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Department of Zoology



I was born and raised in Wellington, New Zealand. I conducted my undergraduate studies in the Victoria University of Wellington as well as my Master's degree, where I worked under Professor Simon Davy studying the genetic diversity of the Symbiodiniaceae (mutualistic endosymbionts of coral reefs). I have come to Cambridge to further my research interests in ecological interactions and conservation by now studying parasitic endosymbioses.


I am interested in the parasites of freshwater mussels, how they affect these key ecosystem engineers, and their interaction with invasive bivalves.


Key publications: 



Brian, J. I.Ollard, I. S., & Aldridge, D. C. (2021) Don't move a mussel? Parasite and disease risk in conservation action. Conservation Letters, 14, e12799

Brian, J. I., & Aldridge, D. C. (2021) Abundance data applied to a novel model invertebrate host shed new light on parasite community assembly in nature. Journal of Animal Ecology, 90, 1-13

Brian, J. I., & Aldridge, D. C. (2020) A rapid, non‐destructive method for sampling castrating parasites in endangered bivalve molluscs. Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems, 31(3), 729-735.

Brian, J. I., & Aldridge, D. C. (2020). An efficient photograph-based quantitative method for assessing castrating trematode parasites in bivalve molluscs. Parasitology, 147(12), 1375-1380.

Brian, J. I., & Aldridge, D. C. (2019) Endosymbionts: An overlooked threat in the conservation of freshwater mussels? Biological Conservation, 237, 155-165.

Brian, J. I., Davy, S. K., & Wilkinson, S. P. (2019) Multi-gene incongruence consistent with hybridisation in Cladocopium (Symbiodiniaceae), an ecologically important genus of coral reef symbionts. PeerJ, 7, e7178.

Brian, J. I., Davy, S. K., & Wilkinson, S. P. (2019) Elevated Symbiodiniaceae richness at Atauro Island (Timor-Leste): a highly biodiverse reef system. Coral Reefs, 38(1), 123-136.


Other publications: 


Brian, J. I., Walker-Hale, N. (2019) Focus on an island rule may hide morphological disparity in insular plants. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, U.S.A., 116(50), 24929-24930

Wilkinson, S. P., Brian, J. I., Pontasch, S., Fisher, P. L., & Davy, S. K. (2018). Intra-genomic variation in Symbiodinium correlates negatively with photosynthetic efficiency and coral host performance. Coral Reefs, 37(3), 691-701.


PhD Student

Contact Details

David Attenborough Building, Level 3
07444 563 700