Lorna Drake

Lorna Drake

Research student

Current Research

I am a PhD student researching the dietary variation of Eurasian otters (Lutra lutra) in Great Britain using genetic and stable isotope techniques. Variation in the diet will be used to inform how British otters may be acquiring macroparasites and contaminants from the ecosystem. This data will also be used to assess how predation by otters may be affecting species of conservation concern or causing conflict with freshwater fisheries. My research is funded by KESS II and The Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales.

Supervisors

Prof. Robbie McDonald (University of Exeter); Rob Parry (Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales).

Previous Research

I graduated in 2015 with a BSc in Zoology from the University of Nottingham. My dissertation investigated the genetic diversity of domestic West African chickens, with a focus on deciphering the origin of domestication for the population. Following my undergraduate studies, I completed an MSc in Conservation and Biodiversity at the University of Exeter, Penryn Campus. My research project focussed on the dietary variation of polecats (Mustela putorius) during their range expansion throughout England and Wales. This study was conducted using stable isotope analysis of samples collected from dead individuals (provided by the National Museum of Scotland) to investigate changes to diet over a temporal and spatial scale, along with any changes due to rodenticide exposure and hybridisation with feral ferrets.

Research Interests My research interests include molecular ecology, wildlife conservation, ecotoxicology, parasitology and non-invasive sampling techniques.