Dr Amy Deacon

 

 

 

 

 

Postdoctoral Research Associate

aed32@st-andrews.ac.uk

Personal Web Page

Research

My research interests include:

  • The measurement and conservation of biological diversity

As part of the BioTIME project, I am investigating temporal changes in biodiversity and the effects of both human-induced and natural disturbances on species abundance distributions over a 5 year period.

We are using the freshwater streams of Trinidad’s Northern Range to explore these questions, and are focusing on three distinct taxonomic groups: fish, benthic invertebrates and diatoms. In this role I spend much of my time as a Visiting Researcher at The University of the West Indies, wading through some of the most beautiful, and least beautiful, streams in Trinidad.

  • The behavioural ecology of invasive species

The Trinidadian guppy, Poecilia reticulata, is much studied in the fields of evolutionary and behavioural ecology, but attention is only recently shifting to its significance as an invasive species. This was the focus of my PhD thesis, which examined those behavioural, life-history and reproductive traits, which might allow it to colonise new habitats where most fail. I used mesocosm studies to investigate the effects of evolutionary history and multiple mating on the colonisation ability of single female guppies and continue to use this approach to address further questions in invasion ecology.

One of the reasons that guppies tend to be introduced to non-native habitats is for mosquito control, and I am also interested in the foraging behaviour of guppies in relation to their efficacy as biological control agents, especially in India. I have collated information from multiple sources in order to get a more complete picture of the current distribution of guppies worldwide, why and when they were introduced, and the reported negative effects – I am still interested in hearing about introduced guppy populations to add to the overall picture of guppy distribution worldwide.