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Dr Ali Birkett

Research Coordinator

Ali Birkett

LEC Building

LA1 4YQ

Lancaster

Tel: +44 1524 593713

Research overview

As Research Coordinator for Lancaster Environment Centre I have the privilege of providing communications, events and administrative support to the researchers of this large interdisciplinary department. This includes arranging conferences and seminar series; working as an interface with the press office; increasing departmental impact and profile including managing website and social media content; researching new opportunities; and celebrating successes.

In a research setting I am personally fascinated by how organisms interact within an ecosystem, how they respond to environmental change, and the consequences that these responses might have for the wider world. I am especially keen on being out in the field, and live in my hiking boots as much as possible! I have specific experience of insect research - in particular working with dung beetles and butterflies - and also of studying interactions above- and below-ground through the international ForestPrime project. I do not, however, believe that researchers can exist on their own, and am passionate about the importance of two-way land-user involvement in research, and of public engagement. I am therefore active in science communications, in particular on Twitter and contributing to the Sex & Bugs & Rock 'n Roll and Lancaster University’s RCUK-SUPI and Science Hunters outreach and public engagement projects.

Thesis Title

Dung Beetles and Ecosystem Functions in UK Uplands: Predicting Responses to Environmental Change (awarded Lancaster University May 2015)

Thesis Outline

This thesis assessed the roles of climate and land use factors in defining dung beetle distributions in temperate uplands and the mechanisms behind the observed responses to changes in temperature. The implications for upland ecosystem respiration of dung beetle community changes in response to warming were also tested in field conditions. Key findings include providing empirical evidence in support of thermal tolerance as a cause of the uphill range contraction of a species in response to a rising local isotherm and predicting an interactive effect between atmospheric warming and dung beetle functional diversity on future ecosystem respiration.

Supervisors: Dr Rosa Menendez, Dr Alan Blackburn (Lancaster University) and Prof Richard Bardgett (University of Manchester)

Qualifications

PhD in Biological Sciences (awarded May 2015): Lancaster University
Thesis: Dung Beetles and Ecosystem Functions in UK Uplands: Predicting Responses to Environmental Change.

MSc Wildlife Management and Conservation (awarded Distinction 2008): University of Reading
Thesis: The Duke of Burgundy (Hamearis lucina) on the Morecambe Bay Limestones: Habitat Requirements for Success.

BSc Conservation Science with Hons in Conservation Management (Awarded 2:1 Honours 2006): University of Stirling

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