Dr Lori Lawson Handley

Dr Lori Lawson Handley

Senior Lecturer

Faculty and Department

  • Faculty of Science and Engineering
  • Department of Biological and Marine Sciences

Qualifications

  • PhD (University of East Anglia)

Summary

Lori has a passion for molecular ecology, and uses DNA-based tools such as environmental DNA (eDNA) to understand impacts of environmental stressors on biodiversity, with a focus on invasive species. She has worked at the Universities of Uppsala, Lausanne and Cambridge, and has been a lecturer at the University of Hull since 2007. She loves teaching in the field and engaging the public and stakeholders in her research.

I teach on the following modules

• Invasion Biology (Level 7, Module Leader)

• UK Residential Ecology Field Course (Level 6, Field course leader)

• Human Evolution and Genomics (Level 6)

• Independent research projects (Level 6)

• Conservation Biology (Level 5)

• Ecology (Level 4, Module Leader)

Recent outputs

View more outputs

Journal Article

Targeted and passive environmental DNA approaches outperform established methods for detection of quagga mussels, Dreissena rostriformis bugensis in flowing water

Blackman, R. C., Ling, K. K. S., Harper, L. R., Shum, P., Hänfling, B., & Lawson-Handley, L. (2020). Targeted and passive environmental DNA approaches outperform established methods for detection of quagga mussels, Dreissena rostriformis bugensis in flowing water. Ecology and Evolution, https://doi.org/10.1002/ece3.6921

Simple, sensitive and species-specific assays for detecting quagga and zebra mussels (Dreissena rostriformis bugensis and D. polymorpha) using environmental DNA

Blackman, R. C., Benucci, M., Donnelly, R., Hänfling, B., Harper, L. R., Sellers, G. S., & Lawson-Handley, L. (2020). Simple, sensitive and species-specific assays for detecting quagga and zebra mussels (Dreissena rostriformis bugensis and D. polymorpha) using environmental DNA. Management of Biological Invasions, 11(2), 218-236. https://doi.org/10.3391/mbi.2020.11.2.04

Generating and testing ecological hypotheses at the pondscape with environmental DNA metabarcoding: A case study on a threatened amphibian

Harper, L. R., Lawson Handley, L., Hahn, C., Boonham, N., Rees, H. C., Lewis, E., …Hänfling, B. (2020). Generating and testing ecological hypotheses at the pondscape with environmental DNA metabarcoding: A case study on a threatened amphibian. Environmental DNA, 2(2), 184-199. https://doi.org/10.1002/edn3.57

Environmental DNA (eDNA) metabarcoding of pond water as a tool to survey conservation and management priority mammals

Ghazali, M., Harper, L. R., Lawson Handley, L., Carpenter, A. I., Murray-Dickson, G., Di Muri, C., …Hänfling, B. (2019). Environmental DNA (eDNA) metabarcoding of pond water as a tool to survey conservation and management priority mammals. Biological Conservation, 238(October 2019), https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biocon.2019.108225

Limited dispersion and quick degradation of environmental DNA in fish ponds inferred by metabarcoding

Li, J., Lawson Handley, L. J., Harper, L. R., Brys, R., Watson, H. V., Di Muri, C., …Hänfling, B. (2019). Limited dispersion and quick degradation of environmental DNA in fish ponds inferred by metabarcoding. Environmental DNA, 1(3), 238-250. https://doi.org/10.1002/edn3.24

Research interests

We are currently experiencing a global biodiversity crisis, with an average fall of 68% in population size of well-monitored species seen in the last 50 years (WWF Living Planet Report 2020). In order to protect biodiversity we need better tools for monitoring, and increased understanding of the impact of environmental pressures. My research focuses on developing DNA-based tools for monitoring biodiversity to understand how species are distributed, how they interact with one another, and how they respond to environmental pressures and conservation strategies such as reintroduction and rewilding. I have a particular interest in invasive non-native species, including harlequin ladybirds and freshwater invertebrates such as Dreissenid mussels and killer shrimp. My group have developed environmental DNA (eDNA) methods for detecting invasive species, monitoring entire communities, and investigating impacts. I work closely with a number of stakeholder groups within the UK DNA Working Group, to facilitate understanding and uptake of DNA based methods. Current and recent projects include:

• Understanding the spatial and temporal dynamics of environmental DNA for monitoring and management of Dreissenid mussels (Sara Peixoto PhD, funded by NERC Panorama DTP, CASE Studentship with Yorkshire Water)

• Untangling molecular food webs of non-native invertebrates and their communities (Dr. Marco Benucci, PhD 2020)

• Environmental DNA: from detection of priority invasive species to monitoring entire macroinvertebrate communities in freshwater ecosystems (Dr. Rosie Blackman, PhD 2017)

• Development of an eDNA-based tool for lake fish monitoring in the UK (main collaborators Dr. Bernd Haenfling (UoH), Dr. Dan Read and Prof. Ian Winfield, Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, Prof. Nigel Willby, University of Stirling, in partnership with the Environment Agency, Scottish Environmental Protection Agency)

Project

Funder

Grant

Started

Status

Project

Environmental DNA – a non-invasive method for target taxa: passive vs targeted detection

Funder

Freshwater Biological Association

Grant

£4,000.00

Started

1 February 2017

Status

Complete

Project

Pond biodiversity assessment with environmental DNA: laying the foundations for testing fundamental ecological hypotheses

Funder

British Ecological Society

Grant

£4,990.00

Started

1 June 2016

Status

Complete

Project

Creation of eDMA metabarcoding dataset for freshwater invertebrates

Funder

Environment Agency

Grant

£4,000.00

Started

1 June 2016

Status

Complete

Postgraduate supervision

I am interested in supervising PhD and MSc by Research projects in the following areas:

Molecular ecology, invasive species, invasion ecology, environmental DNA, metabarcoding, environmental genomics, molecular food webs, ecological networks, biodiversity impacts, reintroduction, rewilding.

The following funded projects are currently being advertised:

1. Uncovering the hidden biodiversity benefits of beavers using environmental DNA (NERC Panorama DTP, https://panorama-dtp.ac.uk/research/uncovering-the-hidden-biodiversity-benefits-of-beavers-using-environmental-dna/)

2. Uncovering the biodiversity impacts of rewilding on entire ecological communities at a landscape scale using environmental DNA (UoH funded PhD cluster: REWILD)

Please contact me at l.lawson-handley@hull.ac.uk for more information