Jon Richardson


I am gay and I am a behavioural ecologist and evolutionary biologist. //

I’m a PhD student at the University of Edinburgh interested in how decisions about reproduction and parental care are influenced by an individual’s state. Animals that are hungry, inbred, or had a poor start in life might make different decisions about what to do with their limited resources when reproducing. My study system is the burying beetle, an insect with elaborate parental care. This system is both gross and fascinating as the beetles rear their offspring in the carcasses of dead animals! They act as grave-diggers, barbers, and surgeons as both parents work together to chew off any fur, roll the carcass into a ball, cover it in secretions that prevent decay, and bury it under the soil away from competitors. Parents regurgitate carrion to larvae who beg for food by touching their parent’s face. It is inspiring and comforting to read the stories of so many LGBTQ+ researchers and to know that there are so many people committed to making STEM more diverse, accessible and welcoming.