MSc research projects

An important part of the course is the four month research project. Get inspiration from some of our past research projects.

Some students will start the MSc with an idea for their research project while others develop ideas during the taught part of the course. We offer as wide as possible a choice of projects so that students may gain additional specialised expertise in their chosen areas. 

Browse some research projects undertaken by students in the past years. Jump to:

Taxonomy and systematics

  • Cladistic and biogeographical analysis of the ultralong-tongued hawkmoths
  • The morphological and molecular systematics of ichthyophis (Amphibia: Gymnophiona) of India
  • A survey of pelvic-girdle anatomy and its phylogenetic significance in pseudochromid fishes (Teleostei: Pseudochromidae)
  • Selaginella flora of tropical East Africa: Isophyllous species characters
  • Tiger beetle chaetotaxy: a qualitative approach to character coding
  • A revision of the Bitaeniatus chameleon group (Hillenius 1959) with special reference to biogeographic origins and implications
  • A metacladistic analysis of cricetid and murid rodents


  • Phylogeny of mosquitoes of the pyretophorus series of Anopheles subgenus Cellia (Diptera:Culicidae)
  • Phylogeny and the evolution of reproductive mode in gall inducing cynipid wasps
  • Phylogeny and osteology of Lepidocephalus cf. macrochir (Pisces, Ostariophysi, Cobitidae), and the interrelationships among cobitid genera
  • A revision of the phylogenetic relationships of the oriental lizard genera of the family Agamidae (Reptilia: Lacertilia)
  • Novel phylogenetic characters in ichneumonoid wasps (Hymenoptera) discovered by microscopic observation from biochemical analyses of cocoons
  • A phylogeny of the Aphodiinae (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae) and discussion of the evolution of termitophilous behaviour within the group

Biodiversity and conservation

  • On the use of phylogenetic distinctiveness as a surrogate for genetic distinctiveness when selecting priority taxa for ex situ conservation
  • Biodiversity in Angola: providing baseline data before disturbance
  • Biodiversity: integrating geography and phylogeny
  • Spatial patterns in the population sizes of bird species
  • Extinction debts caused by deforestation on islands and mainland Africa. A study of three clades; Chiroptera, Insectivora and Primates
  • Measuring the taxonomic stability of major groups
  • Conservation genetics of the endangered tiger beetle Cicindela limbata
  • The role of microcosms as models for global ecosystems

Molecular systematics

  • A combined phylogenetic analysis of morphological and molecular characters in tiger beetles (genus Cicindela)
  • Molecular taxonomy of the freshwater snail Lymnaea natalensis on Madagascar
  • Tribal relationships within the Aphodiinae dung beetles and some taxonomic problems in the genus Aphodius
  • A molecular phylogeny of the North Atlantic deep-sea fish parasites (flukes) in the genus Lepidapedon
  • Molecular phylogeny and biogeography of fig pollinating wasps
  • Human endogenous retrovirus evolution
  • The molecular evolution of an island radiation: Neocicindela tiger beetles from New Zealand
  • A molecular phylogeny of the Chaetodontidae (Pisces: Perciformes), with reference to biogeography and feeding

Molecular ecology

  • The parasitoids of Pegomya (Diptera: Anthomyiidae) on Rumex (Polygonaceae): aspects of their ecology and systematics
  • Developing microsatellite markers for forest pests in the bark beetle genus Ips
  • Population dynamics trends in aquatic beetles of the genera Agabus and Hydrophilus
  • Inferring the evolution of 17- and 13- year synchronized periodicity in Magicicada species (Homoptera: Cicadidae)
  • Pheromone race evolution of the North American bark beetle, Ips pini (Say) (Coleoptera: Scolytidae)


  • Phylogeny and stratigraphy of the post-Jurassic nautiloids (superfamily Nautilaceae)
  • A comparative study of evolutionary rates and preservation probability - an explanation for the phylogenetic fuse?


  • Comparative analysis of mitochondrial genome structure in schistosomes
  • Variation in the relative abundances of Phlebotomine sandflies in Granada Province, Spain, with respect to habitat, bioclimate and environmental change
  • Multiple infection and horizontal transfer of Wolbachia bacteria in Drosophila spp. and their parasitoids
  • A molecular phylogeny of disease carrying snails of the genus Biomphalaria