Bryony Blades, a PhD student from the University of Oxford, is joining MNCN for a 3-month research visit as part of her doctoral studies. Up until now, her research has focused on the distribution of Catharsius dung beetles in Africa, and the interplay between taxonomic data quality and species distribution models. Whilst here, Bryony will further explore the differences in coverage between open-access data repositories and not yet mobilized museum collections, as well as changes in dung beetle taxonomy over time.
In Oxford, Bryony is supervised by Tim Coulson, Elizabeth Jeffers, and Mike Bonsall, and is funded by the African Natural History Research Trust (ANHRT), which researches specimens from poorly-studied areas to improve knowledge of insect diversity in the Afrotropics. Having completed fieldwork with ANHRT in Zambia in 2022, Bryony’s future PhD work will investigate genome-environment associations of some Catharsius species that show strong spatial segregation in parts of Central and Eastern Africa. She is also keen to examine the effects of regional-level tectonics on biodiversity and would be interested in hearing from anyone who works in that area.