PhD Student

About me

I am a NERC iCASE PhD student researching goose-agricultural conflict in Scotland based at the University of Exeter’s Penryn campus, working with WWT and Scottish Natural Heritage.

I completed an undergraduate degree in biology at Imperial College London where my interest in conservation and ecology developed. After undertaking various internships in conservation (from surveying coral reefs in Cambodia to controlling rhododendrons on the Ashdown Forest). I undertook an MRes in Biodiversity, Evolution and Conservation at University College London (alongside ZSL and the Natural History Museum).

Following my masters, I worked at UCL’s Centre for Biodiversity and Environment Research (CBER) as a research technician using machine learning tools for the automated identification of bat species using audio recordings.

Given my experience and passion for conservation biology I pursued a PhD, specifically focussing on human-wildlife conflict, finding ways to mitigate conflict and balance stakeholder needs with vital conservation.

My project

For my PhD I am researching the ongoing conservation-management conflict occurring on Islay due to Greenland barnacle goose grazing pressure on agricultural land. My research looks at the efficacy of the current management strategy by assessing how it affects barnacle geese wintering on Islay using a multifaceted approach with a variety of analytical approaches.

My PhD has 3 main focusses:

  • Movement and site use changes due to shooting management using GPS tracking of marked birds and distribution modelling
  • Behavioural variability in response to shooting disturbance and what implications this may have for energy expenditure
  • The unobserved consequences of shooting management, including unobserved shooting mortality, the occurrence of embedded shot using x-rays and the incidence of lead poisoning within the population.

The ultimate aim of this research is to assess the efficacy of current goose-management strategies in order to inform future management assist in the long-term mitigation of this conflict.

Skills

  • Ecological fieldwork
  • Collection and analysis of GPS tracking data
  • Animal handling, collection of biometric data (including x-rays)
  • Statistical analysis and mixed modelling in R
  • Science communication to a variety of audiences from school students to academics
  • Stakeholder engagement