I joined Dr Alison Dunn's research group at the University of Leeds as a postgraduate research student in October 2016, after having been awarded the highly competitive Frank Stell Research Scholarship. Prior to this, I studied for a Masters of Research (MRes) in Biodiversity and Conservation, also at the University of Leeds (2014 - 2015). My current interest in invasion ecology developed during my masters, whilst conducting several independent research project with Dr Dunn. These projects focussed on assessing the functional and ecological impacts of invasive freshwater crustaceans upon native aquatic communities. In recognition of this innovative research and academic excellence, I was awarded the David Blakeley Prize.
Before this, I studied for a Bachelor’s degree (BSc (hons)) in Zoology at the University of Salford (2011-2014). Whilst at Salford, my studies delved into the fields of parasitology, animal cognition and developmental biology. It was during this time that I conducted a large-scale research project centred on the adaptive evolution of hermaphroditic sex change systems in marine white seabream (Diplodus sargus) in response to environmental disturbance. Through this project I was able to determine how the disturbance caused by commercial fishing practices was impacting upon the distribution of males and females in populations of white seabream and how this prematurely triggered protandrous (male-to-female) hermaphroditism. Again, in recognition of academic excellence I was awarded a University Prize.
My research interests predominantly revolve around predicting and/or assessing the ecological impact of invasive freshwater predators upon native amphibian populations within the UK. Using a combination of laboratory and field-based studies, I am investigating the complexities of predator-prey interactions to determine how the predatory behaviours of invaders may directly affect the dynamics of amphibian populations, as well as freshwater communities as a whole. Based on these studies, I hope to construct intricate ecological models, using novel techniques, in order to predict the potential impact of current and emerging invaders as they continue to spread.
From this fascination with invasive predator-prey interactions, my research interests have recently expanded to consider how these interactions might indirectly affect native amphibian populations, particularly through the transmission of parasites and other pathogens. Within this field of parasitology, aspects of interest also include the development and application of molecular diagnostic tools and tissue histology.
- 2016 - Present PhD; University of Leeds
- 2014 - 2015 MRes Biodiversity and Conservation; University of Leeds
- 2011 - 2014 BSc (Hons) Zoology; University of Salford