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Iain Hill

Fish in a biogeochemical barrel: taking aim at the evolutionary consequences of nutrient colimitation in freshwater

Life Sciences Building, University of Nottingham


After the completion of BSc (Hons) Zoology, I spent over 7 years working in medical labs, including 2 ½ years as a research technician in clinical cancer trials at the Royal Liverpool University Hospital. I’ve wanted to be a Zoologist since I was a child and resigned from this position in cancer trials in order to pursue a career in natural science research. During and since the completion of an MRes, I have had the opportunity to work on and contribute to a wide variety of projects and technical disciplines including the biomechanics of tree frog climbing, the use of road crossing tunnels by both amphibians and mammals, maternal care in Malawi cichlids, an educational project with the Clyde River Foundation, thermal adaptation in Icelandic stickleback and the animal husbandry of a variety of species. This has been extremely rewarding and I continue to greatly enjoy research, especially when it contributes to a better understanding of ecology and evolution.

This PhD: Fish in a biogeochemical barrel: taking aim at the evolutionary consequences of nutrientcolimitation in freshwater.

How does the abiotic chemistry of the environment affect biotic evolution? This project aims to quantify the chemical composition of aquatic environments and food sources and relate this to the elemental composition of the fish they surround and support. This will be applied along with other factors to gain greater insights into how fish evolution is affected by the chemistry of the water they live in and the food that they eat. Anthropogenic changes to the environment manifest not only in the well documented effects on global temperature, but also the chemical composition of most factors associated with the modern world. The potential consequences of these elemental changes to the environment are not yet fully understood and could hold great significance to interactions between organisms and the environment in regards survival, development and adaptation. The greater understanding we gain about these factors, the more we are armed to mitigate potentially detrimental shifts in environmental conditions.