Academic Year 2019-2020
Institution Queen's University, Belfast


School: School of Biological Sciences

Project: Grassland parasites and community dynamics under climate warming

Supervisors: Professor Eric Morgan and Dr Lesley Lancaster

Undergraduate Education: BSc Biological Sciences, University of Reading

Postgraduate Education: MSc Parasitology and Pathogen Biology, Queen’s University Belfast

Research: My research aims to investigate the role of biotic interactions on the transmission of parasites common on agricultural grasslands. Key parasites within this field that I will work on include the gastrointestinal nematodes Cooperia oncophora and Ostertagia ostertagi, as well as potentially diverging to other key species including Nematodirus battus and Paramphistome species. Previous work has looked at how abiotic factors such as light and temperature may influence the hatching of eggs, development of larvae and ultimate transmission of the parasite, but have excluded the role of biotic interactions. Using a modified McMaster’s technique for FEC, I will create my own microcosm studies that will allow me to regulate the number and diversity of species within each container, altering the biodiversity to observe the effects of each interaction, and the system as a whole. A warming climate, however, may alter the biodiversity or the relative proportions of current species in the system by creating favourable conditions to one species over another. Models will be constructed and layered to determine these ‘winners and losers’ at climate scenarios, allowing me to create novel microcosm studies that could be representative of future parasite transmission scenarios.

External Collaborators:

My CASE partner AFBI have and continue to provide excellent assistance throughout my PhD, whilst conducting excellent research, governmental and private tasks routinely:

If you are interested in hearing about my research, things I discover along the way, my thoughts on current topics or just want to support me or connect for a discussion/work, please follow my Twitter and Instagram accounts: @Chrisboughton4 (Twitter) and @chrisboughtonphd (Instagram).