Dr Clare Bird

Senior Lecturer

Biological and Environmental Sciences University of Stirling, Stirling, FK9 4LA

Dr Clare Bird

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About me

About me

I am a marine biologist with a passion for microorganisms. I work at the interdisciplinary cross over between marine geology and microbiology investigating the biology and ecology of foraminifera, fossil forming microbial protists.

Brief Biography

  • Lecturer in Molecular Cell Biology (since 2020, University of Stirling)
  • Anniversary Research Fellow (2018-2020, University of Stirling)
  • Daphne Jackson Fellow (2013-2015, University of Edinburgh)
  • Career Break (2004-2011)Post-doctoral Research Assistant (2001-2004)PhD in molecular microbiology (1997-2001)

Divisional/Faculty/University Contribution

  • Committee member BES Learning and Teaching with the role of Employability Champion
  • University Research Environment Group

Other Academic Activities

  • Member of the Royal Society of Biology
  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy

Research (2)

My research vision is to understand the marine microbial response to environmental change, and how this response will impact ecosystem functioning and biogeochemical cycling. Changes in these processes will have impact at global scales on habitat suitability for species and as a human resource.

I am currently studying the trophic interactions of planktonic marine protists called foraminifera. These foraminifera precipitate a shell of calcium carbonate (chalk). My samples come from polar and sub-polar seas (Baffin Bay, Arctic Ocean and the North Pacific). The reasons for studying them are twofold.

Firstly, environmental parameters control the chemical makeup of the foraminiferal shell enabling us, on analysis of fossil foraminifera, to interpret environmental conditions of the past, such as temperature, ocean pH, and productivity. However, biology also influences shell chemistry. My interests lie in understanding these biological factors that need to be accounted for when reconstructing past conditions.

Secondly, the climate of the Arctic is changing much more rapidly than other parts of the planet. There is an urgency to understand how organisms here are adapting and surviving, and how they will be impacted by loss of ice cover, warming temperatures and shifting ocean pH. Like corals, foraminifera are susceptible to ocean acidification, and yet we know very little of their calcifying mechanisms and how they might adapt to lower pH.


Disentangling the palaeoproxy challenge for the Humboldt Current System and beyond
PI: Dr Clare Bird
Funded by: Natural Environment Research Council

Understanding ecological dependencies in planktonic foraminifera: A role for the microbiome under climate change
PI: Dr Clare Bird
Funded by: The Carnegie Trust

Outputs (15)



Bird C, Schweizer M, Roberts A, Austin WEN, Knudsen KL, Evans KM, Filipsson HL, Sayer MDJ, Geslin E & Darling KF (2020) The genetic diversity, morphology, biogeography, and taxonomic designations of Ammonia (Foraminifera) in the Northeast Atlantic. Marine Micropaleontology, 155, Art. No.: 101726. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.marmicro.2019.02.001


Groeneveld J, Filipsson HL, Austin WEN, Darling K, McCarthy D, Krupinski NBQ, Bird C & Schweizer M (2018) Assessing proxy signatures of temperature, salinity, and hypoxia in the Baltic Sea through foraminifera-based geochemistry and faunal assemblages. Journal of Micropalaeontology, 37 (2), pp. 403-429. https://doi.org/10.5194/jm-37-403-2018


Oliver D, Bird C, Burd E & Wyman M (2016) Quantitative PCR Profiling of Escherichia coli in Livestock Feces Reveals Increased Population Resilience Relative to Culturable Counts under Temperature Extremes. Environmental Science and Technology, 50 (17), pp. 9497-9505. https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.est.6b02657


Bird C & Wyman M (2003) Nitrate/Nitrite Assimilation System of the Marine Picoplanktonic Cyanobacterium Synechococcus sp. Strain WH 8103: Effect of Nitrogen Source and Availability on Gene Expression. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 69 (12), pp. 7009-7018. https://doi.org/10.1128/AEM.69.12.7009-7018.2003

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