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Fellows Directory

Josephine Pemberton

Josephine Pemberton

Professor Josephine Pemberton FRS


Elected: 2017




Josephine Pemberton is an evolutionary biologist who uses genetic markers to answer questions about the ecology and evolution of natural populations. She pioneered genetic parentage analysis in wild animal populations, leading to new insights into mating behaviour and natural selection. She used the resulting multi-generation pedigrees to quantify the role of additive genetic variation and inbreeding in the expression of phenotypes in the wild.  More recently she has made advances using genome-wide genotype information, for example showing that inbreeding depression is more severe than it appears from typical wild pedigrees.

Most of Josephine’s research is within two long-term studies in which individual life histories of wild animals are recorded in detail: the Soay sheep of St Kilda and the red deer on the Isle of Rum. Such datasets allow exceptional multidisciplinary research across ecology and evolution, and Josephine has played a key role in keeping these studies going.

Professional positions

Professor of Molecular Ecology, Institute of Ecology and Evolution, University of Edinburgh

Interest and expertise

Subject groups

  • Organismal biology, evolution and ecology
    • Ecology (incl behavioural ecology), Evolution, Population genetics
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