- 2018–Present: NERC EnvEast PhD Candidate, University of Kent
- 2017–2018: MRes Ecology, Evolution and Conservation, Imperial College London
- 2012–2015: BSc in Zoology, Anglia Ruskin University
My research has focussed on the monitoring and ecology of reptiles and amphibians in an attempt to understand how a number of stressors can affect population dynamics. The threat that interests me the most is that of infectious diseases which up to this point I have only previously studied in amphibians, such as the amphibian chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis.
My PhD research will focus on the population dynamics of barred grass snakes (Natrix helvetica) in the UK, at a population where snake fungal disease (caused by Ophidiomyces ophiodiicola) has recently been identified. I’ll be surveying the snakes over a number of seasons, using artificial cover objects, as well as working with legacy data to primarily investigate the dynamics of the population. Some of the factors I shall be investigating are population demographics, transience and survivability which are important to establish before trying to assess the effects of snake fungal disease.
These surveys will involve capturing and photographing each individual in order to develop a capture history, at the same time as monitoring the snakes I shall be examining them for skin lesions and taking non-invasive swab samples when appropriate. Thankfully, grass snakes have a unique ventral belly scale pattern (like our fingerprints) which is the basis of my individual recognition and shall allow me to track individuals through space and time. This may also help to shed some light on the spatial ecology of the barred grass snakes at the site.
It is my hope that a similar approach can be used to analyse the dynamics of already existing datasets of different species of snakes in order to help inform conservation management and also potentially policy. This research will be conducted in collaboration with the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO), the Institute of Zoology (IoZ), the and the Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology (DICE).
, DICE – University of Kent
Allain, S.J.R., Goodman, M.J. The absence of chytrid fungus (Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis) in the common midwife toad (Alytes obstetricans) from an introduced population in Cambridge, UK. Herpetology Notes. 2018 11: 451-454.