Professor Roger Butlin

School of Biosciences

Professor of Evolutionary Biology

Profile photo of Roger Butlin
Profile picture of Profile photo of Roger Butlin
+44 114 222 0097

Full contact details

Professor Roger Butlin
School of Biosciences
B83 Edwardian
Alfred Denny Building
Western Bank
S10 2TN
  • 1973-1976 Jesus College, Cambridge BA Natural Sciences (Genetics)
  • 1979-1982 Ph.D. Department of Genetics, University of Nottingham
  • 1982-1986 Senior Research Associate, School of Biological Sciences, University of East Anglia.
  • 1987-1992 Royal Society 1983 University Research Fellow, School of Pure and Applied Biology, University of Wales College of Cardiff
  • 1992-1994 Lecturer, Department of Genetics, The University of Leeds
  • 1994-1999 Reader in Evolutionary Biology, School of Biology, The University of Leeds
  • 1999-2004 Professor of Evolutionary Biology, School of Biology, The University of Leeds
  • 2013-2014 Tage Erlander Guest Professor, Swedish Research Council (held at the University of Gothenburg), 50%
  • 2014-2015 Waernska Guest Professor, University of Gothenburg, 50%

Since 2016 I have spent 30% of my time at the University of Gothenburg as Guest Professor.

Research interests

My research is concerned primarily with the origin of new species, especially the evolutionary genetics of reproductive isolation. I have used insect acoustic and chemical signals as model systems to investigate the controversial process of reinforcement, particularly in parapatry, and questions such as the inheritance of signal characters and the form of female preferences. I am currently working on local adaptation and speciation in winkles (Littorina), with Leverhulme Trust and Swedish Research Council funding.



  • Butlin RK, Bridle JR & Schluter D (2001) Preface. Cambridge University Press. RIS download Bibtex download

Journal articles


Conference proceedings papers

  • Martens K, Rossetti G, Butlin RK & Schon I (2005) Molecular and morphological phylogeny of the ancient asexual Darwinulidae (Crustacea, Ostracoda). HYDROBIOLOGIA, Vol. 538 (pp 153-165) RIS download Bibtex download
  • Schon I, Martens K, Van Doninck K & Butlin RK (2003) Evolution in the slow lane: molecular rates of evolution in sexual and asexual ostracods (Crustacea : Ostracoda). BIOLOGICAL JOURNAL OF THE LINNEAN SOCIETY, Vol. 79(1) (pp 93-100) RIS download Bibtex download
  • Butlin RK & Menozzi P (2000) Open questions in evolutionary ecology: do ostracods have the answers?. HYDROBIOLOGIA, Vol. 419 (pp 1-14) RIS download Bibtex download
  • Walton C, Sharpe RG, Pritchard SJ, Thelwell NJ & Butlin RK (1999) Molecular identification of mosquito species. BIOLOGICAL JOURNAL OF THE LINNEAN SOCIETY, Vol. 68(1-2) (pp 241-256) RIS download Bibtex download
  • Butlin RK & Trickett AJ (1997) Can population genetic simulations help to interpret pheromone evolution?. INSECT PHEROMONE RESEARCH (pp 548-562) RIS download Bibtex download
  • Jones PL, Gacesa P & Butlin RK (1996) Systematics of brown planthopper and related species using nuclear and mitochondrial DNA. ECOLOGY OF AGRICULTURAL PESTS(53) (pp 133-148) RIS download Bibtex download



Research group

Graduate Students


Teaching activities

My teaching is currently restricted to Level 3, where I contribute to APS344 Topics in Evolutionary Genetics, which is based around student-led discussion sessions rather than conventional lectures. I run one of three topics, on the genetics of speciation, using recent, high-profile papers to bring students right up to date with current controversies.

Recent Level 4 MBiolSci students and MRes students in my group have worked on speciation-related questions in the rocky-shore gastropod, Littorina, rotifers or pea aphids. They have used ecological, morphometric and behavioural approaches as well as molecular genetic techniques.

Professional activities and memberships
  • Distinguished Fellow, European Society for Evolutionary Biology, 2019
  • Foreign Member, Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, elected 2017
  • Doctor of Science (honoris causa), University of Gothenburg, 2016
  • President, European Society for Evolutionary Biology, 2013-2015
  • Darwin-Wallace Medal, 2015, awarded by the Linnean Society of London
  • Associate Editor, American Naturalist, from 2015
  • Editorial Board, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, B, from 2015
  • Editor in Chief, Heredity, 2009-2012
  • Member (2008, 2010) and Chair (2012, 2014), European Research Council Advanced Grants Panel, LS8