- 2020 – Present: PhD Researcher, ARIES NERC DTP, Institute of Zoology, University of Kent, and Chester Zoo
- 2018 – 2019: MSc Endangered Species Recovery and Conservation, Nottingham Trent University
- 2014 – 2018: BSc (Hons) Zoology with Industrial Experience, University of Manchester
- 2016 – 2017: Student placement at Institute of Biology, Universität Siegen, Germany
I am interested in endangered species research and management. For my MSc at Nottingham-Trent University I carried out my project at the Conservation Genetics Laboratory of the Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology, University of Kent. I used microsatellite DNA markers to examine temporal changes in levels of inbreeding in the Echo parakeet (Psittacula echo), a once Critically Endangered bird endemic to Mauritius. I have more recently become interested in the impact of diet and supplementary food provision on this species and another bird species endemic to Mauritius, the Pink pigeon (Nesoenas mayeri).
The populations of the Echo parakeet and Pink pigeon have been successfully restored as part of ongoing intensive conservation management programmes managed by the Mauritian Wildlife Foundation (MWF) in collaboration with the Government of Mauritius’ National Parks and Conservation Service (NPCS). An extensive amount of data already exists on the productivity, disease and genetics of these populations, providing a unique opportunity to look closely at the effects of management on these species.
My PhD research has two main components: (i) DNA metabarcoding and library-building to identify plant species present in the diet of individuals in different subpopulations and across multiple seasons, and (ii) stable isotope analysis (SIA) of feather samples collected from Echo parakeets and Pink pigeons to quantify the relative proportion of supplementary food consumed by individual birds. To analyse diet composition at the individual-level, I will work alongside field staff in Mauritius to collect faecal samples from individual Echo parakeets and Pink pigeons for metabarcoding analysis as well as feather samples for SIA. In order to extend the current DNA library barcode of Mauritian plants, plant samples will be collected with assistance and expertise from the NPCS.
The data from this research, alongside the long-term reproductive and life-history data collected by MWF, will be analysed to identify the impact of diet and supplementary food consumption on productivity, survival, and population dynamics of the Echo parakeet and Pink pigeon. Identification of important native food plant species will help to inform ongoing forest restoration efforts by NPCS. The PhD project will synthesize the key findings and with the NPCS in collaboration with MWF, integrate them into species conservation plans.
Professor Jim Groombridge, DICE, University of Kent
Dr John Ewen, Institute of Zoology
Dr Simon Tollington, Chester Zoo
Dr Claire Raisin, Chester Zoo
Professor Carl Jones, Mauritian Wildlife Foundation
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