Victoria Gillman

My background centres around ecology and high latitude systems. I completed my MSci in Marine Biology with the University of Southampton. During this I also studied six months each at the University Centre in Svalbard and the University of Gothenburg. My final year thesis focused on the gametogenic ecology of the Antarctic brittlestar Ophionotus victoriae. My hobbies outside academia include hiking, basic mycology and wild swimming.

Integrating genomics and modelling to predict climate change response and identify drivers of decline in the endangered freshwater pearl mussel (Margaritifera margaritifera)

My PhD supervisors are Dr. Kara LaytonDr Lesley LancasterDr Stuart Piertney, and Dr Victoria Pritchard from the Rivers and Lochs Institute at the University of Highlands and Islands. 

PhD aim:
To provide further insight into freshwater pearl mussel (Margaritifera margaritifera) decline by incorporating both evolutionary genomics and ecological models in eco-evolutionary modelling. Using this, I also aim to predict particularly vulnerable populations under climate change which can help inform management and conservation decisions. As this project also uses many relatively new techniques, I also aim to improve their applicability for use in the conservation of other endangered keystone species.

PhD objectives:

  • Extract Margaritifera margaritifera DNA from swabs taken across rivers in Scotland.
  • Sequence extracted DNA using low-coverage whole genome sequencing.
  • Analyze fine-scale population structure using single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs).
  • Model SNPs against environmental variables, e.g. temperature, using GEA (genotype-environment association).
  • Identify climate related SNPs.
  • Predict particularly vulnerable populations using climate related SNPs and future climate forecasts.
  • Consider the applicability of these techniques for other species and environments.

Contact details:
Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @AmoAqua

Institutional profile: