Hi, my name is Claire, and my project will examine the phylo- and population genetic structure of the Irish Damselfly (Coenagrion lunulatum) in the hope of contributing to its’ habitat management in Ireland. This pretty little species was only discovered in Ireland during the 1980’s and is already thought to be in decline from eutrophication, habitat loss and climate change. It also has an interesting international distribution, being found in Ireland and mainland Europe, but not in Britain, and so the phylogenetic component of the project will attempt to establish likely colonisation routes from Europe. The project is also a CASE partnership, giving me the chance to collaborate with organisations including CEDaR, RSPB and NPWS.
I’m beyond thrilled to be undertaking a PhD that incorporates genetic and ecological modelling techniques, as I have a keen interest in molecular ecology. I feel very lucky to be doing a QUADRAT DTP, as it forms a partnership between the two universities I have previously studied at, and where my interest in molecular ecology started and grew. I like that molecular techniques can be used to answer a huge range of ecological questions and can be applied to almost any species. So, after working with mustelids at undergraduate and masters’ level, the switch to a freshwater invertebrate is a new and exciting challenge. Apart from molecular ecology, I mainly enjoy wildlife, hiking and spoiling my dog Blue.