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I am an evolutionary ecologist fascinated by what factors drive the variation in longevity, reproduction, and behaviour. My preferred approach is exploring mechanisms and theory by designing controlled experiments in the laboratory using invertebrate models. I have a passion for statistical data analysis. My PhD investigated the impact of climate warming and heatwaves on reproduction in male insects using the beetle Tribolium castaenum. I established that males and female stored sperm were vulnerable to heat, and showed that a variety of gametic traits were damaged. Heatwaves carried intergenerational consequences to offspring development, longevity, and reproduction. Experimental evolution revealed local thermal adaptation benefitted heatwave resistance and sexual competitiveness. I have collaborated across a variety of research projects including: i) the impact of transgenerational inbreeding depression on fitness measures like longevity, ii) limiting behavioural biases in moth light trapping, iii) applied fieldwork on evolution and reproduction in fisheries, iv) thermal plasticity in reproductive traits, and v) how sexual selection shapes mate choice behaviour, gametes and cryptic female choice.

Since the PhD, I worked for 2 years in the Maklakov Laboratory. The group utilises the nematode C. elegans to explore the evolutionary theory of ageing. I assisted multiple projects exploring the transgenerational costs of lifespan extension. The projects used dietary, pharmacological, genetic mutant, and transcription blocking RNAi treatments.

Currently, I am a teaching fellow for Science Corps, where I design and deliver natural science curricula to schools in developing countries.




Vasudeva, R.; Sutter, A.; Sales, K.; Dickinson, M.E.; Lumley, A.J.; Gage, M.J.G. 2019. Adaptive thermal plasticity enhances sperm and egg performance in a model insect. eLife 8: e49452. 10.7554/eLife.49452.

Sales, K.; Vasudeva, R.; Dickinson, M.E.; Godwin, J.L.; Lumley, A.J.; Michalczyk, Ł.; Hebberecht, L.; Thomas, P; Franco, A.; Gage, M.J.G. 2018. Heatwaves damage sperm function and cause transgenerational fitness decline in a model insect. Nature Communications 9: 4771. 10.1038/s41467-018-07273-z.

Sales, K.; Trent, T.; Gardner, J.; Lumley, A.J.; Vasudeva, R.; Michalczyk, L.; Martin, O.Y.; Gage, M.J.G. 2018. Experimental evolution with an insect model reveals that male homosexual behaviour occurs due to inaccurate mate choice. Animal Behaviour 139: 51-59. 10.1016/j.anbehav.2018.03.004.

Murray, D.S.; Kainz, M.J.; Hebberecht, L.; Sales, K.; Hindar, K.; Gage, M.J.G. 2018. Comparisons of reproductive function and fatty acid fillet quality between triploid and diploid Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar). Royal Society Open Science 5(8): 180493. 10.1098/rsos.180493.

Sales, K.; Kerr, L.; Gardner, J. 2016. Factors influencing epiphytic moss and lichen distribution within Killarney National Park. Bioscience Horizons 9: hzw008. 10.1093/biohorizons/hzw008.

Positions and academic qualifications

  • 2018 – 2021 Research Technician UEA. Project: The cost of longevity: transgenerational consequences of parental lifespan extension. PI: Dr Alexei Maklakov.
  • 2015 – 2019 Enveast DTP PhD Student UEA. Thesis: “How do heatwaves impact male reproduction in insects?”. PI: Prof. Matt Gage, CoPIs: Dr Aldina Franco & Dr Ramakrishnan Vasudeva.
  • 2010 – 2014 Natural Sciences with Intergrated Masters UEA. Distinction 74%. Specialisation in Ecology and Evolution.

