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Dr Ali Birkett

Research Promotion Coordinator

Ali Birkett

LEC Building



Professional Role

As Research Promotion 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, seminar series and public/stakeholder engagement activites; 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.

My own research background is in terrestrial ecology, with a growing interest in knowledge exchange.

Research Interests

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 knowledge exchange, and of public engagement. I am therefore active in science communications, in particular on Twitter and contributing to the Sex & Bugs & Rock 'n Roll project, as well as in partnership with other organisations such as British Ecological Society and Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, and previously Lancaster University’s RCUK-SUPI and Science Hunters outreach and public engagement projects.

External Roles

Trustee of the British Ecological Society (Early Career Representative): 2018 - 2020

Trustee of the Ecological Continuity Trust: 2018 -

Contact me

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)


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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