Dr Casper Breuker


Subject Coordinator for Biology and MBiol Biology

Department of Biological and Medical Sciences

Casper Breuker


  • Senior Lecturer
  • Subject Coordinator for BSc and MBiol degrees in Biology/Biological Sciences
  • Erasmus Coordinator for Biological Sciences

Areas of expertise

  • Expertise in evolutionary developmental biology, in particular where it pertains Lepidoptera

Teaching and supervision

Modules taught

Undergraduate Teaching

Stage 1 (level 4):

  • Biodiversity; lectures
  • Science in Practice; PASS tutorials

Stage 2 (Level 5):

  • Research Methods for Biological and Environmental Sciences; seminars
  • Molecular Biology; lectures
  • Genetics; lectures and practicals
  • Developmental Biology; lectures and seminars
  • Animal Behaviour; lectures

Stage 2 (Level 6):

  • Double module; Evolution and Animal Development; module leader; lectures, practicals and all marking
  • Environmental Change; lectures, mentoring NERC grant application proposals, and student seminars
  • Projects; statistics training session and supervision of project students
  • Independent Study in Life Sciences; supervision of students
  • Advanced Topics in Wildlife Conservation

Postgraduate Teaching and Supervision

  • Seminars and lectures on various postgraduate modules;BIOL7012 (Research Project on the MBiol Biology 80 credits;Module leader).

My teaching strongly reflects both my multidisciplinary research interests as well as my commitment to shaping and influencing curriculum development within the department. Furthermore, I have an excellent overview of the curriculum, teaching at all levels, including on almost all of the modules that are compulsory for Biology (BG) for which I am the subject coordinator, as well as supervision of undergraduate research projects. 


See research group members (current and alumnus) earlier.


Butterfly Ecological Evolutionary Developmental Biology

Within larger research groupings of: UoA5 -Cell and Developmental Biology, Ecology and Evolution, Genetics and Genomics

Much of life history theory has been developed without regard to the actual developmental genetic basis of the variation in the traits being investigated. My research aims, however, to achieve a synthesis of life history models with developmental genetic models of evolution. In particular, the main research strand in my lab is to investigate: how do mothers produce eggs and regulate the development of their offspring under different environmental conditions (including being subjected to insecticides), and what is the significance of transgenerational effects. Aspects of offspring development investigated include embryonic body axes formation, extra-embryonic tissue specification, formation and functionality, growth, reproduction and wing morphology. The approach taken in my lab is highly multidisciplinary, integrating ecology, evolution and developmental biology.

I use various butterfly species as my main model system, in particular the Speckled Wood butterfly (Pararge aegeria).  

Research Group Lab Members


  • Jay Hands (PhD student)


Research grants and awards

  • Research Excellence Award

Research projects

  • The evolution of Shx genes
  • The formation and functioning of the butterfly serosa
  • The effects of stress (i.e. drought, temperature extremes and insecticide use) on butterfly development
  • The effects of viral infections on butterfly wing development
  • Embryonic dorsal-ventral patterning in butterflies
  • Transgenerational effects

Research impact

Further information

Centres and institutes


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Professional information

Memberships of professional bodies

  • Academic Editor for PLOS ONE and Scientific Reports
  • Current Membership: Butterfly Conservation, British Society for Developmental Biology (BSDB), and Genetics Society.
  • Past Membership: European Society for Evolutionary Biology (ESEB), and Euro Evo Devo (EED)

I am also a Research Knowledge and Exchange Committee (RKEC) member since 2011.

Reviewer experience

  • Reviewer for the following journals: Trends in Ecology and Evolution, Evolution, Genetics, Genetica, PLOS ONE, BMC Genomics, BMC Evolutionary Biology, Proceedings of the Royal Society of London Series B, Belgian Journal of Zoology, Animal Behaviour, Mechanisms of Ageing and Development, Open Biology, Zootaxa, Experimental Gerontology, Oikos, American Naturalist, Heredity, Journal of Evolutionary Biology, Journal of Experimental Biology, Journal of Negative Results in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
  • Reviewer for textbooks published by Oxford University Press

Further details

Public awareness and outreach activities (past and present)

  • Science Bazaar
  • The ABC of Amazing Butterfly Colours (Oxfordshire Science Festival during National Science week)
  • Talks at local schools and presentations at nurseries
  • Oxford Festival of Nature 2016
  • Social media such as Twitter, Facebook and blogs
  • Invited Presentations at Upper Thames Branch annual members day of Butterfly Conservation as well as a national Butterfly Conservation meeting in 2016

For more information, please visit: Butterfly Tennis Balls!