- October 2010 to date: NERC funded PhD studentship, through Imperial College and the Institute of Zoology.
- May 2010 to October 2010: Research assistant, Department of Infectious Disease Epidemiology (DIDE), Imperial College London.
- January 2008 to April 2010: Research Technician, Wildlife Epidemiology Department, Institute of Zoology, London.
- June 2008 to May 2009: Part-time research technician for the Cetacean Stranding Investigation Program (CSIP), Institute of Zoology.
- September 2006-2007: MSc Wild Animal Biology. Institute of Zoology and Royal Veterinary College.
- September 2003-2006: BSc Hons, Environmental Biology (First class). Lancaster University
My PhD focuses on the impact that infection with Batracochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) is having on populations of Alytes obstetricans (midwife toads) at high altitude sites within the Pyrenees National Park.
My project will take advantage of a well-described spatial system of infection, located in the French Pyrenees, where Bd has been locally introduced into populations of the common midwife toad. The long term effects of the disease in these areas are as yet unknown, but mass mortalities in this species have been observed as a consequence of chytridiomycosis since the discovery of the pathogen in 2002. Mortality appears to occur at, or soon after, metamorphosis and the prevalence of infection is near-100% within infected lakes. However, we currently lack reliable and quantitative field data as to the effect that the infection is having on populations, whether chytridiomycosis is causing declines across the affected region, and whether all populations are equally at risk. A greater understanding on the direct effects of disease is clearly needed.
The broad aim of this project is to develop epidemiological models to try to investigate different population-level consequences of infection with Bd in these high altitude populations of Alytes. The aim is to try to determine whether this infection poses a long-term conservation threat to these populations. In order to achieve this aim, a number of objectives will be addressed:
- Yearly population estimates will be gained via a capture mark recapture study in three of the focal sites.
- Information of individuals entering and leaving the population will also be collected.
- Estimates of mortality during metamorphosis will be gained via a series of in situ and ex situ experiments.
- Differences in mortality between and amongst populations will be assessed, and factors which could have contributed to any differences.
- Information will be gathered to assess if there is a threshold of infection within this system, i.e. whether fungal load dynamics play an important role in population persistence/decline.
- Finally, epidemiological models will be developed and used to assess the dynamics of infection with Bd in the focal study sites.
- Dr Trent Garner (IoZ)
- Dr Matthew Fisher (Imperial College)
- Dr Marcus Rowcliffe (IoZ)
Bielby, J., Bovero, S., Sotgui, G., Tessa, G., Favelli, M., Angelini, C., Doglio, S., Clare, F., Gazzaniga, E., Lapietra, F., Garner, T.W.J. (2009) Fatal chytridiomycosis in the Tyrrhenian painted frog. Ecohealth 6, 27-32.
Farrer, R.A., Weinert, L.A., Bielby, J., Garner, T.W.J., Balloux, F., Clare, F., Bosch, J., Cunningham,A.A., Weldon, C., du Preez, L.H., Anderson, L., Kosakovsky, S.L., Shahar-Golan, R., Henk D., and Fisher, M.C. Emergence of panzootic amphibian chytridiomycosis is unique to a single globalised hypervirulent lineage. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 108(46): 18732-18736. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1111915108
Bielby, J., Bosch, J., Churcher, T.S., Clare, F., Garner, T.W.J., Schmeller, D., Walker, S. and Fisher, M.C. Seasonal variation in transmission dynamics explains heterogeneity in host competence for a host generalist pathogen (In prep).
Garner, T.W.J., Clare, F.C., Fisher, M.C., Rowcliffe, M.J. Post metamorphic disease dynamics are influenced by the timing of premetamorphic exposure to an infectious disease. (Submitted, Functional Ecology).
T: 020 7449 6302
F: 020 7483 2237
Institute of Zoology
Zoological Society of London
London, United Kingdom