Higher Degree by Research Candidate
School of Biological Sciences
Faculty of Sciences
Alexander Salis' current research focuses on how fauna respond to climate and environmental change using the brown bear (Ursus arctos) as a model species.
Understanding how and why a large number of megafaunal species (taxa >45kg) became extinct during the Late Quaternary (the past 0.5-1.0 million years), and the relative impacts of human activity and climate change, is crucial not only for explaining the current distribution and status of species but also for future conservation management of extant species. Temporal genetic data (ancient DNA) has proven central to investigating these influences. However, adequate ancient data is not available for many megafaunal species, making robust inferences about these influences difficult. Alexander aims to use brown bears (Ursus arctos) as a model species for studying the effect of past climate and environmental change (including human activity) on megafaunal species. Specifically, he will test how climate change and environmental changes during the Late Quaternary (past 0.5-1.0 million years) have influenced the population dynamics of brown bears and closely related taxa (such as polar bear and short-faced bear). This will help to clarify how megafauna species in general respond to climatic and environmental changes (including human activity) and why some taxa went extinct while others, such as brown bear, survived.
Date Position Institution name 2016 PhD Candidate University of Adelaide, Adelaide 2014 - 2015 Summer bursary Allan Wilson Centre, University of Otago 2014 - 2016 Demonstrator/ Teaching assistant University of Otago, Dunedin 2013 - 2014 Summer bursary Allan Wilson Centre, University of Otago 2013 - 2013 Research assistant University of Otago, Dunedin
Date Institution name Country Title 2014 - 2014 University of Otago New Zealand Bachelor of Science with Honours First Class 2011 - 2013 University of Otago New Zealand Bachelor of Science
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