Christopher Hassall

Christopher Hassall
University of Leeds · Institute of Integrative and Comparative Biology

BSc, PhD

About

108
Publications
45,174
Reads
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3,305
Citations
Introduction
I am a researcher and teacher at the University of Leeds with a focus on ecology, evolutionary biology, and the environment. My work covers not only the fundamental processes and patterns in biology but also applied issues such as how humankind interacts with nature. My goals in my research are to provide an evidence-based approach to environmental management, and a greater understanding of how the natural world functions.
Additional affiliations
September 2012 - present
University of Leeds
Position
  • Lecturer in Animal Biology
September 2009 - September 2012
Carleton University
Position
  • PostDoc Position
September 2005 - August 2009
University of Liverpool
Position
  • PhD Student
Education
September 2005 - August 2009
University of Liverpool
Field of study
  • Environmental entomology
September 2002 - July 2005
University of Liverpool
Field of study
  • Zoology

Publications

Publications (108)
Preprint
Full-text available
Social learning strategies describe what, when, and from whom individuals choose to learn. Evidence suggests that both humans and animals are capable of strategic social learning. However, human research generally lacks ecological and spatial realism, making it difficult to understand the importance of our use of social information in an evolutiona...
Technical Report
Full-text available
Monitoring biodiversity is key to understanding what is changing and why. Recent developments in acoustic monitoring approaches have seen cheaper hardware, more advanced analytical tools, and moves towards standardisation of methods. However, the potential for acoustic monitoring to address key needs of policymakers has not yet been realised. In t...
Article
Full-text available
Contemporary analyses of insect population trends are based, for the most part, on a large body of heterogeneous and short‐term datasets of diurnal species that are representative of limited spatial domains. This makes monitoring changes in insect biomass and biodiversity difficult. What is needed is a method for monitoring that provides a consiste...
Article
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Electromagnetic modelling may be used as a tool for understanding the radar cross section (RCS) of volant animals. Here, we examine this emerging method in detail and delve deeper into the specifics of the modelling process for a single noctuid moth, with the hope of illuminating the importance of different aspects of the process by varying the mor...
Article
Full-text available
The use of plants in cities and the ecosystem services they provide has attracted increased attention both publicly and within the research literature. Increasingly, the value of urban green and blue space is being recognised for its multiple benefits to human wellness and ecological integrity. A quantitative assessment of studies considering natur...
Article
Full-text available
Selectively learning from specific types of individuals may be adaptive if demonstrator characteristics can be used to identify more beneficial sources of social information. Such “social learning biases” have been experimentally demonstrated in a number of species, but these experiments generally involve restricted laboratory conditions using a li...
Article
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Ponds are among the most biodiverse and ecologically important freshwater habitats globally and may provide a significant opportunity to mitigate anthropogenic pressures and reverse the decline of aquatic biodiversity. Ponds also provide important contributions to society through the provision of ecosystem services. Despite the ecological and socie...
Article
Full-text available
Freshwater ecosystems are under threat from habitat loss, partly due to urban expansion. However, some elements of urban freshwaters are already integral parts of the urban landscape and so are more resilient to loss, representing opportunities for the enhancement of freshwater resources within cities. This study investigated the biodiversity value...
Article
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Aim An understanding of how biotic communities are spatially organized is necessary to identify and prioritize habitats within landscape‐scale biodiversity conservation. Local contribution to beta diversity (LCBD) identifies individual habitats that make a significant contribution to beta diversity and may have important practical implications, par...
Article
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Technology is transforming societies worldwide. A major innovation is the emergence of robotics and autonomous systems(RAS), which have the potential to revolutionize cities for both people and nature. Nonetheless, the opportunities and challenges associated with RAS for urban ecosystems have yet to be considered systematically. Here, we report the...
Article
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Invasive species are one of the main causes of biodiversity loss worldwide. As introduced, populations increase in abundance and geographical range, so does the potential for negative impacts on native communities. As such, there is a need to better understand the processes driving range expansion as species become established in recipient landscap...
Article
Technology is transforming societies worldwide. A major innovation is the emergence of robotics and autonomous systems (RAS), which have the potential to revolutionize cities for both people and nature. Nonetheless, the opportunities and challenges associated with RAS for urban ecosystems have yet to be considered systematically. Here, we report th...
