Lauren Common, mentee in the 2020-21 program in South Australia (Flinders University).

I’m a first year PhD student at the Flinders University BirdLab, working on Philornis downsi, an invasive ectoparasite of birds recently introduced to the Galapagos Islands. I graduated with a bachelors degree in science (animal behaviour) at the end of 2017, finished my Honours on invasive parasites in 2018 and started my PhD in 2019. I am particularly interested in birds and insects, inter-species relationships and invasive species.

My PhD, “Philornis downsi: A parasite’s perspective of co-evolutionary dynamics”, focuses on the changing co-evolutionary relationship of an invasive parasite and its novel hosts. Specifically, I aim to document changes over time in parasite morphology, fecundity, mortality and genetics in wild populations. My research will give broad insights in the field of invasion biology and specifically inform management and control of invasive parasite populations. I’m passionate about conservation and biocontrol, and I believe its critical to connect hypothesis-driven field research with government and industry to benefit our future environment.”