Dr. Frances Clare
Post doctoral research assistant
- May 2014 to date: Post doctoral research assistant, Institute of Zoology, London.
- October 2010 to August 2014: NERC funded PhD studentship, through Imperial College London and the Institute of Zoology.
- May 2010 to October 2010: Research assistant, Department of Infectious Disease Epidemiology (DIDE), Imperial College London.
- January 2008 to April 2010: Research Technician, Wildlife Epidemiology Department, Institute of Zoology, London.
- June 2008 to May 2009: Part-time research technician for the Cetacean Stranding Investigation Program (CSIP), Institute of Zoology.
- September 2006-2007: MSc Wild Animal Biology, Royal Veterinary College
- September 2003 to 2006: BSc Hons, Environmental Biology (First class). Lancaster University
- June 1999 to June 2003: Veterinary Nurse, Hird and Partners, Halifax. (2000 to 2002: Veterinary Nursing NVQ 3, awarded with Credit, Royal Veterinary College).
The aim of my PhD was to assess the risk posed by Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), to the amphibians of a group of Pyrenean Lakes. To do so, I focussed principally on the common midwife toad (Alytes obstetricans), which, in parts of its range has suffered population declines and even local extinction as a result of exposure to Bd. I took advantage of a well-described spatial system of Bd infection, located in the French Pyrenees. Mass mortalities, due to chytridiomycosis, have been observed in populations of the highly susceptible Alytes obstetricans since the discovery of the pathogen in this area in 2002. I aimed to determine whether infection with chytridiomycosis has the potential to cause declines in this species across the affected region, and whether all populations are equally at risk. I addressed a number of key questions related to this system:
- Is there a lethal dose of Bd infection in Alytes obstetricans within this system?
- Are populations of infected Alytes obstetricans decreasing over time?
- Is there a difference in disease induced mortality rates of infected Alytes obstetricans among populations?
- Does the prevalence and intensity of infection in Alytes obstetricans vary over time, and does this affect the infection status of the greater amphibian community?
I examined whether I could infer a threshold of infection based on comparison of swab data taken from infected Alytes obstetricans metamorphs exhibiting different clinical states. These data were further used to ascertain how reliable the current method of Bd detection (swab sampling) is at providing an accurate representation of the true burden of infection suffered by an individual.
I assessed whether populations are declining or not in the presence of infection, by measuring abundance of Alytes obstetricans over-wintered tadpoles over time. This was undertaken by carrying out a number of capture mark recapture studies at three focal sites, using visible implant elastomer (VIE) as a marker of over-wintered tadpoles.
I investigated the nature of host parasite interactions and how they compare amongst three different sites, by quantifying mortality rates over time in a laboratory set-up, then comparing these to estimates of mortality in the field. Additionally, data were collected that would allow investigation of a hosts ability to persist with infection, the existence of infection thresholds, and the temporal variation of infection within individual hosts.
I determined any changes in host- parasite interactions by focusing on one site and investigating the response to Bd over time in three different host species with varying susceptibility. I investigated the changes in prevalence and infection intensity over a seven year period and investigated the potential influence of environmental variation in the changes observed.
- Dr Trent Garner (IoZ
- Professor Matthew Fisher (Imperial College)
- Dr Marcus Rowcliffe (IoZ)
Bielby J, Bovero S, Sotgui G, Tessa G, Favelli M, Angelini C, Doglio S, Clare F, Gazzaniga E, Lapietra F, Garner TWJ, (2009). Fatal chytridiomycosis in the Tyrrhenian painted frog. Ecohealth 6, 27-32
Farrer, R, A., Weinert, L, A., Bielby, J., Garner, T, W, J., Balloux, F., Clare, F., Bosch, J., Cunningham,A, A., Weldon, C., du Preez, L,H., Anderson, L., Kosakovsky, S, L., Shahar-Golan, R., Henk D., and Fisher, M, C (2011). Emergence of panzootic amphibian chytridiomycosis is unique to a single globalised hypervirulent lineage. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 108(46): 18732-18736. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1111915108
Jepson PD, Deaville R, Acevedo-Whitehouse K, Barnett J, Colloff A, Clare F, Davison N, Jarvis DT, Loveridge J, Magregor SK, Morris S, Penrose R, Perkins M, Simpson V, Tregenza N, Cunningham AA, Fernadez A (2013). UK common dolphin (Delphinus delphis) mass stranding event: was a navel exercise the cause? PLoS ONE 8(4): e60953. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0060953
Balaz V, Voros J, Civis P, Vojar J, Hettyey A, Sos E, Dankovics R, Jehle R, Christiansen DG, Clare F, Fisher MC, Garner WJ and Bielby J (2013) Assessing Risk and Guidance on Monitoring of Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis in Europe through Identification of Taxonomic Selectivity of Infection. Conservation Biology. doi: 10.1111/cobi.12128
Schmeller DS, Blooi M, Martel A, Garner TWJ, Fisher MC, Azemar F, Clare F, Leclerc LJ, Guevara-Nieto M, Loyau A, Pasmans F (2014). Microscopic aquatic predators strongly affect infection dynamics of a globally emerged pathogen. Current Biology 24, 176-180
Orton F, Baynes A, Clare F, Duffus ALJ, Larroze MS, Garner TWJ (2014) Body size, nuptial pad size and hormone levels: potential non-destructive biomarkers of reproductive health in wild toads (Bufo bufo). Ecotoxicology. DOI: 10.1007/s10646-014-1261-3