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School of Environment and Life Sciences

Dr Rachael Antwis

Lecturer in Global Ecology and Conservation


After completing my PhD at the University of Manchester looking at how environmental variables shape the bacterial communities of amphibians, I conducted a Postdoctoral Research Fellowship at North-West University in South Africa to look more closely at interactions between bacterial communities of amphibian hosts and the hyper-virulent chytrid fungus. Following that, I took up my current position as a Lecturer in Global Ecology and Conservation at the University of Salford.


I teach on a number of undergraduate and Masters modules centred around wildlife conservation and field biology. Wherever possible, I use field trips, organisational visits and real-world assessment to complement the students learning, and adopt a student-led approach to content design and delivery. 

Research Interests

My research looks at how to harness the incredible functional power of microbes to solve real-world problems, ranging from wildlife disease to environmental contamination. I use both field and experimental study systems for this research, and work in collaboration with the James Hutton Institute, the Institute of Zoology (Zoological Society of London), Manchester Metropolitan University, North-West University in South Africa, and a number of organisations including Scottish Natural Heritage, City of Trees and The Woodland Trust. 

Qualifications and Memberships

Co-Secretary of the Microbial Ecology Special Interest Group at the British Ecological Society

Scientific Editor for The Herpetological Journal

Fellow of the Higher Education Academy

Steering Committee for the Amphibian Conservation Research Symposium

Member of the British Ecological Society

Member of the Society for Applied Microbiology

B.Sc. (Hons) Zoology, University of Manchester

Ph.D. Environmental Biology, University of Manchester

Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice, University of Salford


Griffiths SM, Harrison XA, Weldon C, Wood MD, Pretorius A, Hopkins K, Fox G, Preziosi RF, Antwis RE. (2018) Genetic Variability and Ontogeny Predict Microbiome Structure in a Disease-Challenged Montane Amphibian. ISME Journal, DOI: 10.1038/s41396-018-0167-0

Antwis RE, Harrison XA. (2018) Probiotic Consortia Are Not Uniformly Effective Against Different Amphibian Chytrid Pathogen Isolates. Molecular Ecology, DOI: 10.1111/mec.14456

Antwis RE, Weldon C. (2017) Amphibian skin defences show variation in ability to inhibit growth of Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis isolates from the Global Panzootic Lineage. Microbiology, doi: 10.1099/mic.0.000570

Antwis RE, Griffiths SM, Harrison XA, Aranega-Bou P, Arce A, Bettridge AS, Brailsford FL, de Menezes A, Devaynes A, Forbes KM, Fry EL, Goodhead I, Haskell E, Heys C, James C, Johnston SR, Lewis GR, Lewis Z, Macey MC, McCarthy A, McDonald JE, Mejia-Florez NL, O’Brien D, Orland C, Pautasso M, Reid WDK, Robinson H, Wilson K, Sutherland WJ. (2017) 50 important research questions in microbial ecology. FEMS Microbiology Ecology, 93.

Rebollar EA, Antwis RE, Becker MH, Belden LK, Bletz MC, Brucker RM, Harrison XA, Hughey MC, Kueneman JG, Loudon AH, McKenzie V, Medina D, Minbiole KPC, Rollins-Smith LA, Walke JB, Weiss S, Woodhams DC, Harris RN. (2016) Using "omics" and integrated multi-omics approaches to guide probiotic selection to mitigate chytridiomycosis and other emerging infectious diseases. Frontiers in Microbiology, 7, 68.

Meredith HM, VanBuren CS, Antwis RE. (2016) Making amphibian conservation more effective. Conservation Evidence, 13, 1-5.

Antwis RE, Harrison XA, Preziosi RF, Garner TWJ. (2015) Amphibian symbiotic bacteria do not show universal ability to inhibit growth of the global pandemic lineage of Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 81, 3706-3711.

Woodhams DC, Alford R, Antwis RE, Archer H, Becker MH, Belden LK, Bell SC, Bletz M, Daskin JH, Davis LA, Flechas SV, Lauer A, Peña AG, Harris RN, Holden WM, Hughey MC, Ibañez R, Knight R, Kueneman J, Rabemananjara F, Reinert LK, Rollins-Smith LA, Roman-Rodriguez F, Shaw SD, Walke JB, McKenzie V. (2015) Antifungal Isolates Database of Amphibian Skin-Associated Bacteria and Function Against Emerging Fungal Pathogens: Ecological Archives E096-059. Ecology, 96, 595-595.

Antwis RE, Garcia G, Fidgett AL, Preziosi RF. (2014) Tagging Frogs with Passive Integrated Transponders Causes Disruption of the Cutaneous Bacterial Community and Proliferation of Opportunistic Fungi. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 80, 4779-4784.

Antwis RE, Haworth RL, Engelmoer DJP, Ogilvy V, Fidgett AL, Preziosi RF. (2014) Ex situ diet influences the bacterial community associated with the skin of red-eyed tree frogs (Agalychnis callidryas). PLoS ONE, 9, e85563.

Michaels CJ*, Antwis RE*, Preziosi RF. (* joint first authors) (2014) Impact of plant cover on fitness and behavioural traits of captive red-eyed tree frogs (Agalychnis callidryas). PLoS ONE, 9, e95207.