Dr Simon Evans

Dr Simon Evans


Name: Dr Simon Evans
Position: EGI Resercher and Research Coordinator (Maternity cover)
Email: simon.evans@ieu.uzh.ch

Short biography: My PhD focused on understanding plumage colour variation in a population of great tits in Bagley Wood, near Oxford. I also instigated collaboration with Prof. Lars Gustafsson and, after graduating, took up a postdoc position with him at Uppsala University to study the quantitative genetics of ornament expression in collared flycatchers. In 2015, I moved to the University of Zurich to join Dr Erik Postma’s study of a modern human population, based on an extensive genealogical archive or residents in the Swiss canton of Glarus. I’ve now switched back to birds, coordinating the long-term study of great tits in Wytham Woods and dabbling in more quantitative genetics.

Research activities: Since being introduced to animal modelling during my PhD, I’ve focused on the quantitative genetics of wild populations, based on long-term study populations. Recently, I’ve been using animal models to infer evolution of trait means in animal and human populations. But I am also increasingly interested in how the summary overview presented by a ‘classical’ quantitative genetics study can be expanded, for example by considering the spatiotemporal dynamics of additive genetic effects, or the possibility that elements of the environment are themselves heritable (i.e., indirect genetic effects).

 While at the EGI, I will use genomic data from the long-running population study of Wytham Woods great tits to better understand the relatedness structure of immigrant birds.


Evans, S. R., Waldvogel D., Vasiljevic, N. & Postma, E. (in press). Heritable spouse effects increase evolutionary potential of human reproductive timing. Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

Evans, S. R. & Gustafsson, L. (2017). Climate change upends selection on ornamentation in a wild bird. Nature Ecology & Evolution, 1: 0039 (doi10.1038/s41559-016-0039).

Evans, S. R. (2016). Gauging the purported costs of public data archiving for long-term population studies. PLoS Biology, 14: e1002432 (doi: 10.1371/journal.pbio.1002432).

Evans, S. R. (2015). Sports doping vastly underestimated. Nature, 519: 33 (doi: 10.1038/519033b).

Evans, S. R. & Sheldon, B. C. (2015). Colour in a new light: a spectral perspective on the quantitative genetics of carotenoid coloration. Functional Ecology, 29: 96-103 (doi: 10.1111/1365-2435.12297).

Evans, S. R. Schielzeth, H., Forstmeier, W., Sheldon, B. C. & Husby, A. (2014). Nonautosomal genetic variation in carotenoid coloration. The American Naturalist, 184: 374-383 (doi: 10.1086/677397).

Evans, S. R. & Sheldon, B. C. (2013). Pigments versus structure: examining the mechanism of age-dependent change in a carotenoid-based colour. Journal of Animal Ecology, 82, 418-428 (doi: 10.1111/1365-2656.12008).

Evans, S. R., Summers, A. G. R. & Sheldon, B. C. (2012). Seasonality of carotenoid-based plumage coloration: modelling wavelength-specific change through spectral reconstruction. Journal of Avian Biology, 43: 234-243 (doi: 10.1111/j.1600-048X.2012.05654.x).

Evans, S. R. & Sheldon, B. C. (2012). Quantitative genetics of a carotenoid-based color: heritability and persistent natal environmental effects in the great tit. The American Naturalist, 179: 79-94 (doi: 10.1086/663198).

Evans, S. R., Gustafsson, L. & Sheldon, B. C. (2011). Divergent patterns of age-dependence in ornamental and reproductive traits in the collared flycatcher. Evolution, 65: 1623-1636 (doi: 10.1111/j.1558-5646.2011.01253.x).

Evans, S. R., Hinks, A. E., Wilkin, T. A. & Sheldon, B. C. (2010). Age, sex and beauty: methodological dependence of age- and sex-dichromatism in the great tit Parus major. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 101: 777-796 (doi: 10.1111/j.1095-8312.2010.01548.x).

Ager, D., Evans, S. R., Li, H., Lilley, A. & van der Gast, C. J. (2009). Anthropogenic disturbance affects the structure of bacterial communities. Environmental Microbiology, 12: 670-678 (doi: 10.1111/j.1462-2920.2009.02107.x).

Evans, S. R. & Sheldon, B. C. (2008). Interspecific patterns of genetic diversity in birds: correlations with extinction risk. Conservation Biology, 22: 1016-1025 (doi: 10.1111/j.1523-1739.2008.00972.x).

Evans, S. R., Finnie, M. & Manica, A. (2007). Shoaling preferences in decapod crustacea. Animal Behaviour 74: 1691-1696 (doi: 10.1016/j.anbehav.2007.03.017).