Grants and Awards

  • Travel Grant: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology (€200)
  • Travel Grant: Royal Entomological Society (RES) Postgraduate Forum (£50)
  • Travel Grant: Pamela Salter Charitable Trust Prize for the Butterfly Conservation Symposium (£500)
  • Talk Prize Lecturer Vote: UEA BIO Postgraduate Forum (2nd)
  • Talk Prize Student Vote: UEA BIO Postgraduate Forum (2nd)
  • Travel Grant: Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour (ASAB) Easter Meeting (£150)
  • Talk Prize Student Vote:  RES Postgraduate Forum (2nd)
  • Travel Grant: RES Postgraduate Forum (£50)
  • Research Grant: EnvEast DTP PhD Studentship (£50,000)
  • Sports Award Student Vote: Outstanding Contribution to UEA Sport
  • Research Grant: Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour (ASAB) Undergraduate Project Studentship
  • Volunteering Award: 3 gold awards for 300  hours work for sport and conservation
  • Academic Award: Chris Lelliott Memorial Prize for Field Ecology module (£250)
  • Academic Award: Eliahou Dangoor Scholarship for science A-level grades considering underprivileged background (£1,000)
  • Academic Award: Expedition Scholarship to Brighton College (£4,000)




  • Poster: Evolution 2018, Montpellier
  • Oral: XI European Congress of Entomology, Naples
  • Oral and Poster: Butterfly Conservation Symposium, Southampton
  • Oral and Poster: Cambridge-EnvEast Doctoral Alliance (CEEDA) Symposium, Cambridge
  • Oral: CEEC Rebellion Conference, UEA
  • Oral and Poster: Royal Entomological Society Postgraduate Forum (RES), Coventry



  • Oral: Biological Sciences Postgraduate Colloquium, UEA
  • Oral: CEEDA, Cambridge


  • Field course teaching: Residential demonstrator, driver and woodlands habitat leader for 2-week field trip to Inch, County Kerry, Ireland. (Field Ecology, 3 years)
  • Co-supervision: Undergraduate third year projects (2 students), ASAB summer studentships (2 students), Masters project (1 student)
  • Seminar teaching: Book discussions like on selfish gene (Evolution, Behaviour & Ecology, 2 years),  8-week project experimental design and statistics (Behavioural Ecology, 4 years & Field Ecology, 3 years), SPSS and Excel statistics practicals (Statistics for Biologists, 4 years & Community, Ecosystem, Macro-Ecology, 3 years)
  • Lecturing: Insect case studies for behavioural ecology (Behavioural Ecology, 2 years), statistics and experimental design using tree measures (Sustainability & Society, 2 years)
  • Lab practicals: ~150 student classes on taxonomy, physiology, behaviour and evolution (Biodiversity, 4 years & Evolution, Behaviour & Ecology, 3 years)
  • Course organisation: Developed lecture and practical materials (Field Ecology, 3 years; Behavioural Ecology, 1 year & Sustainability & Society, 2 years)
  • Assessment: Lepidopteran/hymenopteran taxonomic collections (Field Ecology, 4 years), essays and presentations (Behavioural Ecology, 4 yearsExam invigilation (Environmental Skills, 1 year & Biodiversity, 2 years)



  • CEEC Rebellion Conference Organising committee (2 years): poster/ programme design, secured speakers, supplies & socials
  • Cambridge-ENVEast Doctoral Alliance (CEEDA) Symposium (2018): abstract panel review and selection
  • UEA School of Biological Sciences Postgraduate Colloquium (2017): session chair
  • ENVEast E3I Student Innovation Club Communications Officer (3 years): initiated and co-designed training course on Adobe After-effects animation & general aid with club output
  • UEA Fencing club: Norfolk Club Representative (3 years), President (2013), Epee Captain (3 years) British Academy Fencing: level 1 foil coach (2013); British Fencing Association, Level 1 epee coach and level 1 foil/epee referee (4 years) & Vice president (2012)
  • Conservation Wildlife Society: Social Secretary (2012) & Treasurer (2011)
  • Open days:  Designed posters and guided tours

Academic Societies

The Linnaean Society (5 years), Butterfly Conservation (2 years), Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour (4 years), Royal Entomological Society (3 years) & British Ecological Society (3 years) & Verrall Association of Entomologists (1 year)