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The University of Southampton
Biological SciencesPostgraduate study

Miss Hannah R McGovern BSc

Postgraduate research student

Miss Hannah R McGovern's photo

Hannah McGovern is an MRes Evolution student within the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Southampton.

I studied BSc Biology at the University of Southampton and graduated with a first class honours in July 2019.
For my dissertation I worked with Operation Wallacea to investigate the relationship between structural complexity, benthic community composition and a keystone echinoid herbivore (Diadema antillarum) and how this affects the overall health of Caribbean coral reefs. This involved 3d modelling areas of reef and IDing and calculating abundance of coral and algae species.

Research interests

In 2019 I was fortunate enough to visit the Galapagos Islands on a research trip through the Masters programme. Here, our group carried out a research project investigating how anthropogenic activity including tourism and agriculture has affected the bill morphology of enemic Darwin’s finches.

My Masters research is focused on the phylogeographic relationship of marine gastropods along the Baja California coast, Mexico. A clear phylogeographic break has been documented in multiple species at the same location, creating southern and northern clades with distinct genetic variation. My studies will investigate whether this phylogenetic break is observed in other species and whether species that have expanded their range northwards from the tropics show evidence of a phylogenetic break as well.

Why I chose MRes Evolution: From the Galapagos to the 21st Century

I chose to study on the MRes Evolution as I am interested in particular to contemporary evolution and how evolutionary processes can shape a species’ ecology, and how this might change in the coming years under changing global conditions. I was also drawn to the multi-disciplinary aspects of the course, which has allowed me to work with both the School of Biological Sciences as well as with Ocean and Earth Sciences at the National Oceanographic Centre. 

Aims for the future

In the future I would be interested in persuing a career in research, focusing on evolution and ecology and hopefully providing findings that may have practical applications towards understanding species’ responses to future climate change.


Neil Gostling, Phil Fenburg

Research group

Ecology and Evolution

Miss Hannah R McGovern
School of Biological Sciences
Faculty of Environmental and Life Sciences
Life Sciences Building 85
University of Southampton
Highfield Campus
SO17 1BJ

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