Dr Michael Thom
Profiles

Dr Michael Thom

Associate Head of School (Teaching and Learning)

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

Role

I oversee the Extended Science teaching for the School of Biological Sciences.

I also teach on a range of undergraduate modules, including topics in evolution, animal behaviour, statistics, and population genetics.

Qualifications

Employment:

2014 - : Lecturer in Evolutionary Biology, School of Biological 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

Qualifications

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.


Moatt, J. P., C. Dytham, and M. D. F. Thom. 2014. Sperm production responds to perceived sperm competition risk in male Drosophila melanogaster. Physiology & Behavior 131:111-114.

Stockley, P., S. A. Ramm, A. L. Sherborne, M. D. F. Thom, S. Paterson, and J. L. Hurst. 2013. Baculum morphology predicts reproductive success of male house mice under sexual selection. BMC Biology 11:66.

Senior, M. J. M., K. C. Hamer, S. Bottrell, D. P. Edwards, T. M. Fayle, J. M. Lucey, P. J. Mayhew, R. Newton, K. S. H. Peh, F. H. Sheldon, C. Stewart, A. R. Styring, M. D. F. Thom, P. Woodcock, and J. K. Hill. 2013. Trait-dependent declines of species following conversion of rain forest to oil palm plantations. Biodiversity and Conservation 22:253-268.

Moatt, J. P., C. Dytham, and M. D. F. Thom. 2013. Exposure to sperm competition risk improves survival of virgin males. Biology Letters 9:20121188.

Thom, M. D. F. and C. Dytham. 2012. Female choosiness leads to the evolution of individually distinctive males. Evolution 66:3736-3742.

Claydon, A. J., M. D. Thom, J. L. Hurst, and R. J. Beynon. 2012. Protein turnover: measurement of proteome dynamics by whole animal metabolic labelling with stable isotope labelled amino acids. Proteomics 12:1194-1206.

Harrington, L. A., A. L. Harrington, N. Yamaguchi, M. D. Thom, P. Ferreras, T. R. Windham, and D. W. Macdonald. 2009. The impact of native competitors on an alien invasive: temporal niche shifts to avoid interspecific aggression? Ecology 90:1207-1216.

Thom, M. D., P. Stockley, F. Jury, W. E. R. Ollier, R. J. Beynon, and J. L. Hurst. 2008. The direct assessment of genetic heterozygosity through scent in the mouse. Current Biology 18:619-623.

Thom, M. D., P. Stockley, R. J. Beynon, and J. L. Hurst. 2008. Scent, mate choice and genetic heterozygosity. Pp. 291-301 In J. L. Hurst, R. J. Beynon, S. C. Roberts, and T. D. Wyatt, eds. Chemical Signals in Vertebrates 11. Springer, New York.

Cheetham, S. A., M. D. Thom, R. J. Beynon, and J. L. Hurst. 2008. The effect of familiarity on mate choice. Pp. 271-280 In J. L. Hurst, R. J. Beynon, S. C. Roberts, and T. D. Wyatt, eds. Chemical Signals in Vertebrates 11. Springer, New York.

Sherborne, A. L., M. D. Thom, S. Paterson, F. Jury, W. E. R. Ollier, P. Stockley, R. J. Beynon, and J. L. Hurst. 2007. The genetic basis of inbreeding avoidance in house mice. Current Biology 17:2061-2066.

Cheetham, S. A., M. D. Thom, F. Jury, W. E. R. Ollier, R. J. Beynon, and J. L. Hurst. 2007. The genetic basis of individual recognition signals in the mouse. Current Biology 17:1771-1777.

Thom, M. D., R. J. Beynon, and J. L. Hurst. 2005. The role of the major histocompatibility complex in scent communication. Pp. 173-182 In R. T. Mason, M. P. LeMaster, and D. Muller-Schwarze, eds. Chemical Signals in Vertebrates 10. Springer. New York.

Hurst, J. L., M. D. Thom, C. M. Nevison, R. E. Humphries, and R. J. Beynon. 2005. The "scents" of ownership. Pp. 199-208 In R. T. Mason, M. P. LeMaster, and D. Müller-Schwarze, eds. Chemical Signals in Vertebrates 10. Springer, New York.

Hurst, J. L., M. D. Thom, C. M. Nevison, R. E. Humphries, and R. J. Beynon. 2005. MHC odours are not required or sufficient for recognition of individual scent owners. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 272:715-724.

Thom, M. D., D. W. Macdonald, G. J. Mason, V. Pedersen, and P. J. Johnson. 2004. Female American mink, Mustela vison, mate multiply in a free-choice environment. Animal Behaviour 67:975-984.

Thom, M. D., D. D. P. Johnson, and D. W. Macdonald. 2004. The evolution and maintenance of delayed implantation in the Mustelidae (Mammalia: Carnivora). Evolution 58:175-183.

Thom, M. D. and J. L. Hurst. 2004. Individual recognition by scent. Annales Zoologici Fennici 41:765-787.

Thom, M. D., L. A. Harrington, and D. W. Macdonald. 2004. Why are American mink sexually dimorphic? A role for niche separation. Oikos 105:525-535.

Macdonald, D. W. and M. D. Thom. 2001. Alien carnivores: unwelcome experiments in ecological theory. Pp. 93-122 In J. L. Gittleman, S. M. Funk, D. W. Macdonald, and R. K. Wayne, eds. Carnivore Conservation. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

Macdonald, D. W., J. M. Bryce, and M. D. Thom. 2001. Introduced mammals: Do carnivores and herbivores usurp native species by different mechanisms? Pp. 11-44 In H.-J. Pelz, D. P. Cowan, and C. J. Feare, eds. Advances in Vertebrate Pest Management II. Filander Verlag, Fürth.

Dunlop, S. A., J. D. Roberts, K. N. Armstrong, S. J. Edwards, S. J. Reynolds, M. D. Thom, and L. D. Beazley. 1997. Impaired vision for binocular tasks after unilateral optic nerve regeneration in the frog Litoria moorei. Behavioural Brain Research 84:195-201.