Dr Michael Morrissey:
Research Fellow

Research Overview:

lab webpage: Evolutionary Quantitative Genetics

Evolutionary statistical quantitative genetics, or, analysis of longitudinal data from populations of unmanipulated animals

Some of the most valuable data for understanding how evolution works in natural populations is individual-based longitudinal data from pedigreed populations.  Longitudinal data on individuals provides possibilities to link aspects of phenotype to life histories and fitness.  Pedigree data allows inference of the genetic basis of variation in phenotypic traits, based on patterns of similarity of relatives.

With collaborators at the University of Edinburgh and elsewhere, a portion of my research revolves around the study of the selection and genetics of a range of traits in Soay sheep from St Kilda (pictured) and other long-term animal datasets from around the world.

Evolutionary genetic theory

I use analytical and computational approaches to understanding what patterns of genetic variation are expected in nature, and also of how to interpret observed patterns in microevolutionary parameters, including both aspects of genetics and selection.  I have an ongoing interest in the patterns of genetic variation that are generated by complex landscape arrangements, especially in dendritic systems, which characterize all freshwater landscapes.  I have recently been working on the interpretation of relationships between phenotypic traits and fitness mean in terms “chains of causation” in the context of characterizing the form of natural selection.

Software for empirical microevolutionary studies in nature

Analysis of data from natural populations is often very challenging.  Datasets are often incomplete due to practical realities such as limited molecular information to resolve pedigrees, and/or imperfect detection of individuals for recording of life history information.  I work on developing statistical tools to link fundamental evolutionary genetic theory to real data from the field.  R packages include pedantics, and gsg.


5 (of 46 /dk/atira/pure/researchoutput/status/published available) for mbm5 (source: University of St Andrews PURE)
Please click title of any item for full details

No evidence that warmer temperatures are associated with selection for smaller body sizes Adam M. Siepielski, Michael Blair Morrissey, Stephanie M. Carlson, Clinton D. Francis, Joel G. Kingsolver, Kenneth D. Whitney, Loeske E. B. Kruuk
Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 2019 vol. 286
The role of selection and evolution in changing parturition date in a red deer population Timothée Bonnet, Michael Blair Morrissey, Alison Morris, Sean Morris, Tim H. Clutton-Brock, Josephine M. Pemberton, Loeske E. B. Kruuk
PLoS Biology 2019 vol. 17
Fixed-effect variance and the estimation of repeatabilities and heritabilities P. de Villemereuil, Michael Blair Morrissey, S. Nakagawa, H. Schielzeth
Journal of Evolutionary Biology 2018 vol. 31 pp. 621-632
Individual variation in reproductive behaviour is linked to temporal heterogeneity in predation risk Miguel Maria Borges Da Costa Guint Barbosa, Amy Elizabeth Deacon, Indar Ramnarine, Michael Blair Morrissey, Anne Magurran
Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 2018 vol. 285
Multiple regressions: the meaning of multiple regression and the non-problem of collinearity Michael Blair Morrissey, Graeme Douglas Ruxton
Philosophy, Theory and Practice in Biology 2018 vol. 10