December 11, 2018

Andrea Sartorius

Andrea Sartorius

The impact of trace metal contaminants on environmental and animal health: a multi-disciplinary approach

Vet School Clinical Building, Sutton Bonington Campus


For my undergraduate degree I studied biology, with a focus in ecology, at Pomona College, a liberal arts university in California, USA. There, I did a year–long dissertation project studying the impact of fire and invasive flora on native vertebrate communities. I continued my studies with an MRes in Biodiversity, Evolution, and Conservation at UCL, where I did two research projects. My first project focused on georeferencing marsupial and monotreme specimens and comparing the collection locations to their current IUCN ranges to determine changes in species ranges over time. My second project involved using camera traps in parks in North London to determine whether foxes and hedgehogs thrive in urban green spaces. During my studies, I developed a keen interest in how ecosystems, and specifically small mammals, survive and adapt in human-modified environments.

My PhD project studies the effect of heavy metal contamination from derelict mines on the surrounding ecosystem, with a special focus on small mammal communities. In Wales, there are hundreds of derelict mines that were not properly restored when they closed down. This has led to a massive contamination crisis where the nearby areas have extremely high levels of lead, zinc, cadmium, copper, and mercury in both the waterways and the soil. During my PhD, I will assess the level of contamination at several key sites and determine the effects it is having on the local flora and fauna.