Ecological and Evolutionary Genetics and Genomics (EEGG)

Group Leader(s): Dr Saad Arif


About us

Our interest lies in how biodiversity, at the genetic and phenotypic levels, is generated and maintained through time and space within species. We investigate these questions through the lens of genomic data to quantify patterns of diversity across space and time and to infer the ecological and evolutionary processing driving these patterns.

These questions span several different disciplines including ecology, evolution, genetics and development. We approach these questions largely using genomic data and working with both model and non-model animals in the field and in the laboratory. The group is also keenly interested in developing genetic tools (including transgenic methods) and resources (genome annotation, etc.) in emerging model organisms.

Current projects focus on the ecological and evolutionary genomics of butterflies (and in some cases their endosymbionts) in the British Isles.

Common Blue Butterfly perched on a birdsfoot trefoil flower

Research impact

Distribution of European haplogroups of Common Blue Butterfly across the British Isles

We are in the midst of a major biodiversity crisis and inventorying and assessing the impact of the anthropogenic impact on biodiversity has never been more relevant. Butterflies are particularly susceptible to anthropogenic activities, such as habitat fragmentation and climate change, and thus are an excellent system to understand our detrimental impact on biodiversity.

Our current work is essential in documenting patterns of ecological and genetic diversity within butterfly species in British Isles. Additionally, this work potentially provides us with an understanding as to why some butterfly species are spreading northwards, whereas others seem to be disappearing from the British Isles altogether. 


Saad Arif

Dr Saad Arif

Senior Lecturer

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Name Thesis Title Supervisors Completed
Rebecca Whitla Evolutionary and Ecological Genomics of Butterflies in the British Isles Dr Saad Arif, Professor Tim Shreeve