We're looking for a PhD Student!
It’s a dam problem: predicting the location of new beaver dams in the Arctic.
We are advertising a highly interdisciplinary CASE DTP project that will combine remote sensing, climate modelling & indigenous knowledge to predict the future location of beaver dams in the North American Arctic. Beavers are moving north with climate change and their dams are having large impacts on ecosystems, in particular affecting fish migration. The consequences of this are particularly harsh for the local Inuit people, as certain fish species have high cultural significance and are important for food security. Predicting where beavers will build dams in the future will allow communities to better plan and adapt to changes in food availability. This PhD is based at Edinburgh University, and is linked with Makivvik Corporation, the legal representative group for Inuit people in North-East Canada. Full details here, application deadline Jan 4th 2024 at 12pm. Contact me for questions.
I’m an ecologist and conservation, in how the changing world is affecting biodiversity, and what we can do to help conserve it. I ask questions at big scales, in both space and time, taking advantage of the increasing availability of large ecological datasets and data science techniques. Some of my work has included modelling how climate change will affect the distribution of Arctic species, assessing how well protected areas (like national parks and nature reserves) affect waterbird species across the world, and developing new methodologies to help conservationists make better decisions. I have a particular interest in the polar regions, with projects in both the Arctic and Antarctic.
My work extends beyond academia and I have collaborated many government and non-government organisations, including The Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR), WWF, Wetlands International, The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the Australian Antarctic Division and Makivik Corporation.
Current Research Interests
Current Research Interests:
I currently have ongoing projects in the following areas:
- Understanding the impacts of climate change on Arctic species, specifically at the moment on snowshoe hare-lynx population dynamics, and on the northward shift of beavers in Canada, and the implications of this for local people (in collaboration with Makivik corporation)
- How do we measure progress towards conservation policy targets? Are our methods for developing indices and indicators fit for purpose? (With a particular focus on Global Biodiversity Framework targets)
- Evaluating protected area effectiveness, in particular at the moment on whether populations in protected areas are more resilient
- Improving species distribution models using paleoecological data
I encourage interested students to get in touch on anything related to these topics, or something else if you feel it's thematically similar!
I teach on the BSc in Ecological and Environmental Sciences. The modules I teach significantly on are Conservation Science (ECSC10036) and Data Science in Ecology and Environmental Science (ECSC10038), plus I give guest appearances on Sustainability, Society and Environment (ECSC08010) and Current Issues in Ecology and Enviromental Science (ECSC10037)
I completed my undergrad in Zoology and Ecology at the University of Queensland in 2013, this included a 6 month exchange at The University Centre in Svalbard (A+ time, would recommend to anyone!). After this I did my Honours year, a separate degree in Australia consisting of a 1 year research project, with Richard Fuller, investigating how climate change will impact where migratory shorebirds can breed in the Arctic.
I then spent a couple of years doing contract work with the Australian Antarctic Division, collating biodiversity databases, and assessment how well Antarctic protected areas represent biodiversity.
I then moved to the UK to do my PhD at Cambridge (2016-2020) working with Bill Sutherland, Julia P. G. Jones, Ali Johnston, Jonas Geldman and many other excellent people to develop methods for working with time series data, and evaluating the impact of protected areas on waterbird populations across the globe.
After this I was awarded an 1851 Research Fellowship (note – this was my final option, I’d been rejected by 15 other fellowships!), which I did at The University of Exeter with Regan Early, looking at how paleoecological data can improve species distribution models.
I started as Lecturer in Ecology and Conservation at Edinburgh in September 2023.
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