I am a molecular ecologist interested in studying the demographic and evolutionary processes affecting populations, species and ecosystems of conservation concern
We focus on understanding the determinants of genomic diversity, population structure and fitness across species and at a variety of spatio-temporal scales, including studying the behaviour and movements of individuals within their breeding territories, examining how demography and social structure interact with genetic diversity in fragmented ecosystems, through to understanding the partitioning of genomic diversity in species with high vagility and continent-wide ranges. We focus our projects on trying to understand basic evolutionary processes but we place substantial emphasis on provision of data and recommendations to management authorities for action and policy development.
Our work includes wild and domestic species, including livestock breeds, for which demographic history is often well understood and where genome resources are abundant. We use methods from forensic DNA profiling through to whole genome sequencing and integrate these data with environmental data and genealogical and stochastic population modeling in an effort to provide comprehensive information for biodiversity management and conservation. Much of our work is carried out in collaboration with applied conservation organisations, including the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, The Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust, Bristol Zoo, the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland, the Ryeland and Lleyn Sheep Societies. We also work directly within and in collaboration with the IUCN Species Survival Commission, the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation and Welsh Government.