Stephanie McClelland

Stephanie McClelland

Profile Display Name:

Stephanie McClelland

E-mail Address:

Start Year

2017 (Cohort 4)

Research interests:
Hobbies and interests:

PhD Project
PhD Title

Evolution of embryonic development in brood parasites

Research Theme

Evolution and Adaptation

Primary Supervisor
Primary Institution


Secondary Supervisor
Secondary Institution



Brood parasites are species that lay their eggs in the nest of another (host) species. These host species then unwittingly raise the parasites offspring as their own. In order to monopolise the parental care, upon hatching many species will evict any other eggs or chicks in the nest. This requires a huge amount of strength to lift the eggs over the edge and out of the nest. To possess this strength upon hatching suggest that these species have evolved to under go a different process of embryo development within the egg than other altricial species. Although the parasitic species is constrained to similar egg sizes and incubation length as it’s host species, it is unknown how they alter their development to achieve this peculiar physiology.

This project aims to explore this in a range of convergently evolved parasitic species, using experiments that will focus on the degree of embryonic movements during development, gas exchange and metabolic rate during incubation. Mathematical models will then be constructed to formulate evolutionary theory about how such traits evolved and are maintained, particularly in those species where there is gentes, and those where the adults never see their own offspring.

Policy Impact
Background Reading



Social Links
University Departmental Website:

Personal Website:





Stay informed

Click here to subscribe to our RSS newsletter by email.

Find Us

University College London is the administrative lead.

North-West Wing, UCL, Gower Street, London, WC1E 6BT

Follow us on Twitter