I am interested in spatial connectivity in population dynamics and the population-level consequences of movement, as well as disease ecology. These research areas overlap as free-living organisms come into contact with transmissible agents of infectious disease. I use a combination of mathematical modelling, ecological experiments with model species, and field observations from natural ecosystems. My theoretical research on population and community ecology is grounded in important applied problems, including food security, renewable energy, biodiversity loss, and invasive species.

I am a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and a Fellow of the Royal Entomological Society.

Research group website: http://www.spacepop.uk

Areas of Expertise

  • Disease ecology
  • Ecological genomics
  • Metapopulations
  • Population biology
  • Spatial dynamics

Publications

  1. & Conservation of pattern as a tool for inference on spatial snapshots in ecological data. Scientific Reports
  2. & Identification of ion-channel modulators that protect against aminoglycoside-induced hair-cell death. Journal of Clinical Investigation Insight
  3. & Pine processionary moth (Thaumetopoea pityocampa, Lepidoptera: Thaumetopoeidae) larvae are highly susceptible to the entomopathogenic fungi Metarhizium brunneum and Beauveria bassiana. Biocontrol Science and Technology 27, 1168-1179.
  4. & Measuring the role of seagrasses in regulating sediment surface elevation. Scientific Reports 7, 11917
  5. & Flower resource and land management drives hoverfly communities and bee abundance in seminatural and agricultural grasslands. Ecology and Evolution 7, 8073-8086.

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Teaching

  • BIO249 Introduction to field ecology

    This residential field course comprises practical work employing techniques appropriate to sample biodiversity and environmental parameters from a range of terrestrial and freshwater habitats (woodlands, grasslands, freshwater systems). Students will learn techniques for the identification of species, practice recording accurate field notes, and gain experience in the analysis and presentation of ecological data. Furthermore students will be able to recognise different temperate habitats and the indicator species associated with them.

  • BIO252 Ecological Data Analysis

    This module introduces students to the basics of analyzing ecological data, using the R Software Environment for Statistical Computing. The topics covered will be also broad enough to be equally applicable to basic data analysis across biology. Students will receive 7 computer-based workshops/practicals, complemented by 7 lectures before each workshop. Furthermore, a weekly drop-in stats help session will be provided, as well as help through a course Facebook page. The module will cover 5 key themes: 1). Data analysis and statistics, reproducibility and the R Software Environment; 2). Data management; 3). Data visualization; 4). Data analysis - The general linear model; 5). Data analysis - Presentation of results and outline of more advanced methods. The module will be subject to continuous assessment consisting of 6 pieces of computer-based work (70% of final mark), which will require the students to carefully complete all course work assigned on a weekly basis ('independent learning'), in order to be able to complete the assignments. A further 30% of the final mark will consist in a data analysis report, to be completed after the end of the course. Weekly readings and non-assessed computer-based exercises will be assigned, too.

  • BIO253 Introduction to field zoology

    This residential field course comprises practical work employing techniques appropriate to sampling the zoological biodiversity of a range of terrestrial and freshwater habitats (coastland, woodland, grassland, freshwater systems). Students will learn techniques for the identification of species, practice recording accurate field notes, and gain experience in the analysis and presentation of zoological and ecological data. Furthermore students will be able to recognise and describe key groups of animals associated with a range of temperate habitats.

  • BIO334 Advanced Data Analysis

    This module extends core knowledge of statistical computing to cover a range of more specialized topics of particular importance to the analysis of real world biological datasets, such as those collected for final year undergraduate research dissertations. We use the R software environment; building on experience of this gained during the core Second Year module, BIB214 ¿ Ecological Data Analysis. Students will be guided through 5 computer-based workshops / practicals, including brief introductory lectures to each topic. Further help will be provided through a series of drop-in sessions. The workshops, and associated additional guidance, will cover 5 key themes: 1) Linear modelling refresher, 2) Generalised Linear Modelling A - Count data, 3) Generalised Linear Modelling B - Proportion data, 4) Non-parametric analysis, 5) Introduction to grouped data. The module will be subject to continuous assessment, consisting of 4 pieces of computer-based work, throughout the course. In addition, students will complete a coursework assignment after the course, where they will gain additional experience of analysis and interpreting biological data.

