Dr Christopher Thorpe
School of Biological and Marine Sciences (Faculty of Science and Engineering)
My research interests are wide but follow the processes that regulate species distribution at a range of scales and how we humans can change that. A topic that naturally leads into how to mitigate anthropogenic activity, in particular in the tropics. Recently I have investigated these impact at a range of trophic scales from fungal pathogens to vertebrates and across land-uses from grazing to open cast mining. Now turning my attention to how these environmental processes are seen in the eco-physiological responses of freshwater organisms.
Currently I am a post-doctoral research fellow in the School of Biological and Marine Sciences at the University of Plymouth, part of an international multi-disciplinary team engaged on a project in south western India with the objective of determining the suitability of a common freshwater crab species as a sustainable resource for aquaculture. Then to assess the socio-economic impact of such a move together with a broad assessment of market capacity. My principal responsibility is for the biological aspects of the research but I also provide the first point of contact for the whole team in India. Our work can be seen in more detail at: https://www.plymouth.ac.uk/research/ecophysiology-and-development-research-group/conservation-physiology-of-marine-and-freshwater-crabs
Using molecular and whole animal physiological indicators we seek to address such questions as species suitability, population structure impacts on the safe supply range from centralised production, environmental constraints on siting production facilities, outbreeding risk management.
PhD, Thesis title 'The biogeography and conservation status of the rocky plateaus of the northern Western Ghats, India'
BSc Honours, Wildlife Conservation (now Conservation Biology).
Well established researcher in India with an extensive network of research related academics and associated professionals.
30 years experience as an entrepreneur prior to returning to academia.
Member of the Royal Society of Biology.
Fellow of the Zoological Society.
Post Graduate Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society.
Roles on external bodies
Panel chair and convener for the Royal Geogrophical Society's international conference 2019.
I currently do not have any teaching commitments.
Staff serving as external examiners
I am not currently an external examiner.
As a multidisciplinary bio-geographer my interests and experience lie in more than one camp but always with the objectives of understanding the processes behind observed organism distribution. Then relating these to natural world drivers and anthropogenic activity. All key skills in mitigating change from shifting climate patterns and human activity enabling informed choices to be made on land-use and ecological restoration.
Impact is becoming more important to research bodies and grant providers and whilst I have always sought engagement with a wide range of stakeholders I now take a more structured approach. Always striving to deliver the maximum impact from a project often finding this lies beyond the academic. Impact planning form an early project stage has become a key part of project development and management for me.
My research has been focused on the south Asian paleo-tropics since 2012 with neo-tropical experience prior to 2012. In India I have used these techniques to comment on, amongst others, the drivers of the distribution of the amphibian fungal pathogen that causes chytridmycosis, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis. At a macroscale reviewing current post bauxite mining practices in the same region.
Based in one of the eight most important biodiversity hotspots in the world the research area, the rocky plateaus of northern Western Ghats, delivers a model ecosystem where arrange of biogeographical questions can be tested. Amongst these are comparisons of the relative importance of topography, climate and land-use. Highly important findings in the face of ever increasing demands placed on the ecosystem for raw materials, food resources and other ecosystem services. More detail on my current project can be seen at: https://www.plymouth.ac.uk/research/ecophysiology-and-development-research-group/conservation-physiology-of-marine-and-freshwater-crabs
I am now expanding those horizons both geographically and technically to look at the viability of common crab species use as a freshwater aquaculture taxa. Initially using molecular and organismal ecophysiology techniques to determine both the viability but also limits and structure of any subsequent commercial structure. Working alongside social scientists marrying the biology to the human needs adds a real depth of practical impact to the project.
Grants & contracts
2014 C. J. Thorpe, Erasmus Darwin Barlow Expedition Fund, administered by the Zoological Society of London.
2014 C. J. Thorpe, Geographical Fieldwork Grant, Royal Geographical Society with IBG.
2013 C. J. Thorpe, Geographical Fieldwork Grant, Royal Geographical Society with IBG.
2012 C. J. Thorpe, Monica Cole Research Award, Royal Geographical Society with IBG.
Key publications are highlightedJournals
Reports & invited lectures
Peer Reviewed Journal Articles
Thorpe, C. J., Lewis, T. R., Fisher, M. C., Wierzbicki, C. J., Kulkarni, S., Pryce, D., Davies, L., Watve, A. & Knight, M. E. (2018a) 'Climate structuring of Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis infection in the threatened amphibians of the northern Western Ghats, India'. Royal Society Open Science, 5 (6), pp. 180211.
Thorpe, C. J., Lewis, T. R., Kulkarni, S., Watve, A., Gaitonde, N., Pryce, D., Davies, L., Bilton, D. T. & Knight, M. E. (2018b) 'Micro-habitat distribution drives patch quality for sub-tropical rocky plateau amphibians in the northern Western Ghats, India'. Plos One, 13 (3), pp. e0194810.
Pryce, D., Thorpe, C. J., Kulkarni, S. & Lewis, T. R. (2016) 'Amphiesma stolatum (striped keelback): Habitat and reproduction'. The Herpetological Bulletin, 136 pp. 37-38.
Thorpe, C. J. & Watve, A. (2016) 'Lateritic Plateaus in the Northern Western Ghats, India; a Review of Bauxite Mining Restoration Practices'. Journal of Ecological Society, Pune, Maharashtra, India., pp. 25-44.
Lewis, T. R., Piggott, S., Griffin, R., Greig-Smith, P., Martin, G., Barretto, G., Bajibab, K., Thorpe, C. J., Prodromou, P., Fordham, M., Willis, D., Turner, J., Radovanovic, A., Holloway, D., Wood, R., Hand, N., Lloyd, S., Clapson, M., Hennesy, J. & Oldham, G. (2010) 'Herpetological observations from field expeditions to North Karnataka and Southwest Maharashtra, India'. Herpetological Bulletin, (112), pp. 17-37.
Thorpe-Dixon, C. J. (1982) 'A success in treating massive fleshloss in Geochelone Carbonaria.'. The Herpetile, 7 (1), pp. 8-10.
2019. Panel chair and organiser for session entitled ' Impacts of climate change in the aquatic environment'. Royal Geographical Society, 2019 International Conference.