Professor Andrew Lawrence

Head of the Department of Biological Sciences

Whilst originally from Kent, I have spent most of my working life in the north of England. I completed my degree at PhD at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne. My research involved development of bioassays for hormones controlling the reproductive cycle of marine invertebrates. This enabled us to better understand how annual reproductive cycles in these animals were controlled by the environment, with the hormones acting as transduces between the environment and the gamete.

Overview

I then spent a few years working for an environmental NGO based in London, but with time spent working in the USA, Canada, Europe and Brazil.  Following this I returned to HE as a Lecturer then Senior Lecturer in Marine Biology at the University of Hull. Here my research expanded to cover various aspects of marine biodiversity conservation and ecotoxicology.

Before joining the team at Chester, I spent 5 years at the University of the West Indies in Trinidad and Tobago as Professor of Environmental Biology. Here we again developed a number of biodiversity conservation and sustainable development projects in marine and terrestrial environments.

Teaching

I have a broad background in undergraduate and postgraduate teaching in ecology, conservation and ecotoxicology. I currently teach on a number of undergraduate and MSc courses.

Research

My research falls into two main themes: invertebrate ecophysiology and reproductive biology and biodiversity conservation and management.

Ecophysiology and Reproductive Biology: Following my PhD and the development of bioassays for hormone systems controlling reproductive biology of marine polychaetes, I have gone on to use these assays in a number of other species. We have used the assays to identify the hormones responsible for various aspects of the reproductive cycle and to evaluate the impact of pollution and climate change on the reproduction of these animals. We have also expanded the work to explore the impact of pollution on various physiological and behavioural endpoints in a number of other invertebrate species.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2781847/pdf/rstb20090127.pdf

Eulalia viridis, one of the marine polychates in which we identified gonadotrophic hormones controlling the annual reproductive cycle

Biodiversity Conservation and Management:

Through time my research has expanded to incorporate a number of studies on biodiversity and conservation. For example, through two Darwin Initiative grants, we worked with the Egyptian Government and other agencies on the conservation and sustainable use of sea cucumber in the Egyptian Red Sea. The project involved a stock assessment of commercial species, research toward the mariculture of some of the species, exploration of bioactive compounds in the animals that may be of medical value and a molecular genetic study of the species occurring in the Red Sea. The project led to the ban on fishing of sea cucumber due to their over-exploitation. We were also invited to present our finding at a UNFAO workshop in China and to give expert advice at a meeting of the CITES Animals Committee in Malaysia.

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1523-1739.2009.01294.x/pdf

 

The Darwin Initiative Survey Team performing a stock assessment of sea cucumber

 

Re-examining the taxonomic diversity of sea cucumber in the Egyptian Red Sea using molecular genetic techniques

 


More recently we have begun a project, funded by the Government of Trinidad & Tobago, on the economic valuation of Caroni Swamp. This is an important mangrove in Trinidad which faces many threats. In partnership with the government and UNEP, we are using the UNEP TEEB (The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity) protocol to determine the real value of the mangrove in economic and ecological terms so that it might be better protected and to cost the impact of climate change on the system.

The Caroni Swamp in Trinidad, where we have just begun and environmental economic analysis of resources including the Cook’s Tree Boa.

 

        

 

In addition, we have also undertaken work on marine turtles in Honduras, the UAE and Trinidad, cetaceans in Tenerife and Trinidad, coral reefs in Egypt and a wide range of other animals.

 

   

 

Leatherback Turtles from Trinidad and a Hawksbill Turtle from Honduras. We studied the beach morphology at Grand Riviere in Trinidad to determine the specific features that attracted the Leatherbacks. We set up a turtle hatchery in Honduras which was unfortunately destroyed by Hurricane Mitch.

Published work

Book Editorships

Lawrence, AJ and Hemmingway Eds: (2003) The Effects of Pollution on Fish, Molecular Mechanisms to Population Responses. Blackwell Science Ltd, Oxford, 336pp

Lawrence, AJ and Nelson, HN Eds (2011) Advances in Biodiversity Research in Trinidad & Tobago.146pp. ISBN: 978-976-620-275-0

Representative Papers

Narang, D., Nelson, H.P. and Lawrence, A.J. (2011) Demography and general ecology of an introduced primate – the tufted capuchin (Cebus apella) in Chaguaramas, Trinidad. In: Lawrence, AJ and Nelson, HN Eds (2011) Advances in Biodiversity Research in Trinidad & Tobago. pgs: 19-29

Taylor, K., Nelson, H.P. and Lawrence, A.J. (2011) Population Density of the Cook's tree Boa (Corallus ruschenbergerii) in the Caroni Swamp, Trinidad. In: Lawrence, AJ and Nelson, HN Eds. (2011) Advances in Biodiversity Research in Trinidad & Tobago. pgs: 8-18

Lawrence, A.J., Ahmed, M., Afifi, R., Khalifa, M. and Paget, T (2010) The Application of the Options Value of a Species as a Conservation Tool -The Case of Sea Cucumber in the Egyptian Red Sea. Conserv. Biol. 24, 217-225  

Lawrence, A. J. and J. M. Soame(2009) The Endocrine Control of Reproduction in Nereidae: A New Multi-Hormonal Model with Implications for their Functional Role in a Changing Environment. Phil. Trans. Royal Soc. Ser. B. 364, 3363-3376 

Andrew Lawrence (2007) Marine Worms: Are They Missing The Boat? Wings: Essays on Invertebrate Conservation, 30 (2), 19-23

Burlinson,FC. and AJ. Lawrence (2007) Development and validation of a behavioural assay to measure the tolerance of Hediste diversicolor to copper. Env. Pollution 145, 274-278

Lawrence, A.J., Ahmed, M., Hanafy, M), Gabr, H., Ibrahim, A  and Gab-Alla, A. (2004) Status of the Sea Cucumber Fishery in the Red Sea – The Egyptian Experience. In: Lovatelli, A. (comp./ed.); Conand, C.; Purcell, S.; Uthicke, S.; Hamel, J.-F.; Mercier, A. (eds.). Advances in sea cucumber aquaculture and management.  FAO Fisheries Technical Paper. No. 463. Rome, FAO. 2004. 457p

Lawrence, AJ and Soame, J (2004) The Effects of Climate Change on the Reproduction of Coastal Invertebrates. Ibis 146, 29 – 39

Lawrence, A.J. and Poulter, C (2001) The impact of copper, PCP and benzo [a] pyrene on the swimming efficiency and embryogenesis of the amphipod Chaetogammarus marinus. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 223, 213-223

Carlos Roberto Hasbun, Andrew J. Lawrence and Saif Al-Ghais (2000) The distribution and ecology of Sea Turtles in the United Arab Emirates. Aquat. Conserv. Mar. Freshw. Ecosyst. 10, 311-322