Centre for Behaviour and Evolution

Staff Profile

Dr Colin Tosh

Lecturer - Ecology, Evolution, Computational Biology



Previous Positions

2015-present: Lecturer - Ecology, Evolution, Computational Biology

2010-2015: NERC Advanced Fellowship, School of Biology, University of Newcastle

2007-2010: Postdoctoral Research Assistant, Institute of Integrative and Comparative Biology, University of Leeds

2004-2007: Postdoctoral Research Assistant, Division of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Glasgow

2001-2003: Postdoctoral Research Assistant, Division of Biology Ecology and Evolution, Imperial College Silwood Park

1999-2000: DEFRA-CSL, York

1994-1998: DPhil, Department of Biology, University of York

1990-1994: BSc, School of Biology, University of St Andrews

Google Scholar profile: http://scholar.google.co.uk/citations?user=vmnj3HwAAAAJ&hl=en


Research Interests

Most of what I do, in one way or another, relates to how organisms respond to environmental complexity and diversity. I have considered how predator targeting accuracy varies with prey group size and complexity (the confusion effect), how niche width may evolve to cope with the demands of a complex sensory environment, and I am beginning to look at the impacts of diversity in agroecosystems on animal behaviour. I use a mixture of computational modelling (esp. neural networks) and laboratory-based experiments on animal behaviour. Most of my lab work at the moment focusses on Drosophila melanogaster and the whitefly plant pest, Trialeurodes vaporariorum.

Visit my Google Scholar profile.


Major Research Grants

Leverhulme Research Project Grant, 2017-2020, Holder: Colin Tosh

Predator-prey and prey-prey interactions driven by predator visual attention

NERC Advanced Fellowship, 2010-2015, Holder: Colin Tosh

The role of decision accuracy in the evolution of niche width

NERC Responsive Research Grant, 2006-2009, PI: Jens Krause (University of Homboldt), Res Co-I: Colin Tosh

Predator-prey interactions and the evolution of prey aggregation

BBSRC Responsive Research Grant, 2007-2010, PI: Peter Mayhew (University of York)

Understanding the constraints on sex ratio adaptation using artificial neural networks

More info HERE 

Research Group (more info here)

Dan Reed, Leverhulme funded postdoc: The role of predator visual attention in prey choice of predators

Niall Conboy, BBSRC-CASE PhD Student: Chemical ecological protection of tomato by synergising plant priming and pest deterrence


Conboy, Niall JA, et al. "Companion planting with French marigolds protects tomato plants from glasshouse whiteflies through the emission of airborne limonene." PloS one 14.3 (2019): e0213071. get it

Times http://bit.ly/2IOBx0d

I News http://bit.ly/2XCmQ3O

BBC Radio Newcastle https://bbc.in/2XBlOF9 (listen from 21:57)

Press release http://bit.ly/2NDX6j1

Tosh, CR, Brogan, B Control of tomato whiteflies using the confusion effect of plant odours. Agronomy for Sustainable Development, 35, pp183-193, 2015 (open access) get it

Herald Scotland - Vegetable planto protect plants

Daily Mail - How to keep the tomato bugs at bay

The Telegraph - How to confuse whitefly into staying away from your plants

NERC Planet Earth Magazine- Smelly plants could be natural pest control

McDaniel T, Tosh CR, Gatehouse AMR, George D, Robson M, Brogan B. Novel resistance mechanisms of a wild tomato against the glasshouse whitefly. Agronomy for Sustainable Development 2016, 36(1), 14 get it

New York Times - Wild tomatoes repel whiteflies, study finds

The Sun - Sexy Veg Pest Fear (11/02/2016)

The Chronicle - Newcastle University research shows that modern tomatoes are a soft touch for pests

Farming Online - Scientists recommend breeding wildness back into tomatoes

Older Press

I am a member of the Editorial  Board in Ecology and Evolution for the Nature journal, Scientific Reports.



Year 1 Undergraduate Evolution (BIO1005), 4 Lectures/year

Year 1 Biology in Action (BIO1010) - Tutor

Year 2 Biodiversity, Ecology and Conservation (BIO2028), 12 lectures/year

Year 3 Behavioural Ecology (BIO3044), module leader