Dr. Alexa Varah
2016 – present: Postdoctoral Researcher, Institute of Zoology, Zoological Society of London
2011 – 2015: PhD candidate, Centre for Agri-Environmental Research, University of Reading
2009 – 2010: MSc Conservation and Biodiversity, University of Exeter
2007 – 2008: Field base manager, Global Vision International, Argentina
2007: Field Worker, Atlantic Whale Foundation, Tenerife
2002 – 2007: Science Teacher, St John the Baptist RC Comprehensive
2001 – 2002: PGCE Secondary Science, University of Oxford
1996 – 2001: Buyer, Precision Ski, France
1996: Field Worker, Coral Cay Conservation, Belize
1993 – 1996: BSc Biological Sciences, University of Exeter
My research interests centre on the relationships between land use, biodiversity and ecosystem services, especially at the interface between food production and the environment. Recently, I’ve been focusing on ways of conserving biodiversity and improving ecosystem service delivery in agro-ecosystems.
I currently work on the Black-grass Resistance Initiative, looking at the ecology and management of agro-ecosystems in the main winter wheat-growing regions of central and eastern England. I’m assessing the environmental and economic consequences of land-use change associated with herbicide resistance and its management. Environmental aspects assessed include biodiversity, nitrate leaching and carbon emissions. The output will be management recommendations, together with an analysis of their agronomic, economic and environmental consequences. This will provide UK farmers with potential resistance management solutions that also minimise adverse economic or environmental impacts.
I have a background in conservation biology, looking at the effects of human activities on many different species ranging from kodkods and raptors to monkey puzzle trees, pilot wales and corals. I’ve also studied the effects of climate change on species’ phenologies and interactions between trophic levels.
Before turning to research I taught science in UK secondary schools.