Fiona Bracken

Postdoctoral Researcher
My research interests lie primarily in fisheries biology with a broad interest in the discovery of new innovative approaches to conservation. I have a keen interest in molecular (and other non-invasive) methods in assessing population status and structure of conservation species and a particular interest in community based approaches to address conservation needs. My research employs a range of laboratory and field skills to investigate these topics as well as stakeholder-orientated approaches (including Citizen Science) to conservation. I have wide-ranging experience working with various species as well as NGO, community based, and governmental conservation initiatives around the world including: Whale Shark conservation in Mozambique (Eyes on the Horizon), Primate conservation in Kenya (Colobus Conservation), Rizzo's Dolphins in the Azores (Nova Atlantis), Lemon Sharks in the Bahamas (Bimini Biological Field Station), as well as threatened freshwater fishes in the UK and Ireland.

I completed my doctoral studies at Durham University (UK) in 2015 exploring the evolutionary and behavioural ecology of a European lamprey species pair. This research presented a holistic approach to the conservation of anadromous fishes at multiple levels, broadly relating to their ecology, population genetics, evolutionary history, and response to anthropogenic stressors. Most recently, I have been working with Inland Fisheries Ireland on the National Bass Programme where I was involved primarily in the Citizen Science portion of the programme, liaising with local anglers, angling guides, and charter skippers around Ireland.

I am currently a co-mentored post-doctoral researcher in Dr. Jens Carlsson's molecular ecology research group at UCD, on a project entitled 'Exploration of an interdisciplinary methodological tool to assess the status of low density species in aquatic systems'. This is a Collaborative project with Inland Fisheries Ireland which is funded by the Irish Research Council's (IRC) Enterprise Partnership Scheme. This study aims to develop an interdisciplinary methodological tool utilising novel techniques to monitor low-density freshwater species using threatened sea lamprey (Petromyzon marinus (L.)) as a model species. Non-destructive water samples will be taken from a number of key rivers around Ireland and eDNA examined to assess population status in combination with a stakeholder-driven 'Citizen Science' programme.

Bracken, F.S.A., M.C. Lucas, John B. Hume, and A. R. Hoelzel (2015). Contrasting population genetic structure among freshwater-resident and anadromous lampreys: the role of demographic history, differential dispersal and anthropogenic barriers to movement. Molecular Ecology, 24: 1188-1204.

Bracken, F.S.A. and Lucas, M.C. (2012). Potential impacts of hydroelectric-power generation on downstream-moving lampreys. Rivers Research and Applications, 29: 1073-1081.