Photo of Tom Sherratt

Tom Sherratt


Degrees:B.Sc. (Edinburgh), Ph.D. (Dundee)
Phone:613-520-2600 x 1748
Office:Office: 4655 CTTC Building
Lab: 4660 CTTC Building
Website:Visit my lab website


Research in Dr Sherratt’s laboratory centres on two main themes (a) the evolution of “weird” behavioural and morphological traits – such as cooperation among non-relatives and conspicuous warning signals and (b) how individual behaviour helps to shape the spatio-temporal dynamics of populations – such as the way the behaviour of individuals on encountering landscape features can help generate travelling waves.

Approximately half of the research conducted in the lab is of a theoretical nature. However we also conduct experimental research to complement and inform this theory. For instance, working with colleagues in the UK we have investigated density-dependent and sex-specific foraging behaviour of the northern gannet the dispersal behaviour of dragonflies and the use of tropical butterfly communities as indicators of ecological change .

Recent new interests include using artificial life systems to help test specific theories of the evolution and maintenance of warning signals, and the development of neural network models to quantitatively assess the extent of similarity between models and mimics.

Selected Publications


Sherratt, T.N. & D.M. Wilkinson (2009). Big Questions in Ecology and Evolution. Oxford University Press.

Ruxton G.D., T.N. Sherratt & M.P. Speed (2004). Avoiding attack: the evolutionary ecology of crypsis, warning signals and mimicry. Oxford University Press.


Hossie, T. J., Skelhorn, J., Breinholt, J. W., Kawahara, A. Y. & Sherratt, T. N. (2015). Body size affects the evolution of eyespots in caterpillars. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 112, 6664-6669.

Penney, H.D., Hassall, C., Skevington, J.H., Abbott, K.R. & Sherratt, T.N. (2012). A comparative analysis of the evolution of imperfect mimicry. Nature, 483, 461-4.

Sherratt, T.N. (2011). The optimal sampling strategy for unfamiliar prey. Evolution 65, 2014-2025.

Bain R.S., Rashed A., Cowper V.J., Gilbert F.S. & Sherratt T.N. (2007). The key mimetic features of hoverflies through avian eyes. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 274, 1949-1954.

Sherratt, T.N., Wilkinson, D.M. & Bain, R.S. (2005). Explaining Dioscorides’ “double difference”; why are some mushrooms poisonous and do they signal their unprofitability? The American Naturalist 66, 767-775

Beatty C.D., K. Beirinckx & T.N. Sherratt (2004). The evolution of mullerian mimicry in multispecies communities. Nature, 431, 63-67.

Sherratt T.N. & Beatty C.D. (2003). The evolution of warning signals as reliable indicators of prey defense. The American Naturalist 162, 377-389.

Sherratt J.A., Lambin X. & Sherratt T.N. (2003). The effects of the size and shape of landscape features on the information of traveling waves in cyclic populations. The American Naturalist 162, 503-513.

Lewis, S., T.N. Sherratt, K.C. Hamer & S. Wanless (2001). Evidence of intra-specific competition for food in a pelagic seabird. Nature 412, 816-819.

Roberts G. & Sherratt T.N. (1998). Development of cooperative relationships through increasing investment. Nature 394, 175-179