I am fascinated by rivers: understanding the processes within them and how this shapes biodiversity. Having used traditional morphological techniques to assess plant, algae and macroinvertebrate biodiversity for many years as a freshwater ecologist in the UK, my aim now is to utilise rapidly developing molecular tools, such as environmental DNA (eDNA) to detect all levels of biodiversity at a catchment scale.
My PhD focused on using eDNA to detect invasive and non-native species which led to a number of exciting developments both in terms of finding a new non-native species and developing methods for end-user application. Now I want to apply this to all levels of biodiversity. eDNA offers an unprecedented opportunity for ecologists to gain a much greater insight into biodiversity within aquatic systems and it is with this technique that I want to develop a holistic approach to river ecosystem assessment in order to conserve and protect freshwater habitats.