Faculty of Biological Sciences

Dr Steve Compton

BSc, PhD 1979, Hull.
Reader in Entomology
School of Biology

Background: Previously a lecturer at Rhodes University in South Africa.

Contact:  Manton 8.07, +44(0) 113 34 32879, email address for  

Research Interests

Plant-Animal Interactions

fig tree

My main study system over the years has been fig trees and their associated animals, particularly the fig wasps that pollinate them. This has taken me to the Namib Desert (to study long distance pollen flow) to the volcanic island of Anak Krakatoa in Indonesia (to study how rainforest recolonisation is speeded up by the animals that feed on figs and disperse seeds) and to Hyde Park in Leeds, where our 'captive' population of fig trees and fig wasps is the only such facility world wide.

Our conservation studies have centred on rare UK beetles, including the unique situation on Lundy in the Bristol Channel, where an endemic plant is host to two beetles known from nowhere else.

The potential role of hybridisation in the evolution of fig trees and their pollinators is one of our current research themes, along with studies of the mechanics of how these small wasps manage to use their very long ovipositors.

Funding sources have included English Nature, BBSRC and NERC

riding elephant

Current Projects

Rainforest regeneration, gene flow in fig trees, insect and plant conservation


Faculty Research and Innovation

Studentship information

Undergraduate project topics:

  • Seed dispersal
  • pollination biology
  • rainforest regeneration
  • sex ratio evolution using fig wasps
  • long distance gene flow
  • conservation of beetles, plants and tailed amphibians
  • altitudinal variation in communities
  • trade in endangered species

Postgraduate studentship areas:

  • Plant-animal interactions

See also:

Modules managed

BLGY5163M - Plant Identification
BLGY5166M - Insect Identification Skills

Modules taught

BLGY1124/1128 - The Diversity of Life/Living Planet
BLGY1125 - Biology Practicals and Data Analysis
BLGY1128 - Living Planet
BLGY1304 - Research Experience and Skills Level 1
BLGY2253 - Animals as Pests
BLGY2301 - Research Experience and Skills Level 2
BLGY2321 - Marine Zoology Field Course
BLGY3021 - Research Project
BLGY3300 - Level 3 Field Course (South Africa)
BLGY5107M - Biodiversity and Conservation Skills I
BLGY5163M - Plant Identification
BLGY5166M - Insect Identification Skills
BLGY5191M - Biodiversity and Conservation MSc and MRes Summer Project

Centre membership: The Earth and Biosphere Institute

Group Leader Dr Steve Compton  (Reader in Entomology)

Plant-Animal Interactions 


Thanate Kerdkaew (Primary supervisor) 66% FTE
Siti Khairiyah Mohd Hatta (Primary supervisor) 75% FTE