Supervision

  • Developing a risk based treatment strategy for Japanese Knotweed, Fallopia Japonica, within South Wales (current)

    Student name:
    MRes
    Other supervisor: Dr Laura Roberts
  • 'The movement and space-use of grey seals, Halichoerus grypus, in Welsh SAC''s' (current)

    Student name:
    MRes
    Other supervisor: Prof Luca Borger
  • 'Using novel strategies to assess factors affecting freshwater macroinvertebrate community composition' (current)

    Student name:
    MRes
    Other supervisor: Dr Wendy Harris
  • 'Examining surface complexity and substrate effects on artificial intertidal structure colonisation' (current)

    Student name:
    MRes
    Other supervisor: Dr John Griffin
  • 'The phylogenetic pattern of macroalgal community function' (current)

    Student name:
    MRes
    Other supervisor: Dr John Griffin
  • Untitled (current)

    Student name:
    PhD
    Other supervisor: Dr Cynthia Froyd
  • ''Development of Metarhizium brunneum for control of mosquito larvae'' (current)

    Student name:
    PhD
    Other supervisor: Prof Tariq Butt
  • Advanced Telemetry and Bio-logging for Investigating Grey Seal Interactions with Marine Renewable Energy (MRE) Installations. (current)

    Student name:
    PhD
    Other supervisor: Prof Luca Borger
  • Ecology and Conservation of Sabellaria alveolata reefs. (current)

    Student name:
    PhD
    Other supervisor: Dr Ruth Callaway
    Other supervisor: Dr John Griffin
  • Novel products and strategies for wireworm control in potatoes (current)

    Student name:
    PhD
    Other supervisor: Prof Tariq Butt
  • Functional diversity of macroalgae (current)

    Student name:
    PhD
    Other supervisor: Dr John Griffin
  • Linking plant demography, ecological dynamics and population genetics across space and time. (current)

    Student name:
    PhD
    Other supervisor: Prof Luca Borger
  • 'The role of PCBs on parasitism in harbour porpoise using UK strandings data' (awarded 2017)

    Student name:
    MRes
    Other supervisor: Prof Luca Borger
  • ''''Heterogeneity in Nettle-Invertebrate Communities over Multiple Spatial Scales'''' (awarded 2017)

    Student name:
    MRes
    Other supervisor: Dr Wendy Harris

Administrative Responsibilities

  • Director of Postgraduate Research - Department of Biosciences , Swansea University

    2017 - Present

  • Examinations Officer - Department of Biosciences, Swansea University

    2014 - 2016

External Responsibilities

  • NERC Peer Review College, NERC

    2017 - Present

  • Editorial Board Member, Proceedings of the Royal Society, Biological Sciences

    2015 - Present

  • Review College, British Ecological Society

    2012 - Present

Key Grants and Projects

  • SEACAMS2 - Sustainable Expansion of the Applied Coastal and Marine Sectors in Wales. 2016 - 2019

    ERDF, Swansea co-I, £17M

  • Stress testing and optimisation of early interception networks for invasive pests of pollinators. 2014 - 2015

    DEFRA, co-I, £153K

  • Stress testing and optimisation of early interception networks for invasive pests of pollinators. 2014 - 2015

    DEFRA, co-I, £153K

  • Genome-wide comparison of the European (Apis mellifera) and Asian (A. cerana) honey bee. 2011 - 2014

    BBSRC, PI, c. £50K sequencing costs

  • Unravelling the impact of the mite, Varroa destructor, on the interaction between the honey bee and its viruses. 2011 - 2013

    BBSRC, co-I, £800K

  • Modelling systems for managing bee disease: the epidemiology of European Foul Brood. 2011 – 2013. 2011 - 2013

    BBSRC, co-I, £750K

  • Genomic approaches for studying honey bee biology and improving bee health. 2011

    DEFRA, co-I, £179K

  • Value in People Award. 2006 - 2008

    Personal Research Fellowship, Wellcome Trust funded

Career History

Start Date End Date Position Held Location
2013 Present Senior Lecturer Swansea University
2006 2013 Research fellow University of Warwick
2004 2006 Postdoctoral researcher Zoological Society of London
2001 2004 Postdoctoral researcher Silwood Park, Imperial College
1997 2001 PhD Population Genetics Imperial College London
1993 1996 BA Biological Sciences University of Oxford