Dr Ali BirkettResearch Coordinator
As Research Coordinator for Lancaster Environment Centre I have the privilege of providing communications, events and administrative support to the researchers of this large interdisciplinary department. This includes arranging conferences and seminar series; working as an interface with the press office; increasing departmental impact and profile including managing website and social media content; researching new opportunities; and celebrating successes. In a research setting I am personally fascinated by how organisms interact within an ecosystem, how they respond to environmental change, and the consequences that these responses might have for the wider world. I am especially keen on being out in the field, and live in my hiking boots as much as possible! I have specific experience of insect research - in particular working with dung beetles and butterflies - and also of studying interactions above- and below-ground through the international ForestPrime project. I do not, however, believe that researchers can exist on their own, and am passionate about the importance of two-way land-user involvement in research, and of public engagement. I am therefore active in science communications, in particular on Twitter and contributing to the Sex & Bugs & Rock 'n Roll and Lancaster University’s RCUK-SUPI and Science Hunters outreach and public engagement projects.
Dung Beetles and Ecosystem Functions in UK Uplands: Predicting Responses to Environmental Change (awarded Lancaster University May 2015)
This thesis assessed the roles of climate and land use factors in defining dung beetle distributions in temperate uplands and the mechanisms behind the observed responses to changes in temperature. The implications for upland ecosystem respiration of dung beetle community changes in response to warming were also tested in field conditions. Key findings include providing empirical evidence in support of thermal tolerance as a cause of the uphill range contraction of a species in response to a rising local isotherm and predicting an interactive effect between atmospheric warming and dung beetle functional diversity on future ecosystem respiration.Supervisors: Dr Rosa Menendez, Dr Alan Blackburn (Lancaster University) and Prof Richard Bardgett (University of Manchester)
PhD in Biological Sciences (awarded May 2015): Lancaster UniversityThesis: Dung Beetles and Ecosystem Functions in UK Uplands: Predicting Responses to Environmental Change.
MSc Wildlife Management and Conservation (awarded Distinction 2008): University of ReadingThesis: The Duke of Burgundy (Hamearis lucina) on the Morecambe Bay Limestones: Habitat Requirements for Success.
BSc Conservation Science with Hons in Conservation Management (Awarded 2:1 Honours 2006): University of Stirling
Linking species thermal tolerance to elevational range shifts in upland dung beetles
Birkett, A.J., Blackburn, G.A., Menendez Martinez, M.R. 27/11/2017 In: Ecography.
The Automated Root Exudate System (ARES): a method to apply solutes at regular intervals to soils in the field
Lopez-Sangil, L., George, C., Medina Barcenas, E., Birkett, A.J., Baxendale, C.L., Brechet, L.M., Estradera-Gumbau, E., Sayer, E.J. 09/2017 In: Methods in Ecology and Evolution. 8, 9, p. 1042-1050. 9 p.
Tackling the Crisis in PhD Supervision through Group Active-Learning
Stevens, C.J., Brockett, B., Baxendale, C.L., Birkett, A.J., Brown, C., Cole, A., Gould, I., Griffiths, H., Nicholson, R., Quirk, H.J., Rogers, I., Walker, T., Ward, S.E. 19/09/2016 In: Teaching and Learning Together in Higher Education. 1, 19, 9 p.
Public Engagement Award
Prize (including medals and awards)
Sex & Bugs & Rock ’n Roll
LU RCUK-SUPI: Inspiring the Next Generation of UK Researchers