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Kate Allberry

Kate AllberryKate Allberry smiles at the camera

 

Email: Kpa9@kent.ac.uk

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Profile

Since a young age, I have been fascinated by endangered species, felines, and our relationship with the natural world. I completed my undergraduate degree in Conservation Biology at Bournemouth University. During this time, I embarked on my first conservation volunteer trip to Thailand, which cemented my research interests in southeast Asia; my dissertation investigated the impact of tiger and bear farming in Thailand on the trade in Traditional Chinese Medicine.

 

After a short stint in ecological consultancy, I studied for my Masters in Wildlife Biology, receiving a grade of distinction. For my research project, I conducted a survey of carnivores in the Langeberg Mountains in South Africa, investigating differences in species presence (focusing on felines) with habitat type and weather patterns. Following my Masters, I wanted to develop my experience in southeast Asia, and spent six months with WWF Malaysia. During this time, I travelled extensively with the tiger team, learning about field survey techniques in the Belum-Temengor Forest Complex, and occupancy and habitat suitability assessment methods.

 

I spent four very happy years as Development Officer for Scotland with The Woodland Trust, until I was finally ready for PhD life. Over the last two years, I have been developing my research ideas, whilst gaining experience in conservation genetics, and building the partnerships and collaborations required for a successful project.

 

Current Research

‘How is environmental change influencing the movement of Malaysia's apex predators in wildlife corridors?’

 

Widespread habitat fragmentation is occurring across human-dominated landscapes in Southeast Asia. It is crucial to understand how rapid environmental change is affecting population connectivity and ensure there is sufficient gene flow, particularly between isolated populations of wide-ranging, low-density and often endangered large carnivores. To date, there has been limited genetic sampling in and around key habitat linkages in Peninsular Malaysia, leaving a gap in understanding of the extent of genetic connectivity and long-term likelihood of survival of its big cats.

 

This study will assess gene flow and the impacts of environmental change on population connectivity, focusing on three threatened large carnivores: the Indochinese leopard (Panthera pardus delacouri), Clouded leopard (Neofelis nebulosa) and Malayan tiger (Panthera tigris jacksoni). Genetic information will be collected primarily from feacal samples, and combined with climate and landscape data to forecast how populations may respond under a range of scenarios in the face of future change. This will also inform the potential restoration or creation of connectivity between fragmented habitats, and support the delivery of key national legislation, including The National Tiger Action Plan and The Central Forest Spine Master Plan for Ecological Linkages in Peninsular Malaysia.

 

The project will involve a new collaboration between the Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology (DICE), TRACE Wildlife Forensics Network, and partners in Peninsular Malaysia.

 

Publications

Allberry, K. (2017). The Human Face of Conservation: what we can all learn from the Sundarbans, Dhaka Courier, 34 (7), 17-19.

Rofes, J., Herman, J., and Allberry, K. (2017). Post-glacial recolonization and Holocene diversification of crocidura suaveolens (mammalia, soricidae) on the northwest fringe of the European continent (under review)

 

Awards

Wildlife Biology Masters programme award for academic excellence.

 

Grants

£1,500 - The Genetics Society

£1,000 - Lillingstone Trust (PhD travel grant)

£1,000 - The Wiltshire Community Foundation Shuker Scholarship (MSc study grant)

 

Research groups

DICE Conservation Genetics Research Team

 

Supervisory team

Professor Jim Groombridge

Dr Matthew Struebig

Dr Rob Ogden

 

Other relevant activities

2017: Ambassador for WildTeam.

2017: Guest speaker: WildHour: woman power for a liveable earth (Noazesh Knowledge Centre, Dhaka)

2016: Phylogenetics study of Crocidura shrews (National Museum of Scotland Vertebrate Biology Team)

2015: Conservation genetics trainee (Royal Zoological Society for Scotland)

2014 & 2015: Guest speaker: BSc and MSc natural science programmes (Edinburgh Napier University)