Since a young age I have always been fascinated by the marine world, with specific interest in how marine invertebrates interact with their environment. I completed my MSc via research at the University of Bristol with Dr Andy Radford and Dr Steve Simpson studying the effects of shipping noise on the shore crab Carcinus maenas. Following this I went on to obtain my PhD from Edinburgh Napier University, supervised by Prof Karen Diele and Dr Rob Briers, investigating the effects of anthropogenic noise playbacks on marine invertebrates.
I am currently a Postdoctoral Research Fellow working with Prof Karen Diele (Napier) and Prof Daniele Daffonchio (KAUST) on the Microlanding project, investigating the role of the bacterial symbiome at the gill-water (air) interface in the evolution towards terrestrialisation
My research fits two main areas:
1) The interactions between aquatic invertebrates and humans, and how through understanding these interactions we can begin to reduce human impacts on the environment.
My research in this area has mainly focused on the effects of man-made noise sources on marine and freshwater invertebrates across multiple levels of biological organisation. Working with both the adult and juvenile stages of a number of invertebrate species, I have been investigating noise induced changes in behaviour, physiology, biochemistry, and genetics. My experiments have mainly focused on decapod crustaceans and bivalve molluscs; however, I have additionally worked on cephalopod molluscs (embryos), echinoderms, and cladocera.
I am continuing to investigate the reactions of aquatic invertebrates to underwater noise, and aspire to expand into other “novel” stressors such as artificial light in both single- and in multi-variable systems with other important marine stressors, such as temperature, ocean acidification, and chemical pollutants.
2) The role of the crustacean gill microbiome in the evolution towards territorialisation.
My current postdoc forms part of the Microlanding project. Working in a collaborative team both at Napier and KAUST (King Abdullah University of Science and Technology) I am working to identify the symbiotic bacterial community that is present through the larval development of two mangrove crab species Cranuca inversa and Thalimata crenata and how these bacteria are transmitted. My main roles include the identification and description of the larval stages of these species, with specific interest in the timing of gill development.
I am an advocate for multimethod, interdisciplinary research where an organism’s responses to stressors and changes in their environment are assessed at multiple levels of biological organisation. Investigating biological responses in this way permits insights into the interactions between responses and their total effect on the organism. Additionally, I strongly support ecosystem level and multistressor research, where responses from many organisms to multiple stressors are combined to gain the most accurate representation of how marine communities are responding to anthropogenic influences. This kind of research requires an interdisciplinary approach, and I value the opportunity to build collaborative research that incorporates the expertise of different research groups within the university, along with external collaborators within the wider academic community, industry, and government.