Zoology ECRN Committee

Gwilym Rowlands (ECRN Chair)

James Martin Fellow, Oxford Martin Programme on Sustainable Oceans / Alex Rogers’ Group

My research examines how earth observation data, such as satellite imagery, can be best harnessed to the needs of ecology, conservation and management. This work includes image and spatial analysis, field monitoring and survey, as well as mathematical modelling and as such has relevance to a broad spectrum of applications. My current focus is marine fisheries, where I study the opportunities and constraints of different satellite sensors, and work to develop operational solutions for effective monitoring, control, and enforcement. Please see this link for more about
my research.

Jessica Hedge (ECRN Secretary)

Postdoctoral Researcher, MacLean Group

My research focuses on the molecular evolution and population dynamics of microbial pathogens. Specifically, I apply population genetics approaches to microbial whole genome sequence data to understand infectious disease evolution, both within individuals and across populations. I am currently investigating the genetic determinants of antimicrobial resistance through analysis of whole genome sequence data derived from both clinical and experimentally evolved strains of bacteria. Please see this link for more about my research.

Prue Addison (ECRN Career Development & Training Courses )

Postdoctoral Researcher & NERC Knowledge Exchange Fellow, Interdisciplinary Centre for Conservation Science

I am a conservation scientist who is passionate about improving the use of science in decision-making. Through my Postdoctoral Research and Knowledge Exchange position, I am facilitating the transfer of biodiversity research to address key conceptual and operational challenges associated with corporate biodiversity strategies. I work closely with businesses to help operationalise the ‘no net loss (NNL) of biodiversity’ principle, where biodiversity losses should be avoided where possible, and residual losses balanced with biodiversity gains to ensure overall NNL. Please see this link for more details about my research.

Twitter: @prueaddison

Helen Alexander (ECRN New Starter Support / Fellowships & Grants Representative )

Swiss National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow, MacLean group

I combine theory, experiments and statistical inference to study topics in microbial population biology, infectious diseases and evolution of pathogens. I am particularly interested in stochastic processes in evolution, including mutational processes and the dynamics of rare genetic variants. Currently I am working on the evolution of antibiotic resistance using the bacterium Pseudomonas aeruginosa as a model system. You can read more about my research.

Twitter: @HelenKAlexander

Ella Cole (ECRN Support)

Senior Researcher and Group Manager, Edward Grey Institute

I am an ecologist with a strong interest in how organisms plastically adjust to climate change. My main research focus is exploring the causes of small-scale spatial variation in spring phenology of trees, insects and birds in order to better understand the scale at which natural selection acts on plasticity in birds. I use long-term data on great tit and blue tit breeding behaviour and fitness, together with detailed environmental data to test hypotheses about the influence of scale on fitness and population dynamics. I am also interested in understanding what factors may constrain animals’ abilities to respond to climate change.

I manage the Wytham Tit Project, Twitter: @WythamTits, @EllaFCole

Frances Colles (ECRN Social Media and Outreach Representative)

Postdoctoral researcher, Martin Maiden, Marian Dawkins and Adrian Smith’s research groups

I’m a postdoctoral researcher and microbiologist, with a background in veterinary and clinical diagnostics. My research largely focuses on Campylobacter, the leading cause of bacterial gastroenteritis worldwide, which in the UK results in an average of one person becoming infected every 2 minutes. In order to ultimately find ways of reducing levels of human disease, I am interested in the transmission and modelling of Campylobacter amongst chicken flocks, the impact of chicken health, welfare and immunity on their susceptibility to colonisation, bacterial genomics and variation in the gut microbiome. Please see this link for more details about my research.

Twitter: @Fran_Co001

Louis du Plessis Plessis (ECRN Career Development & Training Courses / Social Media and Outreach Representative)

Postdoctoral researcher, Pybus group

I analyse signatures left by population dynamic processes and selective pressures in pathogen genomes. These signatures contain important information about the spread and adaptation of infectious diseases. In particular, I am interested in the potential of phylodynamic methods to produce rapid and accurate inferences of key epidemiological parameters and inform public health policy during emerging and re-emerging infectious disease outbreaks. Please see this link for more details about my research.

Jonathan Green (ECRN Career Development & Training Courses Representative)

Departmental Lecturer, Edward Grey Institute

I am a behavioural ecologist with strong interests in the evolution of social behaviour, in particular how animals in social groups gather and use information to resolve conflicts and promote cooperation. My research explores these questions in a variety of vertebrate and invertebrate taxa, using a combination of behavioural experiments, field studies and comparative analysis. My current research explores, among other things, the evolution of cooperation and individual helping decisions in long-tailed tits and the factors shaping maternal investment in communally-breeding house mice. Please see this link for more about my research.

Adam Hargreaves (ECRN Fellowships & Grants / Social Events Representative)

Sir Henry Wellcome Postdoctoral Fellow

The overarching theme of my research interests involves how changes in the genome and alterations in gene regulation can give rise to novel phenotypes, and how these relate to evolutionary adaptation. This has included genome and transcriptome sequencing of variety of organisms including snakes, gerbils and sharks using both 2nd and 3rd generation sequencing technologies. My current project is funded by the Wellcome Trust and seeks to use the inhibitors venomous snakes use to protect themselves against their own venom to develop novel and more cost-effective antivenom treatments. Please see this link for more about my research.

Catherine Head (ECRN Social Events Representative)

Alex Rogers’ Group

I am a marine biologist with a background in marine conservation. I undertook my PhD at University of Oxford focusing on the biodiversity and community structure of coral-associates in the Chagos Archipelago, in the Indian Ocean, one of the world’s largest no-take marine protected areas. Previous to that I worked in marine conservation for 7 years for Zoological Society of London and Coral Cay Conservation. Currently my post-doctoral research is focused on investigating the genetic connectivity of corals between shallow and deep depths to identify if mesophotic reefs (reefs deeper than 40m) can act as a refugia from human impacts, allowing reseeding of shallower reefs after mortality events. I’m also exploring the use of new genetic techniques, such as Environmental DNA, as a non-invasive method of monitoring marine biodiversity. In my spare time I love SCUBA diving, travelling and wildlife drawing. Please see this link for more about my research.

Shelly Lachish (ECRN Social Media Representative / New Starter Support Representative)

Daphne Jackson Post-Doctoral Fellow, Coulson group

I am an ecologist with research interests in wildlife disease ecology, population dynamics, demography, behavioural and evolutionary ecology and conservation biology. After completing my PhD in 2010 I worked as a post-doctoral researcher for two years before leaving the academic realm to work in science editing and health services. This fellowship marks my return to academia. Much of my past research focused on investigating the individual and population level effects of epidemic and endemic diseases on the fitness and behaviour of wild hosts. The focus of my current work is to examine the consequences of wildlife diseases at a broader scale: on communities of species within ecosystems. I am interested in understanding how disease outbreaks within predator populations mediate impacts and interactions at lower trophic levels. I will use existing long-term data from Yellowstone National Park to build models to explore the role of disease in mediating trophic cascades and structuring communities.

Twitter: @shellylachish