Simon started at the University of Wolverhampton in May 2017 as a Lecturer in Conservation Genetics having moved from Reaseheath College where he was a Lecturer in Animal Management. Additionally, he currently holds a Scientific Associate position at the Natural History Museum, London (NHM).
Simon completed his PhD jointly from University College London (UCL) and the NHM in 2015 and his MZool from Bangor University in 2011.
Evolution, Ecology, Conservation, Taxonomy, Biogeography, Phylogenetics, Systematics, Herpetology, Reptiles, Amphibians
Simon's interests broadly lie in the study of evolution, ecology and conservation. He uses a mixture of laboratory and fieldwork to address questions pertaining to these areas of research using tropical reptiles (snakes and lizards) and amphibians (caecilians and frogs) as models. Most of his current research focuses on species occurring primarily within Latin America, Seychelles, New Guinea and Australia.
Biodiversity and natural history
The tropics represent some of the most biodiverse regions in the world and have exceptional levels of endemism. However, these regions contain some of the most poorly studied habitats and species with large areas remaining relatively unexplored and lacking scientific interest. This research area aims to fill in gaps in our understanding of the biodiversity, natural history and ecology of reptiles and amphibians in data deficient regions.
Biogeography, phylogenetics and systematics
Understanding the relationships, and past and present distribution and demography of species is important and helps inform almost all biological disciplines. This research area addresses these fundamental questions by using a combination of morphological and molecular techniques to uncover evolutionary patterns and processes and phylogenetic relationships in both widespread and geographically restricted genera/species.
Amphibians are the most threatened group of vertebrate on the planet due to habitat loss, climate change and disease outbreak. Species with restricted distribution, especially island or mountain endemic species, are most vulnerable, with many species having already become extinct within the last 20 years. One of the biggest threats to these endemics is the outbreak of the lethal amphibian chytrid fungus (Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis), which has been reported from almost all countries where amphibians occur globally. Two countries where chytrid has not been reported are Papua New Guinea and Seychelles, and as an on-going assessment of the situation this project aims to monitor the regions by using a mixture of field and lab based approaches. The work in this project also aims to assess conservation risk and aid in putting measures in place to conserve the species and their habitats.
Cognitive ability of reptiles and amphibians
Little research has been completed on the ability of reptiles and amphibians to perform simple tasks that expose even basic cognitive ability, however, out of the small number of studies that have focussed on this, evidence of sometimes complex cognitive abilities has been found. This research area aims to obtain a more thorough understanding of spatial learning and cognitive abilities of reptiles and amphibians by performing experiments in a captive setting, whereby environmental variables can be carefully controlled. Other than providing an understanding of cognition, this project will provide important information on natural history, behaviour and evolution, as well as having potential to improve welfare of captive animals through a better understanding of their enrichment needs.
Maddock, S.T., Nussbaum, R.A., Wilkinson, M.W., Gower, D.J. (accepted) A new small and highly abbreviated caecilian (Gymnophiona: Indotyphlidae) from the Seychelles island of Praslin, and a recharacterization of Hypogeophis brevis Boulenger, 1911. Zootaxa.
Maddock, S.T., Childerstone, A., Grieg–Fry, B., Williams, D.J., Barlow, A., Wüster, W. (2017) Multi– locus phylogeny and species delimitation of Australo–Papuan blacksnakes (Pseudechis Wagler, 1830: Elapidae: Serpentes). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 107, 48 – 55.
Adamson, E.A.S., Saha, A., Streicher, J.W., Maddock, S.T., Nussbaum, R.A., Gower, D.J. (2016) Microsatellite discovery in an insular amphibian (Grandisonia alternans) with comments on cross-species utility and the accuracy of using unassembled Illumina data to identify loci. Conservation Genetics Resources.
Maddock, S.T., Briscoe, A., Wilkinson, M., Day, J.J., Littlewood, T., Waesenbach, A., San–Mauro, D., Foster, P., Nussbaum, R.A., Gower, D.J. (2016) Next–generation mitogenomics: A comparison of approaches applied to caecilian amphibian phylogeny. PLoS ONE. 11(6): e0156757.
Agarwal, I., Mirza, Z.A., Pal, S., Maddock, S.T., Mishra, A., Bauer, A.M. (2016) A new species of the Cyrtodactylus (Geckoella) collagalensis (Beddome, 1870) complex (Squamata: Gekkonidae) from Western India. Zootaxa. 4170, 339 – 354.
Tolhurst, B.A., Peck, M.R., Mariscal, A.M., Mafla–Endara, P., Aguirre–Peñefial, V., Pozo–Rivera, W.E., Cueva–Arroya, X.A., Diaz, A., Ornate, H., Morales, J.N., Maddock, S.T. (2016) Altitude has a greater influence than primary forest loss on small vertebrate diversity and community structure in the Tropical Andes. Herpetological Journal. 26: 33–39.
Maddock, S.T., Ellis, R., Doughty, P., Wüster, W. (2015) A new species of death adder, genus Acanthophis (Serpentes: Elapidae) from the Kimberley region of Western Australia. Zootaxa. 4007: 301–326.
Labisko, J., Maddock, S.T., Taylor, M.L., Chong–seng, L., Gower, D.J., Wombwell, E., Wynne, F., French, G.C.A., Bunbury, N., Bradfield, K.S. (2015). Chytrid fungus (Batrachchytrium dendrobatidis) undetected in the two orders of Seychelles amphibians. Herpetological Review. 46: 41–45.
