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Beth Gillie

Research Postgraduate (PhD)

Research Postgraduate (PhD) in the Department of Biosciences


I have a particular interest in how changing climate is impacting species and ecosystems. Climate is changing more rapidly across the Arctic and higher latitudes and there are widespread expectations that many species from temperate regions will move into the Arctic. I am specifically interested in how Arctic ecosystems will change as a consequence of these shifting species’ distributions.
As part of Durham University’s Arctic Research Centre for Training and Interdisciplinary Collaboration (DurhamARCTIC), the aim of my PhD is to assess the potential for the Arctic to be invaded by novel species and the potential for novel assemblages to form. Using distribution modelling, I will explore the impacts of projected changes on Arctic ecosystems, focusing on key terrestrial and marine species and habitats. My research will explore the likelihood of species interactions across trophic webs facilitating or limiting the range shifts being realized. These models can then by synthesized to understand the consequent ecosystem and human impacts of such changes.
Prior to starting my PhD my research has focused on understanding habitat characteristics that determine species occurrence, fish social behaviour and exploring phenological mismatch in birds. For my MSc project, I used an altitudinal gradient to study variation in breeding phenology, spring phenology and resource peaks in a population of tits in the French Pyrenees.