Dr Sarah Dalesman

PhD Fellow of the HEA

Dr Sarah Dalesman

Lecturer in Freshwater Biology

Department of Life Sciences

Contact Details


I started with a PhD in behavioural ecology at the University of Plymouth assessing antipredator behaviour in the pond snail, Lymnaea stagnalis. Sticking with snails, I then moved over to Canada in 2008 and worked in a neurobiology laboratory at the University of Calgary funded by a postdoctoral fellowship from Alberta Innovates - Health Solutions. Most of the work I did in Calgary was on stress and memory, with particular focus on how different forms of stress can interact to affect memory formation (http://theconversation.com/forgetful-snails-could-tell-us-about-how-our-memories-work-20935). Did you know chocolate can improve memories?.....In snails at least! (http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/running-ponies/2012/09/30/how-to-improve-snail-memories-with-chocolate/). In 2012 I moved back to the U.K. as a research fellow at the University of Exeter, funded by a Leverhulme Trust Early Career Fellowship, which I have retained on joining IBERS in January 2014. My current research work leads on from my experience in Canada but focussing on more ecological questions, particularly what drives differences in memory among individuals and natural populations.


My current research, funded by a Leverhulme Trust Early Career Fellowship, focuses on the causes and consequences of cognitive differences among populations, using the pond snail, Lymnaea stagnalis, as a model species. I am also interested in cognitive syndromes, whether the ability to perceive, learn and remember aspects of the environment differs in a consistent manner among individuals. I use all life stages in my work, from embryos to adults, and future work will include following individuals throughout their lifetime to determine factors influencing plasticity and fitness. Antipredator behaviour: I have worked on antipredator behaviour in a range of freshwater and marine invertebrates. I am particularly interested in the different cues and modes of perception different species use in determining predation threat. This work also links in with my interests in learning and memory, in determining how experience alters predator perception. Ecotoxicology: The non-lethal effect of environmental pollutants is a growing area of interest in aquatic research. I have recently supervised student projects assessing the effects of metal and pharmaceutical pollutants on development and behaviour of aquatic organisms (freshwater and marine). I am also currently developing ways to assess the physiological and behavioural impact of microplastics on freshwater invertebrates.

Research Groups

  • Marine environmental impacts and remedies


Tyson, F, Dalesman, S, Brophy, P & Morphew, R 2020, 'Novel Equine Faecal Egg Diagnostics: Validation of the FECPAKG2', Animals, vol. 10, no. 8, 1254. 10.3390/ani10081254
Dalesman, S 2018, 'Habitat and social context affect memory phenotype, exploration and co-variance among these traits', Philosophical Transactions B: Biological Sciences, vol. 373, no. 1756, 20170291. 10.1098/rstb.2017.0291
Hardman, S & Dalesman, S 2018, 'Repeatability and degree of territorial aggression differs among urban and rural great tits (Parus major)', Scientific Reports, vol. 8, 5042. 10.1038/s41598-018-23463-7
Cauchoix, M, Chow, PKY, van Horik, JO, Atance, CM, Barbeau, EJ, Barragan-Jason, G, Bize, P, Boussard, A, Buechel, SD, Cabirol, A, Cauchard, L, Claidière, N, Dalesman, S, Devaud, JM, Didic, M, Doligez, B, Fagot, J, Fichtel, C, Henke-von der Malsburg , J, Hermer, E, Huber, L, Huebner, F, Kappeler, PM, Klein, S, Langbein, J, Langley, EJG, Lea, SEG, Lihoreau, M, Lovlie, H, Matzel, LD, Nakagawa, S, Nawroth, C, Oesterwind, S, Sauce, B, Smith, E, Sorato, E, Tebbich, S, Wallis, LJ, Whiteside, MA, Wilkinson, A, Chaine, AS & Morand-Ferron, J 2018, 'The repeatability of cognitive performance: A meta-analysis', Philosophical Transactions B: Biological Sciences, vol. 373, no. 1756, 20170281. 10.1098/rstb.2017.0281
Jones, R, Williams, H, Dalesman, S, Sinmidele, A, Thomas, R & Brophy, P 2017, 'The prevalence and development of digenean parasites within their intermediate snail host, Galba truncatula, in a geographic area where the presence of Calicophoron daubneyi has recently been confirmed', Veterinary Parasitology, vol. 240, pp. 68-74. 10.1016/j.vetpar.2017.03.021
More publications on the Research Portal