Dr Oliver Tills
Teaching and Research Associate (Marine Biology)
School of Biological & Marine Sciences (Faculty of Science & Engineering)
Teaching and Research Associate in the School of Biological and Marine Science
PhD Marine Science
MRes Marine Biology
BSc Marine Biology and Coastal Ecology
My research is focussed on variation in the timing of embryonic developmental events within species. Evolution occurs through changes in the way organisms develop and therefore understanding how these changes occur is fundamental to understanding development, ecology and evolution. Changes in the timing of development between species (heterochrony) has been widely documented and has been proposed by some scientists as the main mechanism of evolution.
To facilitate this research we have designed and built unique automated bio-imaging systems. These systems allow us to perform high resolution (temporal and spatial) time-lapse bio-imaging throughout the development of large numbers of aquatic embryos. This capacity is unique and provides a powerful tool for studying how organisms during their early life stages are shaped, and respond to, changes in their environment. The technology has been applied to studying the responses of a wide range of aquatic species to different environments, and to how these responses change during embryonic development.
We have developed novel motion analysis software, adding automated analytical function to our bio-imaging hardware. Our goal is to develop fully automated high-dimensional-organismal-phenotyping capacity and we are focussing our efforts on achieving this via a range of analytical methods.
See http://vimeo.com/channels/embryonicdevelopment for videos of developing aquatic embryos produced in our lab. See also www.discoverosmosis.com, our proof of concept digital learning resource developed for Discovery Learning in secondary schools.
Key publications are highlightedJournals
2018 'Thermal strategies vary with life history stage' Journal of Experimental Biology 221, (Pt 8) , DOI PEARL
2018 'Short-term acclimation in adults does not predict offspring acclimation potential to hypoxia' SCIENTIFIC REPORTS 8, , DOI PEARL
2017 'An Annotated Draft Genome for Radix auricularia (Gastropoda, Mollusca)' Genome Biology and Evolution 9, (3) 585-592 , DOI PEARL
2017 'De novo transcriptome assembly of the amphipod Gammarus chevreuxi exposed to chronic hypoxia' Marine Genomics 33, 17-19 , DOI
2016 'Reduced pH affects pulsing behaviour and body size in ephyrae of the moon jellyfish, Aurelia aurita' Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 480, 54-61 , DOI
2016 'Embryonic transcriptome of the brackishwater amphipod Gammarus chevreuxi' Marine Genomics 28, 5-6 , DOI
2015 'An embryonic transcriptome of the pulmonate snail Radix balthica' Marine Genomics 24, 259-260 , DOI
2014 'Combining motion analysis and microfluidics--a novel approach for detecting whole-animal responses to test substances' PLoS One 9, (12) , DOI PEARL
2013 'Variance in developmental event timing is greatest at low biological levels: implications for heterochrony' BIOLOGICAL JOURNAL OF THE LINNEAN SOCIETY 110, (3) 581-590 , DOI
2013 'Parent--offspring similarity in the timing of developmental events: an origin of heterochrony?' Proc Biol Sci 280, (1769) , DOI
2013 'A novel application of motion analysis for detecting stress responses in embryos at different stages of development' BMC Bioinformatics 14, 37-37 Publisher Site , DOI
2013 'A novel application of motion analysis for detecting stress responses in embryos at different stages of development' BMC Bioinformatics 14, , DOI PEARL
2013 'A novel application of motion analysis for detecting stress responses in embryos at different stages of development' BMC Bioinformatics 14, , DOI
2011 'A genetic basis for intraspecific differences in developmental timing?' EVOLUTION & DEVELOPMENT 13, (6) 542-548 , DOI
2011 'Studying the altered timing of physiological events during development: it's about time…or is it?' Respir Physiol Neurobiol 178, (1) 3-12 , DOI
2010 'Salinity-induced heterokairy in an upper-estuarine population of the snail Radix balthica (Mollusca: Pulmonata)' AQUATIC BIOLOGY 9, (1) 95-105 , DOI
Other academic activities
Finalist for the award - Postgraduate Research Student of the Year 2011
Videos of developing aquatic embryos produced in our lab