Guptha, M.B., Prasad, N.V.S., Maddock, S.T., Veerappan, D. (2015) First record of Chrysopelea tapronica Smith 1943 (Squamata: Colubridae) from India. CheckList. 11, 1523.
Peck, M.R., Maddock, S.T., Morales, J.N., Mafla–Endara, P., Aguirre–Peñefial, V., Pozo–Rivera, W.E., Cueva–Arroya, X.A., Ornate, H., Tolhurst, B.A. (2014) The reliability and cost–effectiveness of small vertebrates as indicators of habitat in tropical montane forests. Conservation Biology. 28: 1331–1341.
Maddock, S.T., Day, J.J., Nussbaum, R.A., Wilkinson, M., Gower, D.J. (2014) Evolutionary origins and genetic variation of the Seychelles treefrog, Tachycnemis seychellensis (Duméril and Bibron, 1841) (Amphibia: Anura: Hyperoliidae). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 75: 194–201.
Aguirre–Peñafiel, V., Torres–Carvajal, O., Nunes, P.M.S., Maddock, S.T. (2014) A new species of Riama Gray, 1858 lizard (Squamata: Gymnophthalmidae) from the Tropical Andes. Zootaxa. 3866: 246–60.
Maddock, S.T., Lewis, C., Wilkinson, M., Day, J.J., Gower, D.J. (2014). Non–lethal DNA sampling for caecilian amphibians. The Herpetological Journal. 24: 255–260.
Lewis, C., Maddock, S.T., Day, J.J., Foster, P., Wilkinson, M., Gower, D.J. (2014) Development of anonymous nuclear markers from Illumina paired–end data for Secyhelles caecilian amphibians. Conservation Genetic Resources. 6: 289–291.
Datta–Roy, A., Mohapatara, P.P., Dutta, S.K., Giri, V.B., Veerappan, D., Maddock, S.T., Raj, P., Agarwal, I. & Karanth, P. (2013) A long–lost relic from the Eastern Ghats: Morphology, distribution and habitat of Sepsophis punctatus Beddome, 1870 (Squamata: Scincidae). Zootaxa, 3670: 055–062.
Maddock, S.T., Smith, E.F., Peck, M.R., Morales, J.N. (2012) TANTILLA MELANOCEPHALA (Black–headed snake). DIET. Herpetological Review.
Maddock, S.T., Tolhurst, B., Brown, M., Peck, M., Villacis Perez, E., Morales, J. (2011) Body bending behaviour – more widespread than previously thought? New reports from two snake species of Northwest Ecuador. Herpetology Notes 4:079–081.
Maddock, S.T., Aguirre P.V., Torres–Carvajal, O., Morales, J.N., Peck, M.R. (2011) Riama unicolor (NCN). Feeding and new altitudinal range. Herpetological Review 42:278.
Maddock, S.T., Smith, E.F., Peck, M.R., Morales, J.N. (2011) Riama oculata (NCN). Prehensile tail and new habitat type. Herpetological Review 42:277–278.
Maddock, S.T. (2010) Gavialis gangeticus (Indian Gharial): Behaviour. Herpetological Bulletin 113:39–40.
Maddock, S.T., Harding, L.J., Hilton, L., Penney, R. (2010) Spatial learning in snakes: Using three species of North American Colubrid. Herptile 35(4):132–134.
Maddock, S.T. (2010) Book review: The Lives of Captive Reptiles. Author: Petzold, H.G. Translated: Heichler, L. Ed.: Murphy, J.B. Herpetol. Bull. 114:39–41.
If you are interested in collaborating with Simon on any research aspect, a prospective student or postdoc wanting to work with him then please don't hesitate to get in contact.
OPPORTUNITIES FOR POSTGRADUATE RESEARCH
Simon welcomes applications from prospective self-funded PhD students that cover any of his broad research interests and would be interested to hear from anybody to develop a project. Also, consider applying for a scholarship, for example:
- UK Commonwealth Scholarship (http://cscuk.dfid.gov.uk/) - Commonwealth citizens
- Inlaks Shivdasani Scholarship (http://inlaksfoundation.org/inlaks-scholarship.aspx) - Indian citizens
- Fulbright Commission Scholarship (http://www.fulbright.org.uk/going-to-the-uk/postgraduate-student-awards/awards-available/all-disciplines) - USA citizens
- Marshall Scholarships (http://www.marshallscholarship.org/) - USA citizens
Research opportunities exist on the MSc Wildlife Conservation course (http://courses.wlv.ac.uk/course.asp?code=EA029P31UVD).
Simon welcomes enquiries from interested post-doctoral researchers. Some fellowships available for post-doctoral researchers include:
- Marie-Skłodowska Curie Fellowships (http://ec.europa.eu/research/mariecurieactions/) - International incoming & Intra-European
- Leverhulme Trust Early Career Fellowships (https://www.leverhulme.ac.uk/funding/grant-schemes/early-career-fellowships)
- NERC Independent Research Fellowships (http://www.nerc.ac.uk/funding/available/fellowships/irf/)
- Sir Henry Wellcome Postdoctoral Fellowships (https://wellcome.ac.uk/funding/sir-henry-wellcome-postdoctoral-fellowships)
- National Science Foundation (http://www.nsf.gov/funding/pgm_summ.jsp?pims_id=503622&org=NSF)
- Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (http://www.bbsrc.ac.uk/funding/filter/)