In my last postdoc, I worked with Craig Primmer and Toni Laaksonen at the University of Turku, Finland, applying genetic techniques to key questions in evolutionary ecology and applied conservation. We investigated local adaptation in wild salmon by quantifying the reproductive success of individuals from different populations breeding in different parts of a river system in Lapland, giving us unusually unbiased data on how migratory strategy affects fitness. We used similar techniques to develop a framework for monitoring the dynamics and movements of wolf packs in south-west Finland, contributing unbiased information to help solve a human-wildlife conflict.
Before that postdoc, I held a locum role at the journal Nature as Ecology & Evolution Editor, with responsibility for the assessment of and decisions on submitted manuscripts across the field. Before that, I spent some time at the British Antarctic Survey, working with Richard Phillips on habitat selection and niche differentiation in two species of giant petrel. Using satellite-tracking data, I examined inter- and intra-specific segregation in foraging distributions at different points in the breeding cycle, relating these differences to variation in habitat preferences.
This seabird ecology study followed from my PhD, in which I investigated how parasites of the European shag affect the way in which individual hosts trade off countering the infection against other aspects of fitness such as reproduction and foraging. I used field experiments to examine how worm infections in both parents and chicks affected various life-history decisions, reflected in changes to chick survival and growth, parental condition and subsequent breeding, and feeding behaviour. More details and my thesis are available here. This work was part of the Isle of May long-term study run by the UK’s Centre for Ecology and Hydrology.