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Rhidian Thomas

OVERVIEW / TROSOLWG YVmEppPg

I have always had a keen interest in the natural world, especially aspects of ecology, animal behaviour and conservation. I graduated from Cardiff University with BSc Biology in 2013, followed by an MRes in Biosciences in 2014, before starting my PhD in September 2014 which is funded by the Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol.Overland crayfish gif

My PhD research focusses on the dispersal of non-native species, including signal crayfish (Pacifastacus leniusculus) and pumpkinseed fish (Lepomis gibbosus). In the future, I plan on continuing a research-led career by entering a postdoctoral position. I am particularly interested in the areas of urban ecology and biotic exchange. I also take part in many outreach events, increasing awareness of the issues associated with non-native species.

Ers bod yn blentyn dwi wedi bod â diddordeb mewn bioleg a’r byd naturiol, yn arbennig mewn ecoleg, ymddygiad anifeiliaid â chadwraeth. Graddiais o Brifysgol Caerdydd gyda BSc Bioleg yn 2013, ac yn dilyn hyn graddiais â Meistr mewn Ymchwil Biowyddorau yn 2014, cyn dechrau fy noethuriaeth ym mis Medi 2014 a noddir gan y Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol.11138079_10206289117600697_8433003512017461628_n

Mae fy ngwaith ymchwil yn canolbwyntio ar wasgariad rhywogaethau anfrodorol, gan gynnwys cimwch yr afon arwyddol (Pacifastacus leniusculus) a’r swilyn tagell-goch (Lepomis gibbosus). Yn y dyfodol, gobeithiaf barhau mewn gyrfa academaidd, drwy gael swydd ôl-ddoethurol mewn ymchwil. Dwi â diddordeb mawr mewn ecoleg drefol a chyfnewidiad rhywogaethau. Yn ogystal, rwy’n cymryd rhan mewn nifer o ddigwyddiadau er mwyn hybu ymwybyddiaeth am problemau rhywogaethau anfrodorol. 

PUBLICATIONS / CYHOEDDIADAU

James, J., Thomas, J. R., Ellis, A., Young, K. A., England, J., Cable, J. (2015) Over-invasion in a freshwater ecosystem: newly introduced virile crayfish (Orconectes virilis) outcompete established invasive signal crayfish (Pacifastacus leniusculus). DOI:10.1080/10236244.2015.1109181

Thomas, J. R., James, J., Newman, R. C., Riley, W. D., Griffiths, S. W., Cable, J. (2015) The impacts of streetlights on an aquatic invasive species: Artificial light at night alters signal crayfish behavior. Applied Animal Behaviour Science. doi:10.1016/j.applanim.2015.11.020

RESEARCH PROJECTS / PROSIECTAU YMCHWIL

PhD: Movement and dispersal of aquatic non-native species / Symudiad a dosbarthiad rhywogaethau ymledol dŵr croyw

Supervisors / Goruwchwilwyr: Dr. Siân Griffiths, Prof. Jo Cable

pseedMy current research examines the dispersal capabilities of non-native species in the UK, including the signal crayfish (Pacifastacus leniusculus) and pumpkinseed (Lepomis gibbosus). I am particularly interested in how these north American species and their associated parasites may disperse, and how we can use this information to form management programs. To do this, I am collaborating with partners at the Environment Agency (Dr Chris Williams and Dr Gareth Davies) as well as Dr Catherine Wilson and Valentine Muhawenimana from the School of Engineering.

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The signal crayfish is an established invader, having been present in the UK for decades and is an incredibly successful invasive species. Like other crayfish species, the signal crayfish is able to walk on land and therefore can move between nearby water bodies. There is a lack of research regarding what causes crayfish to leave the water, and the limited research articles that do highlight this behavior are largely limited to anecdotal evidence. During my PhD, I am designing and implementing laboratory based experiments to try to quantify the degree of overland dispersal which signal crayfish can achieve, and which factors may influence this.

The pumpkinseed was introduced to the UK around a century ago, but currently has a limited distribution in the UK, though it is a highly invasive fish in other parts of Europe. The pumpkinseed is generally a lentic species though it may be also found in slow flowing rivers and streams. Climate change is expected to favour the expansion of pumpkinseed in the UK, and I am particularly interested in examining the ability of pumpkinseed to disperse upstream and colonise new environments. This will help us understand the invasion potential of this species, inform management and implement necessary control programs.

