Miss Alexandra North
School of Biological and Marine Sciences (Faculty of Science and Engineering)
ARIES funded PhD candidate working on a project titled 'Mitigating the impacts of climate change, emerging disease and invasive species on native amphibian populations in the UK'.
Brief Curriculum Vitae
2019-present: PhD candidate, ARIES NERC DTP, University of Plymouth & ZSL Institute of Zoology, in partnership with ARC Trust
2016-2019: Hedgehog Officer, Suffolk Wildlife Trust
2015-2016: Research Assistant, Birdlife International
2014: Research Assistant, Environment & Sustainability Institute, University of Exeter
2013-2014: Research Intern, People’s Trust for Endangered Species
2013-2014: MSc in Conservation & Biodiversity, University of Exeter
2010-2013: BSc in Zoology, University of Exeter
My research interests focus around understanding the impacts of environmental change on wildlife populations and identifying management approaches to mitigate negative effects for species of conservation concern. My previous research has looked at the influence of artificial street lighting on small mammals, farmland management on harvest mouse nesting and anthropogenic and ecological drivers of disease in common frogs.
My current research
Alien species and disease are listed as the highest-ranking causes of extinction for amphibians worldwide (Bellard et al. 2016). Climate change is an additional and growing threat that is likely to act in synergy with these pressures (Blaustein et al. 2010). Most introduced species do not become invasive; an understanding of the impacts of those that become established is important for categorising invasiveness and for informing conservation decision making. My research will utilise a field system in Wales, UK, in which both native, declining populations of amphibians can be found alongside newly discovered smooth Lissotriton vulgaris and alpine newts Ichthyosaura alpestris, both of which are non-native to the area.
Smooth and alpine newts are native to central mainland Europe, whereas smooth newts can also be found naturally across parts of the UK. The Non-Native Species Secretariat of Great Britain lists I. alpestris as a high risk species as they are known carriers of the fungal pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) and the species is also considered an emerging threat in New Zealand where removal programmes are underway. Anecdotal reports suggest potential impacts on native amphibians in the UK, but empirical evidence for this is lacking. By combining field and modelling approaches, this project aims to elucidate the impacts of non-native newts on native amphibian populations, understand how patterns of invasion may be influenced by climate change and ultimately help inform conservation plans for native amphibians facing these potential threats.
North, A.C, Hodgson, D.J, Price, S.J, Griffiths, A.G.F. Anthropogenic and ecological drivers of amphibian disease (Ranavirosis). PLOS ONE. 2015 10(6): e0127037
Novosolov, M., Rodda, G.H., North, A.C., Butchart, S.H.M., Tallowin, O.J.S., Gainsbury, A.M., Meiri, S. Population density–range size relationship revisited. Glob. Ecol. Biogeogr. 2017 26 (10): 1088-1097
Schaus, J., Uzal, A., Gentle, L. K., Baker, P. J., Bearman-Brown, L., Bullion, S., Gazzard, A., Lockwood, H., North, A., Reader, T., Scott, D.M., Sutherland, C. S., Yarnell, R. W. (2020) Application of the Random Encounter Model in citizen science projects to monitor animal densities. Remote Sensing in Ecology & Conservation. 6(4): 514-528
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