae). Heredity 86: 370-377.

Bilton, D.T., Foggo, A. & Rundle, S.D. 2001. Size, permanence and the proportion of predators in ponds. Archiv fur Hydrobiologia 151: 451-458.

Some papers from back before 2001......

Bilton, D.T. 1993. Genetic population structure of the Postglacial relict diving beetle Hydroporus glabriusculus Aube (Coleoptera: Dytiscidae). Heredity 69: 503-511.

Bilton, D.T. 1994 Intraspecific variation in the terrestrial isopod Oniscus asellus Linnaeus, 1758 (Crustacea: Isopoda: Oniscidea). Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 110: 325-354.

Bilton, D.T. 1994. Phylogeography and recent historical biogeography of the diving beetle Hydroporus glabriusculus (Coleoptera: Dytiscidae) in the british Isles and Scandinavia. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 51: 293-307.

Bilton, D.T., Mirol, P., Masceretti, S., Fredga, K., Zima, J. & Searle, J.B. 1998. Mediterranean Europe as an area of endemism for small mammals, rather than a source for northwards postglacial colonisation. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B 265: 1219-1226.

Bilton, D.T., Goode, D & Mallet, J. 1999 Genetic differentiation and natural hybridization between two forms of the common woodlouse, Oniscus asellus Linnaeus, 1758. Heredity 82: 462-469

Reports & invited lectures

Invited/keynote conference presentations since 2001

Entomological Society of America Annual Meeting, Austin, Texas, USA 2013. Invited speaker.

Royal Entomological Society Insects and Climate Change meeting, Rothamstead 2011. Invited speaker.

European Congress of Entomology, Budapest, Hungary 2010. Aquatic Insects special session. Invited speaker.

Royal Entomological Society of London Annual Meeting, Plymouth 2008 Session Chair: Aquatic Entomology.

First International Macrophysiology Meeting, Plymouth 2008. Invited speaker.

Royal Entomological Society of London Annual Meeting, Edinburgh 2007 Session chair: Population Genetics.

British Ecological Society Symposium ‘Body Size in Aquatic Ecosystems’ Northampton, UK 2005. Invited contributor.

Conservation and Monitoring of Pond Biodiversity, Geneva, 2004. Invited speaker.

MANSCAPE Conference, Royal Belgian Academy of Sciences, Brussels, 2003. Invited speaker.

European Temporary Ponds Conference, Birmingham 2001. Invited speaker.

10th National Biology Conference, Shiraz, Iran, 2001. Invited speaker.

Recent Invited lectures at Universities/Institutes include: University of York (UK), University of Exeter (UK), Queen Mary, University of London (UK), University of Murcia (Spain), University of Tehran (Iran), University of Shiraz (Iran), Uppsala University (Sweden), Doñana Biological Station, Seville (Spain), Institut de Biologia Evolutiva (CSIC-UPF) (Barcelona, Spain).