Mae fy ngwaith ymchwil yn edrych ar wasgariad rhywogaethau anfrodorol yn y DU, gan gynnwys 20121108_105729cimwch yr afon arwyddol (Pacifastacus leniusculus) a’r swilyn tagell-goch (Lepomis gibbosus). Dwi â diddordeb yn y prosesau sydd yn galluogi’r rhywogaethau yma, a’u parasitiaid cysylltiedig, i wasgaru, a sut y gall ddefnyddio’r wybodaeth yma ar gyfer rheoli rhywogaethau ymledol. Er mwy gwneud hyn, dwi’n cydweithio gyda Dr Chris Williams a Dr Gareth Davies o Asiantaeth yr Amgylchedd, yn ogystal â Dr Catherine Wilson a Valentine Muhawenimana o’r Ysgol Beirianneg.

Mae cimwch yr afon arwyddol yn ymledwyr hynod lwyddiannus sydd wedi sefydlu yn y DU o
ogledd America ers degawdau, ac sydd nawr yn gyffredin ar hyd y wlad. Gall cimwch afon gerdded dros y tir, a trwy hyn gallant deithio o un ecosystem dwr croyw i’r llall. Er hyn, does dim llawer o ymchwil ar pam mae cimwch afon ymledol yn symud allan o’r dŵr, a pa ffactorau a all effeithio hyn. Mae fy ngwaith i yn edrych ar wasgariad cimwch afon dros y tir drwy arbrofion yn y labordy. Mae’r swilyn tagell-goch yn rhywogaeth ymledol gyffredin yn Ewrop, ac er gafodd ei gyflwyno i’r DU tua chanrif yn ôl, hyd yn hyn, nid yw yn ymledu yn bell iawn. Mae’r pysgodyn yma yn dueddol o fyw yn llynnoedd yn y DU, er ei fod yn gallu byw mewn afonydd araf hefyd. Disgwylir y bydd newid hinsawdd yn hybu gwasgariad y swilyn tagell-goch, ac yn ystod fy noethuriaeth, byddaf yn ceisio deall sut y gall y swilyn tagell-goch wasgaru yn erbyn y llif ac i fyny afonydd wrth i’r hinsawdd newid.

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MRes: The influence of artificial light at night on invasive signal crayfish / Effaith golau dros nos ar gimwch afon anfrodorol

Following my final year project and subsequent placement, I became very interested in how invasive species may interact with other anthropogenic stressors to influence ecosystems. During my MRes course, which was funded through the Mini-KESS scheme, I completed a research project investigating how artificial light at night may influence the behaviour of signal crayfish (Pacifastacus leniusculus). Artificial light at night (ALAN) is arguably one of the most profound changes that are caused due to human activity, and has been shown to significantly influence both flora and fauna. The study, published in ‘Applied Animal Behaviour Science’, showed that night-lighting at ecologically relevant intensities (such as near streetlights) was enough to drastically reduce invasive crayfish activity and reduce their interactions. This could potentially influence their invasion success in highly lit, urban areas. The paper is available here.20130924_123427

Yn dilyn fy mhrosiect ymchwil flwyddyn olaf a phrosiect CUROP, roedd gen i ddiddordeb mewn sut y gall rhywogaethau ymledol gael eu heffeithio gan broblemau arall anthropogenig a sut y byddai hyn yn effeithio ar ecosystemau. Yn ystod fy nghwrs MRes, a gyllidwyd gan Mini-KESS, gwblhawais brosiect a edrychodd ar sut y gall golau dros nos effeithio ar ymddygiad cimwch yr afon arwyddol (Pacifastacus leniusculus). Mae golau dros nos yn un o’r newidiadau mwyaf ym myd natur a achosir gan weithred ddynol, a dangosir eisoes ei bod yn cael effaith sylweddol ar ystod eang o fflora a ffawna. Dangosodd yr ymchwil, a gyhoeddwyd yn ‘Applied Animal Behaviour Science’, fod golau dros y nos ar lefelau tebyg i’r rheini a welir mewn dinasoedd yn lleihau gweithgarwch a rhyngweithiadau cimwch yr afon ymledol. Gall hyn cael effaith ar eu llwyddiant ymledol o fewn ardaloedd dinasyddol sydd â llawer o oleuni dros y nos. Gwelir y papur yma.

