I am interested in the way that maternal effects mediate reproductive responses not only to natural environmental fluctuations but also to the myriad of anthropogenically driven environmental changes such as invasive species, pollution, pesticide use, and climate change.
I am currently investigating how reproduction, including maternal effects, in the aposematic UK native ladybird Adalia bipunctata is influenced by the invasive Harmonia axyridis and native Coccinella septempunctata ladybirds. I focus on alterations in per offspring maternal investment in chemical defence and signalling honesty, both of which influence offspring survival. The main aim of my research is to understand the intrinsic and extrinsic factors that affect the levels of toxins in individuals, and the costs and benefits associated with being toxic, and being exposed to toxins in the diet within an intraguild predation system.
Follow me on twitter: @nonchalantnat
Project title: The price of defence – fitness consequences of intraguild predation amongst ladybirds
Funding body: NERC
My research lies at the intersection between maternal effects, aposematism, and sensory ecology. Maternal effects, where a mother’s phenotype influences offspring phenotype, enables female reproductive behaviour to respond to changes in the maternal and, if reliable cues exist, in the offspring environment in a way that maximises maternal fitness.
My PhD focuses on the costs of chemical defence in the context of intraguild predation, using the native/naturalised 2-spot ladybird (Adalia bipunctata) and 7-spot ladybird (Coccinella septempunctata), and the invasive harlequin ladybird (Harmonia axyridis) as a study system. All life stages of these ladybirds are under intense predation threat from a wide variety of different intraguild and extraguild predators. The harlequin ladybird in particular is highly competitive and polyphagous and will prey upon the eggs and larvae of both 2-spots and 7-spots. Each of these species is also chemically defended at each stage of its life cycle. The presence of these toxins and effects on interspecific ladybird predators is well documented, however many questions surrounding observed inter-individual toxin variation still remain. I focus on alterations in per offspring maternal investment in chemical defence and signalling honesty, both of which influence offspring survival.
The main aim of my research is to understand the intrinsic and extrinsic factors that affect the levels of toxins in individuals, and the costs and benefits associated with being toxic, and being exposed to toxins in the diet within an intraguild predation system.
I previously worked on much larger and furrier species, making my first foray into the world of sensory ecology during my undergraduate thesis, where I studied the longevity of Eurasian otter (Lutra lutra) scent signals. I graduated from Cardiff University in 2010 (BSc Biology 1st Class) and I then spent two years as assistant project manager for the Cardiff University Otter Project and two months as the small mammal research scientist in Cusuco National Park, Honduras, for Operation Wallacea.
Paul SC, Pell JK, Blount JD (2015) Reproduction in Risky Environments: The Role of Invasive Egg Predators in Ladybird Laying Strategies. PLoS ONE 10(10): e0139404. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0139404
Arshi Siddiqui , Omkar A Pervez, Paul C Sarah, and Mishra, Geetanjali (2015) Predatory responses of selected lines of developmental variants of ladybird, Propylea dissecta (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae) in relation to increasing prey and predator densities, Biocontrol Science and Technology, Vol. 25, Issue 9 DOI: 10.1080/09583157.2015.1024101
Chadwick A Elizabeth, Cable Joanne, Chinchen Alex, Francis Janet, Guy Edward, Kean F Eleanor, Paul C Sarah, Perkins E Sarah, Sherrard-Smith Ellie, Wilkinson Clare, and Forman W Dan (2013) Seroprevalence of Toxoplasma gondii in the Eurasian otter (Lutra lutra) in England and Wales Parasites &Vectors, DOI: 10.1186/1756-3305-6-75
Milcu Alex, Paul C Sarah, and Lukac, M. (2011) Belowground interactive effects of elevated CO2, plant diversity and earthworms in grassland microcosms, Basic and Applied Ecology, DOI: 10.1016/j.baae.2011.08.004
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Sarah_Paul Details from cache as at 2018-03-21 14:49:50