Article
Climate warming has caused the seasonal timing of many components of ecological food chains to advance. In the context of trophic interactions, the match–mismatch hypothesis postulates that differential shifts can lead to phenological asynchrony with negative impacts for consumers. However, at present there has been no consistent analysis of the li...
Article
Full-text available
Insects are reportedly experiencing widespread declines, but we generally have sparse data on their abundance. Correcting this shortfall will take more effort than professional entomologists alone can manage. Volunteer nature enthusiasts can greatly help to monitor the abundance of dragonflies and damselflies (Odonata), iconic freshwater sentinels...
Preprint
Climate warming has caused the seasonal timing of many components of ecological food chains to advance (Thackeray et al. 2010, 2016). In the context of trophic interactions the match-mismatch hypothesis (MMH) postulates that differential shifts can lead to phenological asynchrony with negative impacts for consumers (Cushing 1990). However, it is st...
Article
Full-text available
The human-assisted movement of species beyond their native range facilitates novel interactions between invaders and native species that can determine whether an introduced species becomes invasive and the nature of any consequences for native communities. Avoiding costly interactions through recognition and avoidance can be compromised by the naïv...
Article
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Connectivity is vital for the maintenance of spatially structured ecosystems, but is threatened by anthropogenic processes that degrade habitat networks. Thus, connectivity enhancement has become a conservation priority, with resources dedicated to enhancing habitat networks. However, much effort may be wasted on ineffective management, as conserva...
Article
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1. Many insect species are under threat from the anthropogenic drivers of global change. There have been numerous well‐documented examples of insect population declines and extinctions in the scientific literature, but recent weaker studies making extreme claims of a global crisis have drawn widespread media coverage and brought unprecedented publi...
Article
1. There is mounting concern over the conservation status and long‐term trends in insect populations. Many insect populations have been reported to be falling and many species are threatened with extinction. While this is true, the evidence does not support unqualified statements of ‘global insect decline’. Global environmental change does not affe...
Article
To survive and pass on their genes, animals must perform many tasks that affect their fitness, such as mate-choice, foraging, and predator avoidance. The ability to make rapid decisions is dependent on the information that needs to be sampled from the environment and how it is processed. We highlight the need to consider visual attention within sen...
Article
Full-text available
Connectivity is vital for the maintenance of spatially structured ecosystems, but is threatened by anthropogenic processes that degrade habitat networks. Thus, connectivity enhancement has become a conservation priority, with resources dedicated to enhancing habitat networks. However, much effort may be wasted on ineffective management, as conserva...
Article
The critical importance of wilderness areas (WAs) for biodiversity conservation and human well-being is well established yet mapping criteria on which WA management policies are based take neither into account. Current WA mapping methods are framed in terms of absence of anthropogenic influence, and created using visual satellite data, obviating co...
Article
Full-text available
Biological responses to climate change have been widely documented across taxa and regions, but it remains unclear whether species are maintaining a good match between phenotype and environment, i.e. whether observed trait changes are adaptive. Here we reviewed 10,090 abstracts and extracted data from 71 studies reported in 58 relevant publications...
Article
Assessment of freshwater ecosystems is crucial for measuring their ecological status and providing primary information for their conservation. This editorial introduces a special section of Inland Waters regarding the study of ecological monitoring and biodiversity conservation of inland waters. Papers in this special section of Inland Waters are b...
Article
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Analysis of discourse between stakeholders is becoming increasingly recognised for its importance in resolving conflicts of opinion regarding complex environmental issues such as the human‐mediated spread of invasive non‐native species—one of the major drivers of biodiversity loss world‐wide. Species’ attributes, stakeholders’ level of knowledge, p...
Article
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The findings of a national workshop that explored the social and environmental impacts, challenges, and research opportunities associated with the role of urban freshwaters for improved public health are discussed. Bringing together the collective expertise of academics, practitioners, policy, and user‐groups from urban aquatic ecology and human he...
Article
Dragonflies and damselflies (the Odonata) are among the most efficient flying insects. However, fragmentation of the landscape can increase distance between habitats and affect costs of dispersal, thus shaping phenotypic patterns of flight-related traits, such as wing shape, wing loading and wing size. Urban landscapes are highly fragmented, which...
Article
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Individual foraging site fidelity (IFSF) has been documented in a wide range of species, but few studies have examined the incidence or implications of variation among individuals in levels of fidelity, especially among short-ranging species where costs of travel place fewer constraints on exploring alternative foraging sites. Using combined GPS an...
