Nicholas Robert Strowbridge

Telephone: +44 (0) 7498 335521

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Research title: Genetic mechanisms of amphibian colour pattern and toxicity in the natural environment

Research Summary

Research Summary

Broadly, Nic is interested in evolutionary genetics, or the use of genetics/omics to understand adaptive traits. His research involves working with multi-omic datasets to investigate evolution and the underlying molecular mechanisms that play a role in adaptation.

Evolution of colouration within Salamandra

For one of Nic's main projects he is using DNA sequencing to understand how colour and pattern evolved across species within Salamandra. Salamandra is a genus of true salamanders, consisting of six different species and up to 25 subspecies. Salamandra is well-known for its species' striking black and yellow colouration; however, there are drastic intra- and interspecies colour and pattern differences. Nic is working with samples covering all species and subspecies to investigate how these different colours and patterns evolved across the genus. 

Hybridization and speciation across Salamandra

Salamandra as a genus exhibits a particular subspecies richness, with up to 25 different subspecies. Previous work has shown that many of these subspecies/species exhibit hybridization with others. Nic will use similar data to the above research, to investigate how hybridization has influenced subspecies and species diversity within Salamandra

Molecular mechanisms of colouration

Within Salamandra, there is a subspecies S. salamandra bernardezi, which exhibits particularly diverse colours and patterns, including a disruption and loss of stripes generating salamanders that range to pure yellow or pure brown. After sampling representative colour morphs within this subspecies, Nic will use direct RNA sequencing on the Oxford Nanopore Technologies (ONT) sequencing platform to deduce the molecular mechanisms which may underlie these colouration differences. 



Additional Information


Post-graduate student representative - October 2022 to present



Naturally Speaking contributor - October 2022 to present (Naturally Speaking website)