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Department of Zoology



I am part of a team in the Department of Zoology carrying out quality applied research for the University of Cambridge and Cambridge Conservation Initiative to help ensure global food security and human health without compromising the natural environment.

My PhD aims to improve output and sustainability in commercial shellfish production using novel microencapsulated diets. Since starting in October 2016 I have published in multiple high-impact journals including Global Change Biology and Royal Society Open Science, and presented at a variety of conferences and workshops including 1stprize for oral presentation at Euromal 2017, Poland. I have also worked on collaborative projects with the IUCN, NIAB, Cambridge Global Food Security and Cambridge Global Challenges, and teach final year undergraduate students.

My background includes research work over a 6-year period in biological and environmental sciences. Projects have ranged from metagenomics and laser photosynthetic analysis with the Department of Plant Sciences, to special initiatives assessing biotic responses to climate change with the British Antarctic Survey. I hold a 1st class undergraduate degree in Natural Sciences from the University of Cambridge, the Sylvia Haslam prize for ecology, and a Senior Scholarship at Fitzwilliam College.

I have a keen interest in outdoor pursuits and passion for improving human performance, health and wellbeing. I am a qualified Health Coach, President of Oxbridge Tri (Oxford-Cambridge alumni triathlon club), and trained as a mountain leader. 


Key publications: 

Willer D, Aldridge DC. 2017 Microencapsulated diets to improve bivalve shellfish aquaculture. R. Soc. open sci. 4: 171142.

Fitch, A., Orland, C., Willer, D., Emilson, E.J.S., Tanentzap, A.J., 2018. Feasting on terrestrial organic matter: dining in a dark lake changes microbial decomposition. Glob. Chang. Biol. doi:10.1111/gcb.14391


PhD Student

Contact Details

Room 3.01 David Attenborough Building


Collaborator profiles: