Professional summary

Research Interests

I am an evolutionary ecologist interested in how climate and land-use changes influence invertebrate populations and communities. My current research has two main focuses:

1) Examining the role of genetic diversity and local adaptation in keystone tree species on endophytic fungi-insect herbivore-natural enemy interactions

Recent research projects (from 2010):

2017: Impacts of tree diversity and drought on forest resilience to pathogens: a theoretical and experimental synthesis. PhD student Elsa Field co-supervised with Andy Hector (lead PI, University of Oxford), Karsten Schönrogge (UKCEH), Nadia Barsoum (Forest Research).

2017: Post invasion recruitment of natural enemies: how aliens fit in. PhD student Koorosh McCormack co-supervised with Karsten Schönrogge (Lead PI, UKCEH), Graham Stone (University of Edinburgh), Joan Cottrell (Forest Research).

2016: NERC GW4+ DTP Research Placement Project: Evaluating climate matching: do changes in forest management influence the susceptibility of trees to pests and pathogens? Tara Love, Melanie Gibbs (lead PI), Nadia Barsoum (Forest Research), Karsten Schönrogge (UKCEH)

2016 - 2019: Co-I on PuRpOsE funded under the LWEC Tree Health and Plant Biosecurity Initiative: PRotect Oak Ecosystems, an integrative approach to improve understanding threats to oak health and means to manage and mediate impacts.

2016 to date: NC Ecosystem Resilience – demonstrating the role of intraspecific genetic diversity in Scot’s pine resilience to climate change in collaboration with Stephen Cavers and Karsten Schönrogge (both UKCEH)

2015 to date: Evaluating the impact of emergent disease on microbial and insect populations in the tree ecosystem. PhD student Shyamali Roy co-supervised with Robert W. Jackson (Lead PI, University of Reading), Karsten Schönrogge (UKCEH), Richard Harrison (East Malling Research).

2015-2016: NC Ecosystem Resilience - Demonstrating the use of tolerant genotypes to build resilience in forestry to climate change, and to explore the potential non-target effects of these management strategies on associated communities. In collaboration with Karsten Schönrogge (UKCEH), Graham Stone (University of Edinburgh), James Nicholls (University of Edinburgh).

2014–2017: Promoting resilience of UK tree species to novel pests and pathogens: ecological and evolutionary solutions. ProTree funded under the Tree Health and Plant Biosecurity Initiative.

2009 - 2012 CLIMAFO: Climate Change and Management of Forest Biodiversity: predicting the impacts of climate change adaptation strategies on plant-herbivore – enemy interactions. In collaboration with Karsten Schönrogge (PI, UKCEH), Graham Stone (Co-I, University of Edinburgh), James Nicholls (University of Edinburgh). NERC EHFI grant.

2) Determining how spatial and temporal environmental heterogeneity in fragmented landscapes influences butterfly reproduction, dispersal and population dynamics. 

Recent research projects (from 2010):

2016: Co-I on a People's Trust for Endangered Species Internship grant to Laura Weir: Viral infection and growth on drought stressed host plants changes resource allocation patterns and life history costs in the Speckled Wood butterfly, Pararge aegeria

2016 to date: Team member of the Butterfly GEnetics Monitoring Scheme (BGEMS):

2015 to date: How does a butterfly embryo cope with environmental stress? PhD student Nora Braak co-supervised with Casper J. Breuker (Lead PI, Oxford Brookes University), Andrew Jones (Oxford Brookes University).

2015 to date: NC Ecosystem Resilience – investigate whether intraspecific genetic diversity influence butterfly resilience to drought stress in collaboration with Tom Oliver (University of Reading) and John Day (UKCEH)

2014–2015: PI on a British Ecological Society small project research grant: Can butterfly mothers promote resilience in changing thermal environments? In collaboration with Casper J. Breuker (Oxford Brookes University).

2013 to date: Evo-devo of Shx genes in the Speckled Wood butterfly, Pararge aegeria. PhD student Luca Livraghi co-supervised with Casper J. Breuker (Lead PI, Oxford Brookes University) and Peter Holland (University of Oxford).

2011-2014: Examining the developmental genetic regulation underlying oogenesis in the Speckled Wood butterfly, Pararge aegeria. PhD student Jean-Michel Carter co-supervised with Casper J. Breuker (Lead PI, Oxford Brookes University). 

2011-2012: PI on the NC project 'How do pathogens influence wing development in a range expanding species?' Collaborators: Rosemary Hails (UKCEH), Helen Hesketh (UKCEH), Casper J. Breuker (Oxford Brookes University).

Brief CV

Since 2010: Higher Scientific Officer/ Local Safety Advisor, (UKCEH, Wallingford)

2007-2009: Postdoctoral researcher at Université catholique de Louvain, Belgium, with Prof. Hans Van Dyck

2004-2006: Postdoctoral research assistant at the University of Manchester, with Dr. Paula Kover

2001-2004: Research assistant and PhD student at the University of Manchester and Manchester Metropolitan University, with Prof Allen Moore


2004, PhD Manchester Metropolitan University: Intraspecific competition and life-history plasticity in the speckled wood butterfly Pararge aegeria

1998, MSc Manchester Metropolitan University: Male density affects female reproductive output in the speckled wood butterfly Pararge aegeria: possible consequences for the Madeiran speckled wood butterfly P. xiphia