Article
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Contemporary epidemiological methods testing the associations between green space and psychological well-being treat all vegetation cover as equal. However, there is very good reason to expect that variations in ecological "quality" (number of species, integrity of ecological processes) may influence the link between access to green space and benef...
Article
Climate-induced changes in spatial and temporal occurrence of species, as well as species traits such as body size, each have the potential to decouple symbiotic relationships. Past work has focused primarily on direct interactions, particularly those between predators and prey and between plants and pollinators, but studies have rarely demonstrate...
Article
Full-text available
Environmental change is expected to increase the frequency and severity of problems caused by harmful algal blooms. We investigated the ecology of phytoplankton blooms in UK canals to determine the environmental predictors and spatial structure of bloom communities. The results revealed a significant increase in bloom presence with increasing eleva...
Article
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Methods to reduce the introduction and spread of Invasive Alien Species (IAS) are key to reducing the economic, environmental and social impacts of IAS. IAS propagules can be moved around accidentally on clothing and equipment used in agriculture, transport, trade and recreation. Campaigns to slow the spread of aquatic IAS encourage water users to...
Article
Recent 'New Conservation' approaches called for more ecosystem services (ES) emphasis in conservation. We analysed data from 3757 Natura 2000 special protection areas (SPAs) and translated positive and negative impacts listed by conservation managers into indicators of the use of nine provisioning, regulating and cultural ES. Overall, the use of ES...
Article
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There is growing recognition of the essential services provided to humanity by functionally intact ecosystems. Freshwater ecosystems are found throughout agricultural and urban landscapes and provide a wide range of ecosystem services, but globally they are also amongst the most vulnerable. In particular, ponds (lentic waters typically less than 2h...
Preprint
Ecological traps occur when environmental cues become unreliable, causing an evolutionary mismatch between features of the environment and expected outcome that leads to suboptimal behavioural responses and, ultimately, reduced fitness. Ecological traps arise due to anthropogenic disturbance in the environment introducing novel elements that mimic...
Article
Full-text available
Despite the existence of well-established international environmental and nature conservation policies (e.g., the Ramsar Convention and Convention on Biological Diversity) ponds are largely missing from national and international legislation and policy frameworks. Ponds are among the most biodiverse and ecologically important freshwater habitats, a...
Article
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PurposeUrbanisation is a leading cause of biotic homogenisation in urban ecosystems. However, there has been little research examining the effect of urbanisation and biotic homogenisation on aquatic communities, and few studies have compared findings across different urban landscapes. We assessed the processes that structure aquatic macroinvertebra...
Article
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ABSTRACT: Dikerogammarus haemobaphes is a non-native amphipod in UK freshwaters. Studies identify this species as a low-impact invader in the UK, relative to its cousin Dikerogammarus villosus. It has been suggested that regulation by symbionts (such as Microsporidia) could explain this difference of impact. The effect of parasitism upon D. haemoba...
Article
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Noise is one of a wide range of disturbances associated with human activities that have been shown to have detrimental impacts on a wide range of species, from montane regions to the deep marine environment. Noise may also have community-level impacts via predator–prey interactions, thus jeopardising the stability of trophic networks. However, the...
Article
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1. As conservation increasingly recognises the importance of species’ functional roles in ecosystem processes, studies are shifting away from measuring species richness towards measures that account for the functional differences between species in a community. These functional diversity (FD) indices have received much recent attention and refineme...
Article
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Global biodiversity is threatened by multiple anthropogenic stressors but little is known about the combined effects of environmental warming and invasive species on ecosystem functioning. We quantified thermal preferences and then compared leaf-litter processing rates at eight different temperatures (5.0–22.5 °C) by the invasive freshwater crustac...
Article
1. The evolutionary advantages that have driven the evolution of sex are still very much debated, and a number of benefits of parthenogenesis over sexual reproduction have been proposed. In particular, parthenogenetic individuals are thought to exhibit higher probabilities of establishment following arrival in new, isolated habitats such as islands...
Article
Full-text available
Urbanisation is one of the major drivers of ecosystem change and includes increased temperatures in cities leading to an urban heat island (UHI). This study quantified the phenological response of odonates across London, UK, from 1990 to 2012, using a database of 1,031,277 historical sightings. The ordinal flight dates of each species were used to...
Article
Full-text available
Open educational resources (OERs) are becoming increasingly common as a tool in education, particularly in medical and biomedical education. However, three key barriers have been identified to their use: (i) lack of awareness of OERs, (ii) lack of motivation to use OERs, and (iii) lack of training in the use of OERs. Here, we explore these three ba...
