Aurelio Malo

Senior Research Associate

Biology Lecturer and Tutor at St. Hilda's College


Research Interests

I am a broadly trained multidisciplinary biologist interested in understanding how evolution has shaped phenotypic and life-history traits in vertebrates. My research aims to identify the drivers of individual and population fitness in the wild. The breadth of this question sparked my interest to move across disciplines; genetics, physiology, behaviour, ecology and demography are the disciplines I draw my research tools and hypotheses from. Increasing our ability to make predictions on population dynamics requires understanding the effects of environment variation on demographic rates and the mechanisms underpinning the causal pathways linking genes to demography. Thus, I am also interested in disentangling the relative contributions of physiological, morphological and behavioural traits to reproduction and survival. Addressing these questions requires long-term field studies that collect individual-based, population level and environmental variation data. In 2008 I set up a rodent-monitoring facility at Silwood Park.

I currently conduct empirical research strongly tied to theory. My team intensively monitors wild rodent populations, phenotypic trait dynamics and spatiotemporal use patterns, accounting for environmental variation (both microhabitat and weather–related) to unprecedented levels of resolution. I use the data collected in the field to parameterize population models; testing the predictions of the population models with real data will allow us to test their predictive power and to refine current theory. My expectation is that the development of more refined models will increase our ability to predict population dynamics and phenotypic trait dynamics. 

My previous research has mainly focused on rodents, ungulates and carnivores. On these groups, I have conducted research on, for instance, thermoregulation physiology, antler evolution, the drivers of reproductive fitness, refuge-mediated apparent competition, heterozygosity-fitness correlations or the effects of captive breeding programs on fitness-related traits.

Additional Information

I am currently a member of the Species Survival Commission (Conservation Breeding Specialist Group) of the IUCN. I have been a Marie Curie Fellow at Imperial College London and a Fulbright Fellow at the Smithsonian National Zoo (Washington DC) and the Chicago Zoological Society.






Selected Publications

  • Malo AF*, Martinez-Pastor F, Garcia-Gonzalez F, Garde J, Ballou JD, Lacy RC. 2017 A father effect explains sex-ratio bias. Proceedings of the Royal Society London B. 284: 20171159.

  • Malo AF*, Godsall B, Prebble C, Grange Z, McCandless S, Taylor A, Coulson T 2013. Positive effects of an invasive shrub on aggregation and abundance of a native small rodent. Behavioral Ecology 24, 759-767

  • Godsall B, Coulson T, Malo AF* 2014. From physiology to space use: energy reserves and androgenisation explain home range size variation in Apodemus sylvaticus. Journal of Animal Ecology 83, 126-135

  • Malo AF*, Martinez-Pastor F, Alaks G, Dubach J, Lacy RC. 2010 Effects of Genetic Captive-Breeding Protocols on Sperm Quality and Fertility in the white-footed mouse. Biology of Reproduction 83, 540-548

  • Malo AF* and Coulson T. 2009. HFCs and associative overdominance: new detection method and proof of principle in the Iberian wild boar. Molecular Ecology 18, 2741 –2742

  • Malo AF*, Gomendio M., Garde J.J., Soler A.J., Vicente J., Gortazar, C. & Roldan E.R.S. 2009. What does testosterone do for red deer males? Proceedings of the Royal Society London B. 276, 971–980

  • Malo AF, Gomendio M, Garde JJ, Lang-Lenton B, Soler AJ & Roldan ERS. 2006 Sperm design and sperm function. Biology Letters: 2, 246–249

  • Gomendio M, Malo AF, Soler AJ, Fernández-Santos MF, Esteso MC, García AJ, Roldan ERS, Garde, J. 2006 Male fertility and sex ratio at birth in red deer. Science: 314, 1445-1447

  • Malo AF, Roldan ERS, Garde JJ, Soler AJ & Gomendio M. 2005 Antlers Honestly Advertise Ejaculate Competitiveness. Proceedings of the Royal Society London B: 272, 149–157

  • Malo AF and Puerta M.  2001. Oestradiol and progesterone change beta-3 adrenergic receptors affinity and density in brown adipocytes. European Journal of Endocrinology, 145 (1): 87-91