Dr David Wilcockson PhD

Dr David Wilcockson

Senior Lecturer

Lifelong Learning Moderator - Sciences

Contact Details


Administrative roles

Senior tutor AU Animal Welfare and Ethical Review Body Committee Member AU University Appeals Panel member

Additional Information



Biological clocks in marine organisms

My research group Aquatic, Behavioural & Evolutionary Biology (ABEB) is investigating the molecular and biochemical basis of biological 'clocks' in organisms that exhibit circatidal (~12.4 hour) and circadian (~24 hour) rhythms and time-compensated navigation in marine intertidal animals. Using a variety of contemporary molecular technologies I am identifying the cellular, genetic and protein components of clocks in a marine isopod crustacean, Eurydice pulchra. This work is funded by the BBSRC in collaboration with the University of Leicester (Professor Bambos Kyriacou-Lead PI, and Dr Lin Zhang), Bangor University (Professor Simon Webster) and Cambridge LMB (Dr Mick Hastings, FRS). Work funded by the NERC is focused in defining the molecular and cellular control of navigational behavior in the beach amphipod Talitrus saltator.

Crustacean Endocrinology

I am interested in the endocrine control of growth, moulting and metabolism in crustaceans. Recently (in collaboration with [Professor Simon Webster][4], Bangor University) we identified the genes that encode orthologues of the insect cuticle tanning hormone bursicon in the green shore crab Carcinus maenas and described their expression through the moult cycle. We are now working to fully characterise the function of crab bursicon and describe the endocrine cascades that govern cuticle development, moulting and cuticle hardening in arthropods. This work was funded by the BBSRC.



King, N., Wilcockson, D., Webster, R., Hoelters, L.S., Moore, P. 2017. Cumulative stress restricts niche filling potential of habitat-forming kelps in a future climate. Functional Ecology 10.1111/1365-2435.12977


Ugolini, A., Hoelters, L.S., Ciofini, A., Wilcockson, D. 2016. Evidence for discrete solar and lunar orientation mechanisms in the beach amphipod, Talitrus saltator Montagu (Crustacea, Amphipoda). Scientific Reports 6 35575 10.1038/srep35575 Cadair

O'Grady, J.F., Hoelters, L.S., Swain, M., Wilcockson, D. 2016. Identification and temporal expression of putative circadian clock transcripts in the amphipod crustacean Talitrus saltator. PeerJ e2555 10.7717/peerj.2555 Cadair

Hoelters, L.S., O'Grady, J.F., Webster, S.G., Wilcockson, D. 2016. Characterization, localization and temporal expression of crustacean hyperglycemic hormone (CHH) in the behaviorally rhythmic peracarid crustaceans, Eurydice pulchra (Leach) and Talitrus saltator (Montagu). General and Comparative Endocrinology 237 pp. 43-52. 10.1016/j.ygcen.2016.07.024 Cadair


O'Neill, J.S., Lee, K.D., Zhang, L., Feeney, K., Webster, S.G., Blades, J., Kyriacou, C.P., Hastings, M., Wilcockson, D. 2015. Metabolic molecular markers of the tidal clock in the marine crustacean Eurydice pulchra. Current Biology 25 (8) pp. R326-R327. 10.1016/j.cub.2015.02.052 Cadair


Zhang, L., Hastings, M., Green, E., Tauber, E., Sladek, M., Webster, S., Kyriacou, C., Wilcockson, D. 2013. Dissociation of circadian and circatidal time-keeping in the marine crustacean Eurydice pulchra. Current Biology 23 (19) pp. 1863-1873. 10.1016/j.cub.2013.08.038 Cadair

Webster, S.G., Wilcockson, D.C., Mrinalini, , Sharp, J.H. 2013. Bursicon and neuropeptide cascades during the ecdysis program of the shore crab, Carcinus maenas. General and Comparative Endocrinology 182 pp. 54-64. 10.1016/j.ygcen.2012.11.018 Cadair


Wilcockson, D.C., Zhang, L., Hastings, M.H., Kyriacou, C.P., Webster, S.G. 2011. A novel form of pigment-dispersing hormone in the central nervous system of the intertidal marine isopod, Eurydice pulchra (leach). Journal of Comparative Neurology 519 (3) pp. 562-575. 10.1002/cne.22533 Cadair


Sharp, J.H., Wilcockson, D.C., Webster, S.G. 2010. Identification and expression of mRNAs encoding bursicon in the plesiomorphic central nervous system of Homarus gammarus. General and Comparative Endocrinology 169 (1) pp. 65-74. 10.1016/j.ygcen.2010.07.006 Cadair


Wilcockson, D., Zhang, L. 2008. Circatidal clocks. Current Biology 18 (17) pp. R753-R755. 10.1016/j.cub.2008.06.041 Cadair

Wilcockson, D.C., Webster, S.G. 2008. Identification and developmental expression of mRNAs encoding putative insect cuticle hardening hormone, bursicon in the green shore crab Carcinus maenas. General and Comparative Endocrinology 156 (1) pp. 113-125. 10.1016/j.ygcen.2007.12.003 Cadair