Elizabeth Archer

Elizabeth Archer


I am a recent BSc (hons) Marine Biology graduate from the University of Essex. The first two years of these studies cultivated my keen interest in the microbial dynamics of the marine environment within the context of climate change, which led to my choice of dissertation topic.

I spent six weeks collecting data in Indonesia for this final year project entitled, “The spatial ecology of coral disease in the Wakatobi National Marine Park (WNMP), Indonesia”. Through the completion of my project, I became aware of the diversity of Vibrio bacteria due to their association with multiple coral diseases, and the importance of investigating the expansion of marine pathogens with rising sea temperatures in terms of both geographic cover and population abundance.

These topics dominate my research interests, now from a human health perspective, as climate warming is associated with increasing incidences of Vibrio infections within Europe, potentially impacting the health of UK populations.

Elizabeth Archer

Geosciences, Resources and Environmental Risk

University of East Anglia, School of Environmental Sciences

PhD title: “Is it safe to go into the sea? Climate change and Vibrio bacteria”

Vibrio bacteria inhabit marine and estuarine environments, with populations strongly influenced by temperature and salinity. Pathogenic strains of these bacteria can result in serious, sometimes fatal, infections in humans which are mainly contracted through open wounds. Increasing sea surface temperature, associated with climate change, is suggested as a key driver behind the rising number of Vibrio infections recorded in Europe. For example, research has highlighted growing vibriosis incidence rates around the Baltic Sea (BakerAustin et al., 2016) – a low-salinity region experiencing climate warming.

My research aims to generate a clearer understanding regarding the influence of climate change on Vibrio pathogen abundance and incidence by analysis of climatic, oceanographic and epidemiological datasets. I will then apply the outputs of these analyses to real-time risk assessments and regional climate models, allowing the prediction of the potential risk Vibrio infections pose for the future health of European populations under different climate change scenarios. My project will also aid the development of intervention strategies that aim to minimise the impact of such infections.


  • Operation Wallacea Alfred Russel Wallace Grant for Outstanding Field Ecologists (£1000)
  • National Federation of Business and Professional Women's Clubs Travel Grant (£75)


  • Attended Reef Conservation UK (RCUK) 2018

Awards & Prizes

The Royal Society of Biology Student Award 2018/19 – highest year mark in the final year on a Biology-based course

The John Shire Memorial Prize 2018/19 – most outstanding student in the final year

The Environmental and Conservation Prize 2018/19 – most outstanding performance in an Environmental and Conservation-based course

University of Essex Dean’s List 2017-2019

Big Essex Award Gold

Big Essex Career Development Award 2018/19

Volunteering Communications Officer of the Year 2017/18

Other Information

Volunteer & Communications officer for school-based Science volunteering group, “Einstein Project” (2016-2018)

Founder & President of the current University of Essex Marine Conservation Society – activities include: beach/riverbank cleans, introducing a weekly campus refill station, encouraging reduction of single-use plastic on campus (2018/19)

Volunteer for Kefalonia-based Loggerhead Turtle conservation project ‘Wildlife Sense’ (2017)