Hi everyone, my name’s Michael and I’ll be starting my PhD this October, titled “How do biotic interactions shape the response of species to climate change across temperate and tropical biomes? A global study on damselflies (Odonata: Zygoptera)”. It’s a bit of a mouthful I know, but I’m really excited to start because it incorporates (in my opinion) some of the most interesting aspects of ecology; climate change responses and competitive interactions, with a hands-on approach that will rely on a lot of great field work! Also, as the study spans a latitudinal gradient, it’ll give me the opportunity to carry out research in a number of amazing locations around the world, such as Sweden and Indonesia! I’ve never studied damselflies before, and working with a novel study organism like this is just another element of what makes this PhD great for me. In the past I’ve worked with water fleas, bush crickets, and tropical frogs, so at least now with damselflies I can talk about my research without most people pulling a face!
As much as the individual elements of this PhD attracted me, it’s the overall impact of it that truly sold me. The effects of climate change on biodiversity has always been something I’ve wanted to study, as the results are of immediate conservation concern. It is my hope that while carrying out my PhD I will be able to contribute meaningful research to help offset the effects of climate change and global warming on species biodiversity, not just for one group of organisms such as damselflies, but for entire communities.