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Monica McCard


2017 – Present: Queen’s University Belfast, PhD student

2016-2017: Queen’s University Belfast, PGCE Science and Maths

2011 – 2015: Queen’s University Belfast, BSc (Hons) Marine Biology

2007 – 2009: Belfast Metropolitan College, Access Science and Technology Diploma



2014: Alfred Russel Wallace grant for outstanding field ecologists in the UK

2012: Sir Thomas Dixon Travel Scholarship for research in Australia



South, J., Dick, J., McCard, M., O’Neill, D. and Anton, A. (2017) Predatory impact of the invasive lionfish (Pterois volitans): effects of temperature, habitat complexity and light on the functional response. Environmental Biology of Fishes. In publication.


Professional Qualifications

BSAC Sports Diver Qualification

Green Flag Assessor for Eco-Schools


PhD/Project Title

How subtle differences in behaviour can influence functional response in invasive and native species

PhD Project Description

Changes in environmental impacts and growing trends in exportation and transportation are highly correlated with the intentional and unintentional introduction of exotic species.  Indeed, the rate of biological invasions shows no sign of slowing down.  After their introduction, non-native species can cause severe ecological damage, such as out-competing the native species by altering interactions of the habitat they invade, changing the native species diversity and interactions with species related to competition and predation.  The change in habitat may encourage predation by changing the behaviour of prey which will have an impact on predation rates.

The ability to predict invasions is thus necessary, this has the potential to show patterns of invasions, increasingly more studies show that invasive species have the potential to drive native species to extinction.  It is often financially and technically challenging to control or eradicate invasive species, the most effective way to manage invasions is thus to reduce the risk of introductions altogether.  In this study I will be investigating functional response of different species to gain insights into how predator species can regulate populations of their prey.  Together, these measures can be incorporated in the Relative Impact Potential of an invasive species, the “RIP” (Dick et al., 2017).  I will be using several study systems: (1) Invasive lionfish and impacts on native prey (2) Smaller projects investigating feeding rate of different species (terrestrial and freshwater). 

This project will utilize this new advance in impact metrics to understand and, crucially, predict the ecological impacts of existing, new and potential invaders.  This project will thus aid in the fundamental understanding of invader impact, but also drive policy and actions on the ground to protect increasingly threatened biodiversity and ecosystem functions. 


Professor Jaimie Dick and Dr Paul Mensink


Contact Information


Room: Queen’s Marine Laboratory, Portaferry – 02004 

Contact Information

Queen's University Marine Laboratory (QML)
12-13 The Strand, Portaferry
Co. Down, Northern Ireland, BT22 1PF
Phone: +44 (0)28 427 28230

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