Dr David Wilcockson


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, LS & Moore, P 2017, 'Cumulative stress restricts niche filling potential of habitat-forming kelps in a future climate' Functional Ecology. DOI: 10.1111/1365-2435.12977
Ugolini, A, Hoelters, LS, Ciofini, A & Wilcockson, D 2016, 'Evidence for discrete solar and lunar orientation mechanisms in the beach amphipod, Talitrus saltator Montagu (Crustacea, Amphipoda)' Scientific Reports, vol 6, 35575. DOI: 10.1038/srep35575
O'Grady, JF, Hoelters, LS, Swain, M & Wilcockson, D 2016, 'Identification and temporal expression of putative circadian clock transcripts in the amphipod crustacean Talitrus saltator' PeerJ. DOI: 10.7717/peerj.2555
Hoelters, LS, O'Grady, JF, Webster, SG & 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, vol 237, pp. 43-52. DOI: 10.1016/j.ygcen.2016.07.024
O'Neill, JS, Lee, KD, Zhang, L, Feeney, K, Webster, SG, Blades, J, Kyriacou, CP, Hastings, M & Wilcockson, D 2015, 'Metabolic molecular markers of the tidal clock in the marine crustacean Eurydice pulchra' Current Biology, vol 25, no. 8, pp. R326-R327. DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2015.02.052
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, vol 23, no. 19, pp. 1863-1873. DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2013.08.038
Webster, SG, Wilcockson, DC, Mrinalini & Sharp, JH 2013, 'Bursicon and neuropeptide cascades during the ecdysis program of the shore crab, Carcinus maenas' General and Comparative Endocrinology, vol 182, pp. 54-64. DOI: 10.1016/j.ygcen.2012.11.018
Wilcockson, DC, Zhang, L, Hastings, MH, Kyriacou, CP & Webster, SG 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, vol 519, no. 3, pp. 562-575. DOI: 10.1002/cne.22533
Sharp, JH, Wilcockson, DC & Webster, SG 2010, 'Identification and expression of mRNAs encoding bursicon in the plesiomorphic central nervous system of Homarus gammarus' General and Comparative Endocrinology, vol 169, no. 1, pp. 65-74. DOI: 10.1016/j.ygcen.2010.07.006
Wilcockson, D & Zhang, L 2008, 'Circatidal clocks' Current Biology, vol 18, no. 17, pp. R753-R755. DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2008.06.041
Wilcockson, DC & Webster, SG 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, vol 156, no. 1, pp. 113-125. DOI: 10.1016/j.ygcen.2007.12.003