Article
Temperature, geo-residential pattern of subpopulations, prevalence of infectious diseases, and UV radiation have been proposed to explain the declining cognitive ability observed with proximity to the equator in the USA. This study tested the cognitive effects of the four variables. The results reveal that the latitudinal decline of cognitive abili...
Article
Full-text available
Age-related declines in survival and function (senescence) were thought not to exist in wild populations as organisms, and particularly in invertebrates, do not live long enough. While, recent evidence has demonstrated that senescence is both common and measurable even in wild populations under field conditions, there are still organisms that are t...
Article
Full-text available
Urbanization is a global process contributing to the loss and fragmentation of natural habitats. Many studies have focused on the biological response of terrestrial taxa and habitats to urbanization. However, little is known regarding the consequences of urbanization on freshwater habitats, especially small lentic systems. In this study, we examine...
Article
The degree of similarity between Batesian mimics and their models varies widely and occurs across a range of sensory modalities. We use three complementary experimental paradigms to investigate acoustic mimicry in hoverflies (Diptera: Syrphidae) which mimic stinging Hymenoptera. First, we analyse sounds made by 13 hoverfly species and 9 Hymenoptera...
Article
An understanding of ecological and evolutionary responses to global environmental change requires both a robust measurement of the change that is occurring and a mechanistic framework for understanding the drivers of that change. Such a requirement provides a challenge because biological monitoring is often ad hoc, and mechanistic experiments are o...
Chapter
This book brings together examples of research at the cutting edge of urban landscape ecology across multiple contexts that investigate the state, maintenance and restoration of healthy and functional natural environments across urban and peri-urban landscapes. An explicit focus is on urban landscapes in contrast to other books which have considere...
Article
Full-text available
The expansion of urban areas is one of the most significant anthropogenic impacts on the natural landscape. Due to their sensitivity to stressors in both aquatic and terrestrial habitats, dragonflies and damselflies (the Odonata) may provide insights into the effects of urbanisation on biodiversity. However, while knowledge about the impacts of urb...
Article
Full-text available
This study compared the life histories of Hemidactylus frenatus, a significant invasive gecko, and Phyllodactylus palmeus, a Honduran endemic, over 10 wk, June–August 2013 at 12 study sites on the Honduran island of Cayo Menor of the Cayo Cochinos archipelago where H. frenatus arrived in 2008. Three different life-history traits related to invasion...
Article
Full-text available
Geographical patterns in body size have been described across a wide range of species, leading to the development of a series of fundamental biological rules. However, shape variables are less well-described despite having substantial consequences for organism performance. Wing aspect ratio (AR) has been proposed as a key shape parameter that deter...
Article
Full-text available
Recent examples of actuarial senescence in wild insect populations have challenged the long-held assumption that the brevity of wild insect life spans precludes senescence. We investigate age-related patterns in mating behaviour in adults of a short-lived damselfly, Coenagrion puella and the implications of this mating. Using capture histories for...
Article
Full-text available
The value of ponds in urban areas historically has been overlooked. While some recent studies have described considerable biodiversity in urban areas, it is unclear as to how far this extends to different urban habitats. The aims of this study were to determine the condition of 21 urban ponds in Bradford (northern England) and to quantify the conne...
Article
Many investigators have described a footprint of global environmental change in macroecological trends across multiple taxa. However, little comparative analysis has been done to evaluate whether some taxa are responding more than others. I tested 2 hypotheses: 1) taxa vary strongly in terms of range shifts and phenological advances in their respon...
Preprint
Full-text available
Geographical patterns in body size have been described across a wide range of species, leading to the development of a series of fundamental biological rules. However, shape variables are less well-described despite having substantial consequences for organismal performance. Wing aspect ratio (AR) has been proposed as a key shape parameter that det...
Preprint
Full-text available
Geographical patterns in body size have been described across a wide range of species, leading to the development of a series of fundamental biological rules. However, shape variables are less well-described despite having substantial consequences for organismal performance. Wing aspect ratio (AR) has been proposed as a key shape parameter that det...
Article
Full-text available
Urban freshwaters provide a range of ecosystem services, including stormwater management, water treatment, biodiversity, and aesthetics. Management of freshwaters should aim to maximise as many of these services as possible, but managers are often focused on individual services. To test for the biodiversity value of stormwater management ponds (SMP...