B.Sc. Final Year Project / CUROP placement: Over-invasion in a freshwater ecosystem: newly introduced virile crayfish (Orconectes virilis) outcompete established invasive signal crayfish (Pacifastacus leniusculus)

My final year project investigated interactions among non-native crayfish species, and was my first introduction to invasive species research. The study involved working closely DSCN8366with Dr Joanna James and was a great opportunity for me to get hands on experience designing and implementing experiments involving animal behaviour. We collaborated with members of the Environment Agency to bring together elements of fieldwork and laboratory studies, which showed that the recently introduced virile crayfish is outcompeting the established signal crayfish. After graduating, I took part in the CUROP (Cardiff Undergraduate Research Opportunities Programme), which allowed me to expand on my final year project and publish this research (See James et al. 2015).

Canolbwyntiodd fy mhrosiect blwyddyn olaf ar ryngweithiadau rhwng dwy rywogaeth cimwch yr afon anfrodorol, a’r prosiect yma oedd y tro cyntaf i mi weithio ar ymchwil rhywogaethau anfrodorol. Weithiais yn agos gyda Dr Joanna James, a bu’r prosiect yn gyfle da o gael profiad yn dylunio a gweithredu arbrofion ar ymddygiad anifeiliaid yn y labordy. Fe weithion gydag Asiantaeth yr Amgylchedd er mwyn cyfuno gwaith maes ac arbrofion labordy i ddangos fod cimwch yr afon newydd i’r DU, sef Orconectes virilis, yn drechddusodli y cimwch yr afon arwyddol. Ar ôl graddio, cymerais ran yn CUROP (Cardiff Undergraduate Research Opportunities Programme), a adawodd i mi ehangu ar fy ngwaith ymchwil er mwyn gallu ei gyhoeddi (gweler James et al. 2015).

CONFERENCES / CYNHADLEDDAU

Thomas, JR., James, J., Ellis, A., Young, K. J., Cable, J. (2015) ‘Out with the old and in with the new’: newer invasive species competitively dominant over pre-established counterpart. Oral Presentation, National Crayfish Conference, Giggleswick, Yorkshire, UK. 17-19th August

Thomas, JR., James, J., Ellis, A., Young, K. J., Cable, J. (2014) ‘Out with the old and in with the new’: newer invasive species competitively dominant over pre-established counterpart. Oral Presentation, International Association of Astacology Conference, Sapporo, Japan. 22-26th September 2014

Thomas, JR., James, J., Ellis, A., Young, K. J., Cable, J. (2014) ‘Out with the old and in with the new’: newer invasive species competitively dominant over pre-established counterpart. Oral presentation, Cardiff University, School of Biosciences, Organisms and the Environment Division away day, Cardiff, Wales, 13th May 2014

Thomas, JR., James, J., Ellis, A., Young, K. J., Cable, J. (2014) ‘Out with the old and in with the new’: newer invasive species competitively dominant over pre-established counterpart. Oral presentation, Wales Ecology and Evolution Network, Gregynog, Wales, 31st October 2014

Thomas, J. R (2013) Agonistic interactions between two invasive crayfish species, Orconectes virilis and Pacifastacus leniusculus in the UK. Cardiff Undergraduate Research Opportunities Placement 2013 poster conference.

Thomas, J. R (2014) The Effects of Artificial Night Lighting on Invasive Signal Crayfish (Pacifastacus leniusculus). MRes Presentations. September 2014.

 

OUTREACH EVENTS / DIGWYDDIADAU ALLANOL

National Eisteddfod of Wales 2015 /  Eisteddfod Genedlaethol Cymru 2015, Meifod.

Living Graveyard Event, St Teilo’s Church, Abergavenny (2015) / Mynwent Byw, Eglwys Sant Teilo, Y Feni (2015).

Family Science Fair, Ysgol Pencae, Cardiff 2016 / Ffair Wyddoniaeth y Teulu, Ysgol Pencae, Caerdydd 2016

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Contact / Cyswllt:

Email: thomasjr6@cardiff.ac.uk

Twitter / Trydar: @rhidian1

Location / Lleoliad :

Cardiff School of Biosciences, The Sir Martin Evans Building, Museum Avenue, Cardiff, CF10 3AX

Ysgol Y Biowyddorau, Adeilad Syr Martin Evans, Heol yr Amgueddfa, Caerdydd, CF10 3AX