Amphibians face an uncertain future: 41% are classified as threatened under IUCN Red List criteria, making them the most threatened class of vertebrates. Declines in frogs, toads, and salamanders have been rapid and severe. While over-exploitation and habitat destruction have played important roles in some losses; an emergent fungal disease, chytridiomycosis, is increasingly recognised as a primary driver of amphibian extinctions worldwide. Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), the fungus that causes the disease, has been implicated in mass mortality events, population declines, and extinctions, but the prevalence and effects of disease vary between areas, species, and populations.
My research focuses on the factors that make some populations within a single species more resilient in the face of exposure to the pathogen than others.
In my younger years, I was a swashbuckling field biologist working on the conservation of threatened birds in Mauritius, New Zealand , and Uzbekistan.
- 2015-Present: PhD Student, University of Salford and Institute of Zoology: Predicting chytrid susceptibility by assessing toad population genomic structure
- 2015 Assistant Houbara Breeder, Emirates Bird Breeding Center for Conservation, Uzbekistan
- 2013-2015: Field Technician, Hihi Recovery project, New Zealand.
- 2011-2013: Coordinator, Echo Parakeet project, Mauritian Wildlife Foundation, Mauritius
- 2007-2011: Field assistant, Pink Pigeon and Echo Parakeet projects, Mauritian Wildlife Foundation, Mauritius
- 2002-2006: BSc (Hons) Zoology (First Class), University College Dublin
Tollington S, Greenwood A, Jones CG, Hoeck P, Chowrimootoo A, Smith D, Richards H, Tatayah V and Groombridge JJ (2015). Detailed monitoring of a small but recovering population reveals sublethal effects of disease and unexpected interactions with supplemental feeding. Journal of Animal Ecology. 84(4): 969-77.
Dyke GJ, McGowan A, Nudds RL and Smith D (2009). The shape of pterosaur evolution: evidence from the fossil record. Journal of Evolutionary Biology. 22: 890-898.