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Current Research

After a Commonwealth Rutherford Fellowship at UEA, I have returned on a NERC funded project to understand how heatwave conditions damage insect reproduction and population viability.

I am interested in understanding the effects of thermal extremes on sperm form and function. I am also interested in how Sexual selection processes and mechanisms bring about divergence in both reproductive form and function using a range of model insect species. The broad applications of my work, with experts here at UEA could help us understand the impacts of heat on biodiversity, effective management of stored product pests and global food security.

sperm length and temperature

Fig. 1A Sperm length variation at different larval rearing temperatures


Fig. 1B Larval growth trajectories at different rearing temperatures

Sperm length comparisons between strains of Tribolium

Fig. 2A Interspecific comparison of sperm length in Tribolium flour beetles


Fig. 2B Spermatheca, a structure that stores sperm, dissected out of a female Tribolium castaneum. This speciment is filled with fluorescing Sperm.

Tribolium castaneum are easy to rear for experimental evolution studies


(Sexual Selection is a driver of exaggerated traits. Is male vigorous male body shaking behaviour during copulation influenced by sexual selection? check the link above)


  • NERC Senior Research Assistant, UEA (2020-)
  • Commonwealth Rutherford Fellow, UEA (2018-present)
  • Senior Research Associate, UEA (2014–2017)
  • Senior publications writer (2013–2014)
  • PhD: Biological Sciences, University of Lincoln (2010–2014)
  • Research Assistant/Technician, University of Lincoln (2006–2010)
  • MSc Pharmacology and Biotechnology, Sheffield Hallam University (2004)
  • BSc Biotechnology (2001)

Research (Talks & Posters)

  • Biology of Spermatozoa, Stockholm (September 2019)- Research Talk: “Adaptive thermal plasticity enhances sperm and egg performance in a model insect“.
  • European Society for Evolutionary Biology 2019 (held at Turku, Finland)- August 2019. Poster presentation: “Adaptive Thermal plasticity in sperm and eggs”.
  • CEEC Rebellion, UEA- 2017 (internal) “Thermal impacts on sperm and egg form and function” (talk)
  • National Centre for Biological Sciences, India- 2016 (external) “Thermal regimes, Heat waves and Adaptation” (talk)
  • Imperial College London – 2016 (external) “War and Peace: the dynamics of evolutionary conflict” (poster)


  • Vasudeva, R., Sutter, A. et al. (2019) Adaptive thermal plasticity enhances sperm and egg performance in a model insect. eLife (10.7554/eLife.49452).
  • Sales, K., Vasudeva, R., Dickinson, M. E., Godwin, J. L., Lumley, A. J., Michalczyk, Ł., Hebberchet, L., Thomas, P., Franco, A., Gage, M. J. G. (2018) Experimental heatwaves compromise sperm function and cause transgenerational damage in a model insect. Nature Communications. 9(1):4771. (https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-018-07273-z).
  • Sales, K., Trent, T., Gardner, J., Lumley, A. J., Vasudeva, R. et al. (2018) Experimental evolution with an insect model reveals that male homosexual behaviour occurs due to inaccurate mate choice. Animal Behaviour. (https://doi.org/10.1016/j.anbehav.2018.03.004).
  • Vasudeva, R. et al. (2018) Larval developmental temperature and ambient temperature affect copulation duration in a seed beetle. Behaviour. (10.1163/1568539X-00003479).
  • Godwin, J.L., Vasudeva, R., Michalczyk, Ł., Martin, O.Y., Lumley, A.J., Chapman, T., Gage, M.J.G. (2017). Experimental evolution reveals that sperm competition intensity selects for longer, more costly sperm. Evolution Letters. 1, 102–113.
  • Vasudeva, R., Deeming, D.C., Eady, P.E. (2014). Developmental temperature affects the expression of ejaculatory traits and the outcome of sperm competition in Callosobruchus maculatus. J. Evol. Biol. 27, 1811–1818.
  • Gay, L., Brown, E., Tregenza, T., Pincheira–Donoso, D., Eady, P. E., Vasudev, R. et al. (2011). The genetic architecture of sexual conflict: male harm and female resistance in Callosobruchus maculatus. Evol. Biol. 24, 449–456.
  • Gay, L., Hosken, D. J., Eady, P., Vasudev, R. et al. (2011). The evolution of harm: effect of sexual conflicts and population size. 65, 725–737.
  • Brown, E.A., Gay, L., Vasudev, R. et al. (2009). Negative phenotypic and genetic associations between copulation duration and longevity in male seed beetles. 103, 1–6.
  • Gay, L., Eady, P. E., Vasudev, R. et al. (2009). Costly sexual harassment in a beetle. Entomol. 34, 86–92.
  • Gay, L., Eady, P. E., Vasudev, R. et al. (2009). Does reproductive isolation evolve faster in larger populations via sexually antagonistic coevolution? Lett. 5, 693–696.
  • Gay, L., Hosken, D. J., Vasudev, R.et al. (2009). Sperm competition and maternal effects differentially influence testis and sperm size in Callosobruchus maculatus. Evol. Biol. 22, 1143–1150.


  • European Society for the study of Evolution (2017)
  • Association for the study of Animal Behaviour (2017)