About me



2019 – Marie Skłodowska Curie Research Fellow, Lund University/Simon Fraser University/University of Tasmania

2016 – 2018: Postdoctoral Research Associate, Penn State University

2014-2016: Postdoctoral Research Associate, University of Cambridge

2011-2015: PhD, University of Cambridge, UK

2005-2009: BSc Zoology, University of St Andrews, UK


I am a behavioural and evolutionary ecologist with broad interests in maternal investment, maternal effects, mating systems, and cooperation.

I am currently a Marie Skłodowska Curie Fellow, based at Lund University in Sweden. My research aims to illuminate the context-dependence of maternal effects, particularly the role of the social environment in altering the outcomes of gestational stress. I will be working closely with the labs of Tobias Uller, Geoff While, and Tony Williams as part of this project.

Prior to receiving this fellowship, I was a postdoctoral research fellow in the labs of Michael Sheriff and Tracy Langkilde at Penn State University, where I investigated the effects of maternal predator stress on offspring in snowshoe hares and eastern fence lizards – in particular the stress associated with invasive fire ants.

I completed a PhD under the supervision of Professor Tim Clutton-Brock at the University of Cambridge looking at helper investment in offspring through allonursing in the Kalahari meerkat. Find out more about this research here. Following my PhD, I was a postdoctoral research associate in the Department of Zoology at the University of Cambridge, working with Dr Rose Thorogood on how dietary supplementation might influence maternal reproductive strategies with regards to incubation behaviour and hatching spread.

Ringing great and blue tit nestlings in Madingley Wood, Cambridgeshire
Ringing great and blue tit nestlings in Madingley Wood, Cambridgeshire (photo by Hannah Rowland)

I was born in South Africa, but have grown up on the beautiful west coast of Scotland. Unsurprisingly this background has given me a love of wild places and wild animals that I love to share via my writing. The amazing quirks of nature and science gives me lots of inspiration. See my blog for writing on current research, including my own. I also write for other, non-scientific, publications.

You can contact me at kirstyjmacleod [at] gmail [dot] com.

Unfortunately I am not currently able to take on PhD or Masters students, and cannot host trainees or interns. If this changes, I will advertise here.


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