- 2009 – Present: PhD Student. Institute of Zoology, Zoological Society of London and Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology, University of Kent. PhD Title: Implications of an emerging infectious disease for the global trade and conservation of amphibians.
- 2007-2008: MSc Wild Animal Biology. Institute of Zoology and Royal Veterinary College, London. Thesis Title: The global amphibian trade – A conservation concern?
- 2005: Researcher. Mikumi National Park, Tanzania.
- 2001-2004: BSc Zoology (Hons). Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge.
Dissertation: Phylogenetic investigation of the Paradisaeidae (birds of paradise), using principle component, cluster and cladistic analysis techniques.
The global decline in amphibians has attracted significant interest amongst the conservation community since its realisation two decades ago. The IUCN Global Amphibian Assessment published in 2004 highlighted the severity of the situation revealing that one third of all 6,470 known amphibian species are threatened, having undergone population declines or extinctions. This makes amphibians more threatened than mammals or birds.
International trade has been identified as one of the major factors implicated in the global decline of amphibians, despite which there has been relatively little research in this area. Threats posed by the trade include, the introduction of non-native species, over-exploitation and the spread of disease (specifically chytridiomycosis).
Amphibians are traded commercially for the food, research animals and for pets. The trade is known to occur on a substantial scale and involves hundreds of species. Despite the magnitude of the trade it is largely unregulated. Whilst the trade in amphibians for the food and research industries typically concentrates on a few captive bred or farmed species, the pet trade involves a wide variety of species collected from the wild in diverse geographical locations, resulting in a complex ‘trade-chain’ from source origin to point of sale in destination countries.
My research focuses on the pet trade, and has three main objectives:
1) To determine the species composition, volume and basic structure of the trade network.
2) To identify potential disease transmission routes and evaluate the risks associated with the movement of amphibians.
3) To examine the socio-economic factors associated with the trade, for example to establish the economic importance of amphibian collecting for local communities in range countries.
My PhD is funded by a NERC-ESRC Interdisciplinary Research Studentship.
- Prof Richard Griffiths: DICE, University of Kent.
- Dr Trent Garner: Institute of Zoology.
- Dr Marcus Rowcliffe: Institute of Zoology.
- Prof Douglas MacMillan: DICE, University of Kent.
Garner TWJ, Stephen I, Wombwell E, Fisher MC (2009) The amphibian trade: bans or best practice? Ecohealth 6, 148-151.