Dr Michael Thom

Dr Michael Thom

Lecturer in Evolutionary Biology

School of Biological and Marine Sciences (Faculty of Science and Engineering)


Lecturer in Evolutionary Biology



2014 - : Lecturer in Evolutionary Biology, School of Biological & Marine Sciences, University of Plymouth

2008 - 2013: Teaching Fellow in Evolutionary Biology, Department of Biology, University of York

2003 - 2008: BBSRC Postdoctoral Research Associate, Mammalian Behaviour and Evolution Group, University of Liverpool

1995 - 1996: Environmental Consultant, Western Australia


2011: Postgraduate Certificate of Academic Practice, University of York

2011: Fellow of the Higher Education Academy

2002: PhD, Department of Zoology, University of Oxford: "The mating system and behavioural ecology of American mink (Mustela vison)"

1995: BSc (Hons), First Class, Department of Zoology, University of Western Australia

Professional membership

Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour
Society for the Study of Evolution
International Society for Behavioral Ecology
The Genetics Society
European Society for Evolutionary Biology

Research interests

My research mainly focuses on the importance of sexual selection in shaping animal behaviour, physiology and morphology, and on the interplay between natural and sexual selection in population evolution. I am interested in understanding how males trade off various components of sexual selection to maximise reproductive success, and how this balance is influenced by varying environmental and social conditions and varying costs.

This work ties in to the related theme of behavioural plasticity, particularly plastic reproductive traits: how flexible is male behaviour, and when and why does the level of flexibility vary between individuals?

In connection with much of this work, I am also interested in understanding the genetic basis of key reproductive traits, particularly behavioural traits including plasticity.

Finally, I have longstanding research interest in individual recognition, and how this ability evolves and is maintained.

My research uses both empirical research on animal models, and a theoretical approach through agent-based modelling.