Trinity College Dublin

Skip to main content.

Top Level TCD Links

Complex Ecological and Evolutionary Systems

Home | Research group | Opportunities | Publications | Projects | Outreach | EcoEvo@TCD blog
Andrew L Jackson, Evolutionary Ecologist Trinity College Dublin

photo of andrew jackson

Dr Andrew Jackson
Associate Professor

Dr Andrew L Jackson

Leader of the Complex Ecological and Evolutionary Systems research group & Principal Investigator in the Ecological and Evolutionary Networks cluster, Behavioural and Evolutionary Ecology Group

Research Interests

My research interests lie in understanding ecological systems from an evolutionary perspective. I tend to approach these questions by using computational / mathematical models to understand how the nuts and bolts of these sytsems work. Much of my current research focuses on understanding interactions among individual animals living in close proximity. These situations are well suited to analysis and simulation in computer models where each individual animal can be represented as an automaton which interacts with its local neighbours or physico-chemical environment according to some simple set of rules. Recently I have been working on group foraging behaviour when food is scarce and have been particularly interested in vultures as a theme with considerable conservation motivation. My interests also extend to community ecology where the challenge is to understand how communities of organisms and species compete and interact with what is often a self-organising and stable system. I have several projects running at the moment on a variety of topics.

Selected Publications

Donohue, I., Hillebrand, H., Montoya, J.M., Petchey, O.L., Pimm, S.L., Fowlwer, M.S., Healy, K., Jackson, A.L., Lurgi, M., McClean, D., O'Connor, N.E., O'Gorman, E.J. & Yang, Q. 2016. Navigating the complexity of ecological stability, Ecology Letters, 19(9), 1172-1185. doi

Kane, A.D., Healy, K., Ruxton, G.D. & Jackson, A.L. 2016. Body Size as a Driver of Scavenging in Theropod Dinosaurs. American Naturalist, 187(6), 706-716 doi

photograph of vulture coming in to land from front cover of PRSB October Issue

Kane, A., Jackson, A.L., Ogada, D.L., Monadjem, A. & McNally, L. 2014. Vultures acquire information on carcass location from scavenging eagles. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B, 281 (1793) doi

Phillips, D.L., Inger, R., Bearhop, S., Jackson, A.L., Moore, J.W., Parnell, A.C., Semmens, B.X. & Ward, E.J. 2014. Best practices for use of stable isotope mixing models in food web studies. Canadian Journal of Zoology, 92(10), 823-835 doi / pre-print

Access the recommendation on F1000Prime

Healy, K., McNally, L., Ruxton, G.D., Cooper, N. & Jackson, A.L. 2013. Metabolic rate and body size are linked with perception of temporal information. Animal Behaviour, 86(4), 685-696 doi

Jackson, A.L., Parnell, A.C., Inger R., & Bearhop, S. 2011. Comparing isotopic niche widths among and within communities: SIBER – Stable Isotope Bayesian Ellipses in R. Journal of Animal Ecology, 80, 595-602 doi

Parnell, A.C., Inger R., Bearhop, S. & Jackson, A.L. 2010. Source partitioning using stable isotopes: coping with too much variation. PLoS ONE, 5(3), e9672 doi (Open Access)

» full list of publications


There are several personal awards available in Ireland (e.g. IRCSET) that allow people to pursue a PhD or post-doctoral research through scholarships nd fellowships. I am open to suggestions if someone has specific ideas (preferably but not exclusively with some modelling element) about what they want to do, or some possible areas include:

  • Development of new metrics of community structure - in particular developing mathematical, statistical or computational models of community stability in collaboration with Ian Donohue.
  • Linking ecological processes explicitly to the movement of stable isotope tracers in ecosystems. This project would combine Lotka-Volterra models of population dyanmics, with models simulating the movement and fractionation of stable isotopes during assimilation.
  • Linking specialism and generalism to patterns in stable isotope tracers. This project would involve individual based models of consumers in order to determine how different foraging strategies might manifest in the stable isotope patterns of the population.
  • The evolution of temporal processing of visual information. This project would follow on from our paper "Metabolic rate and body size arelinked with perception of temporal information" and would involve building individual based models of predator-prey interactions coupled with an evolving artificial neural network to recreate the flicker-fusion phenomenon.



Mail: Zoology Building, School of Natural Sciences, Trinity College Dublin, Dublin 2, Ireland
Email: a.jackson(at), Tel: + 353 1 896 2728, Fax: + 353 1 6778094

Last updated 14 March 2017 by