Sarah Nichols

Research Interests

My pronouns are she/her

I am interested in parasite dispersal and distribution. Understanding how parasites are dispersed is important as they can have drastic impacts on host populations. These impacts may be exacerbated by climate change as host and parasite species respond by shifting their ranges as they track their respective ecological niches, leading to novel interactions and disease dynamics. Yet, the ecological and evolutionary factors underpinning parasite dispersal and distribution remain poorly understood despite their critical importance for understanding emerging infectious diseases, protecting biodiversity and maintaining ecosystem health. For my PhD, I will collaborate with the Natural History Museum in London to study the patterns of parasite dispersal in island-dwelling terrestrial birds using various molecular approaches. I will specifically be focussing on the silvereye (Zosterops laterlis), a passerine distributed in Australia and numerous south-west Pacific Islands. They include partial migrant, dispersive and totally sedentary populations, they have also colonised islands via dispersal over a range of timescales making them an interesting system to explore parasite dynamics.

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