Environmental and intrinsic drivers of population change – an energetics approach

Olivia Hicks

Email: och@liv.ac.uk

Start Year: 2014, 1st cohort

Host University: University of Liverpool

Department: Ecology and Marine biology

Supervisors: Jonathan Green (University of Liverpool), Sarah Burthe (CEH), Francis Daunt (CEH)

Twitter: @O_Hicks1 


Academic profile


MRes in Ecology, Evolution and Conservation, Distinction, Imperial College London, 2011-2012

BSc in Zoology, 1st Class Honours, University of Edinburgh, 2006 – 2010.

Skills and relevant qualifications

ACCE PhD Research topic

Environmental and intrinsic drivers of population change – an energetics approach

The effects of environmental change on wild populations are underpinned by variability within and between individual animals. Many species exhibit reproductive skew with some individuals consistently successful and others unsuccessful. Recent work has illustrated the critical role of parasitism in this process. Our understanding of how parasitism interacts with intrinsic drivers and environmental conditions to determine breeding performance can be greatly improved by considering energetics, since nearly all life-history processes can be quantified through their impacts on rates of energy use and gain. By doing so we can predict how populations will respond to anthropogenic changes to their environment.

In this project, I aim to quantify the energetic consequences of parasitism and environmental conditions on the breeding productivity of European shags Phalacrocorax aristotelis. Shags are ideal model system as biologging devices can be used to evaluate variation amongst individuals in behaviour and energetics, and new endoscope methodologies allow quantification of parasitism.