Dr. Abbie Chapman

PhD with Amanda from 2015 - 2018


PhD title: 

A trait-based approach to the biodiversity of deep-sea hydrothermal-vent ecosystems.  


About Abbie's PhD research:

Abbie used a trait-based approach to study the biodiversity of active deep-sea hydrothermal-vent ecosystems, gaining insights relevant for broader ecology and conservation science.  She characterised and scored the traits of hydrothermal-vent species relevant to their performance in deep-sea vent ecosystems and their contribution to the communities they are found in.  This enabled Abbie to investigate whether rare species contributed more to the functional distinctiveness of vent communities in the Northeast Pacific Ocean than common ones, as published with Dr Amanda Bates and Prof. Verena Tunnicliffe here 


Abbie is the co-Principal Investigator of the sFDvent Working Group, funded to build a global trait database for deep-sea hydrothermal vent species.  She worked with a large group of international expert collaborators to complete the first version of this database during her PhD.  In addition, Abbie dipped her toes into other waters to work with Dr Craig McClain and Dr Clifton Nunnally, using traits to investigate ecological patterns in wood-fall communities, and Dr Daniel Jones and Dr Diva Amon, to review the potential environmental impacts of deep-sea mining.


Where Abbie is now:

Abbie is currently working at the Centre for Biodiversity and Environment Research, UCL, with Dr Tim Newbold on the GCRF-funded SENTINEL project.  She is working with Tim to assess the impacts of agricultural expansion on biodiversity in Ghana, Ethiopia, and Zambia.  These countries are aiming to become food self-sufficient in the near future (in line with UN Sustainable Development Goals) and this will likely have social and environmental trade-offs to consider to ensure the sustainability and longevity of these plans.  Abbie is enjoying using the statistical approaches that she learnt with our lab in this new project.



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Dr. Jackson Chu

NSERC Post-doctoral researcher


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Research Interests: 

Benthos, habitat variability, in situ data


Research Focus:

Developing an ecophysiological framework for predicting the response of cold-water corals and sponges to habitat variability. 



Ph.D. Biology - University of Victoria, 2016
M.Sc. Biological Sciences - University of Alberta, 2010
B.Sc. Co-op Biology and Physical Geography- Simon Fraser University, 2006


Dr. Murray Duncan

PhD with Amanda from 2017 - 2018

PhD Title:

A physiological study on a commercial reef fish to quantify the relationship between exploitation and climate change resilience


About Murray’s PhD Research:

Murray joined Dr. Amanda Bates and the Physiological Diversity Lab in 2017 from Rhodes University, South Africa through a Commonwealth Split-Site Fellowship. His doctoral thesis used physiological traits to quantify if protection from exploitation can promote climate change resilience of resident reef fish. For this research, he studied populations of Chrysoblephus laticeps from protected and exploited areas along South Africa’s south coast. He found that Marine Protected Areas can conserve physiological traits of exploited fish populations and potentially buffer the effects of climate change on them.


Where Murray is now:

Murray is currently working as a postdoctoral research fellow at the South African Institute for Aquatic Biodiversity and the Department of Ichthyology and Fisheries Science, Rhodes University. He is running research projects investigating Argyrosomus species population dynamics and physiological tolerances in Namibia and an ACEP project expanding the findings of his doctoral thesis in South Africa.

He is set to start a two-year postdoc at Stanford University split between Geological Sciences and Hopkins Marine Station under the supervision of Prof. Erik Sperling. The postdoc will more specifically test fundamental tenets of the Metabolic Index and to use the Metabolic Index to predict how future oxygen and temperature change will affect organisms and ecosystems in the California Current system.



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Dr. Conor Waldock

PhD with Amanda from 2015-2019


PhD title: 

Ecological Assemblages in a Warming Climate: Addressing Knowledge Gaps in the Role of Thermal Heterogeneity and Realised Niches at a Global Scale


About Conor’s PhD Research:

Ecological responses to Anthropogenic climate warming are occurring across the globe. The aim of Conor's thesis was to help build the requisite knowledge to describe and predict assemblage scale responses to climatic warming. During his PhD he developed a conceptual framework relating the processes of individual movements and population dynamics to the spatial and temporal dimensions of temperature change. In addition, he assessed large-scale patterns in species' realised niches across different ecological systems (from reef fish to insect assemblages) by assessing how abundance and occurrence of species varies across local and global thermal gradients. 


Where Conor is now:

Conor is currently working as a post-doctoral researcher at ETHZ (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology) with Loïc Pellissier in the Landscape Ecology group. He is working on the Horizon 2020 Biodiversa funded project 'REEF-FUTURES' to asses ecosystem services provided by reef fishes, e.g., reef fishes provide the main source of protein for over 1 billion peoples and contribute cultural and tourism value to coastal communities. His focus is to project the future of these ecosystem services under different scenarios of global climate and socio-economic change by the year 2100.



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Dr. Robert Cooke

PhD with Amanda from 2015-2019


PhD Title:

Quantifying ecological resilience at the global scale

About Rob’s PhD Research:

There is increasing interest in how management can support ecological resilience, in order to stem the widespread loss of global biodiversity. Current attempts to quantify resilience however remain so narrow in scope or of such limited scale that their results are unlikely to counteract this loss. Rob's studentship aimed to address this by constructing a generalised resilience framework that depends upon the simultaneous measurement of multiple cross-scale indicators, which underpin two inputs of resilience: integrity (the initial state of the system) and exposure (the magnitude, frequency and structure of disturbance that the system is subject to). This research was supported by the University of Southampton and the NERC-funded SPITFIRE Doctoral Training Partnership.

Where Rob is now:

Rob is now a postdoc at the University of Gothenburg studying the the impact of humans on global patterns of bird diversity.

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Rose Stainthorp

PhD Candidate

PhD title: Bioenergetics of tolerance in marine ectotherms

Postgraduate research student (MPhil/PhD) within the NERC funded SPITFIRE Doctoral Training Partnership. Currently hosted by the University of Southampton at the National Oceanography Centre Southampton and collaborating closely with the British Antarctic Survey as a partner institute. Temperature has long been considered one of the fundamental constraints setting species' geographic limits but changes in temperature due to global-scale drivers do not act in isolation. In order to be able to predict how climate change is going to restructure ecosystems globally, we need to develop mechanistic models that untangle the effects of interacting stressors on organism performance.


Loïc Sanchez

MSc Candidate

Research Interests: 

Environmental DNA, Community Ecology, Fish Ecology, Marine Mammals


Thesis Focus:

Local Contributions to Beta-Diversity inside and outside MPAs



B.Sc. Biology and Ecology - University of Montpellier

Undergraduate Research Assistants


Emma Wells

Assisting with species collections.


Élie Pellerin

Digitalising dive logs to create a temperature time series dataset.