Dr Anna Muir

Lecturer in Conservation Biology

I am a lecturer in Conservation Biology with a focus on conservation genetics. I use population genetic techniques to understand the potential impacts of environmental change at population and species levels in order to form effective conservation strategies in a changing climate.


My research has involved assessing the potential impacts of climate change on the common frog and the reef-building honeycomb worm, during my PhD at the University of Glasgow and as a postdoctoral researcher at the European Marine Institute (IUEM) in Brittany, France.

Other current research projects involve assessing the conservation status and population structure of the endangered Eld's deer in Cambodia and of the long-finned pilot whale around the British Isles. I have also worked for conservation charities both in the UK and Ecuador, where I predominantly focussed on amphibian conservation and sustainable development projects.

Much of my research involves collaborations with conservation organisations, including the Wildlife Conservation Society, Froglife, and the Scottish Marine Animal Stranding Scheme.


I teach on the Conservation Biology, Animal Behaviour and Animal Behaviour and Welfare programmes, including the modules:

  • Applied Conservation Genetics (module leader)
  • Genetics and Evolution
  • Ecology
  • Population Biology
  • Conservation Technologies
  • Managing Marine Environmental Impacts

I also supervise undergraduate and postgraduate dissertations, predominantly on conservation genetic and amphibian conservation projects.


I use population genetic techniques to answer applied conservation questions.

To date I have focussed on the potential impacts of environmental change and I use existing environmental gradients and field collections to predict future risk for a species. Experimental and molecular work allows me to assess whether different populations within a species have locally adapted to the current environmental conditions that they experience, whether they are phenotypically plastic, and how populations are structured.  My research methods include genomics and transcriptomics and I am particularly interested in marine and amphibian conservation.

Suggested MRes/MPhil/PhD projects:

  • Recruitment and population isolation in the Dee estuary cockle fishery
  • Conservation genetics of the endangered Banteng, Bos javanicus, in the dry forests of Cambodia
  • The impact of roads on amphibian population connectivity in the UK
  • Management implications of range changes following extreme climatic events: the case of the honeycomb worm, Sabellaria alveolata

For further information contact:

Published work

Muir AP, Nunes FLD, Dubois SF, Pernet F (2016) Lipid remodelling in the reef- building honeycomb worm, Sabellaria alveolata, reflects acclimation and local adaptation to temperature. Scientific Reports, 6:35669, 1–10. DOI: 10.1038/srep35669

Muir, A.P., Kilbride, E. and Mable, B.K (2015) Spatial variation in species composition of Saprolegnia, a parasitic oomycete of amphibian eggs. The Herpetological Journal, 25(4), 257-263

Muir, A.P., Biek, R. and Mable, B.K. (2014) Adapting to low-temperature environments: behavioural and physiological responses facilitate survival at high-altitude in the common frog, Rana temporaria. BMC Evolutionary Biology, 14, 110

Muir A.P., Biek R., Thomas R. & Mable B.K. (2014) Local adaptation with high gene flow: temperature parameters drive adaptation to altitude in the common frog (Rana temporaria). Molecular Ecology, 23(3), 561-574.

Muir A.P., Thomas R., Biek R. & Mable B.K. (2013) Using genetic variation to infer associations with climate in the common frog, Rana temporaria. Molecular Ecology, 22(14), 3737-3751.

Muir A.P, and Muir M.C.A. (2011) A New Rapid Assessment Technique for Amphibians: Introduction of the Species List Technique from San José de Payamino, Ecuador. Herpetological Review, 42, 149- 151.

Royan A,, Muir A.P, and Downie J.R. (2010) Variability in escape trajectory in the Trinidadian stream frog and two treefrogs at different life-history stages. Canadian Journal of Zoology, 88(9), 922-934.

Downie J.R., Hancock E.G. and Muir A.P. (2010) The diet of the paradoxical frog Pseudis paradoxa in Trinidad, West Indies. The Herpetological Journal, 20(2), 111-114.