My main interests in biology are conservation ecology and monitoring of wild animal populations. However, my biological curiosity remains wide-ranging. During my undergraduate degree, I undertook a literature review in evolutionary plant biology. This project aimed to understand what selective pressures could result in a rare form of seed dispersal (ballistic or explosive seed dispersal) being advantageous to the plants using it. I also spend a lot of my free time in search of animals to photograph, most frequently birds and deer.
My past experience in conservation ecology stems from time spent volunteering as a research assistant with a long-term project surveying the animal populations in Krka National Park, Croatia with the purpose of informing local management strategies for native animals. During this experience I was exposed to the importance of using different survey strategies for different groups of animals to inform effective local policy.
My current MSc research concerns small mammal monitoring in the UK. Although camera traps are frequently called upon to monitor larger mammals, small mammals are often difficult to identify from the images gathered with traditional camera trap methodologies. My research will therefore aim to gather data on the small mammal populations in the North-East of England using modified camera traps that are more suitable for distinguishing between species of small mammals. There will be an additional aim of determining the presence or absence of a newly invasive species to the British Isles, the greater white toothed shrew (Crocidura russala). The ecological importance of this is that this species of shrew has the potential to threaten native small mammal populations and therefore assessing its presence using camera traps could provide valuable data to inform management strategies.
Position: Research Masters Student
Supervised by: Prof. Philip Stephens and Prof. Russell Hill
Research groups: Conservation Ecology Group (CEG) and Ecology, Evolution and Environment (EEE)
22024-present, MSc (research) Biological Sciences, Durham University
2019-2023, BSc (Hons) Biology and Geography, University of St Andrews