From an early age I knew I wanted to be scientist. My undergraduate degree in Forensic Science, at the University of Lincoln, gave me a strong scientific grounding and emphasised a methodical and rigorous approach. It was during my undergraduate dissertation1 that my long standing interest in entomology developed in a more focused research and career interest. Consequently, I undertook a Masters degree in Natural Resource Management at the University of Leicester, with my dissertation research this time focusing on the ecological implications of woody debris in headwater streams.
Following my Masters degree I spent several years working as a waste water analyst, and on the reserves management teams at two different Wildlife Trusts, before joining the Species Research Unit at the WWT in 2010. In 2013 I was awarded an impact studentship by University College London (UCL) to carry out PhD research that used palaeolimnology (lake sediment cores) to examine recent environmental change in the Flow Country in relation to declining numbers of breeding common scoter. Since 2016, following submission of my PhD, I have again worked in the research team at WWT, in the Conservation Evidence Department.
1Necrophageous fly species at three heights above ground, University of Lincoln Undergraduate dissertation.
Now the Wetland Science Manager in the Conservation Evidence Department, my work at WWT involves working on a wide range of projects providing the scientific evidence that underpins our on the ground conservation work.
I manage WWTs Wetland Science laboratory, where we undertake a range of analyses including water quality testing, palaeolimnological sample preparation and microscopic sample processing (of for examples aquatic invertebrates).
I have maintained strong links with the environmental change research centre (ECRC) at UCL, where I teach, and co-supervise undergraduate, Masters and PhD students.
My personal research interests focus on recent environmental change in relation to applied conservation management, particularly of rare and declining species. I aspire to build on my expertise and experience in both palaeoecology and wetland management to facilitate the use of innovative techniques in wetland conservation and management.
Identification: I specialise in non-avian taxa, particularly freshwater invertebrates (species level identification skills). I also teach freshwater invertebrate sampling and identification to students at Universities, Museums and other NGOs. I am a member of the Riverfly Partnership Board and a qualified riverfly trainer. I have expertise in the identification of subfossil remains including chironomids, diatoms and macrofossils.
Fieldwork: I have undertaken fieldwork in a range of remote and challenging locations including Russia, Madagascar, Iceland, Sweden, Norway, and Scotland.
Laboratory: I have experience of working in a range of academic, commercial and research laboratory settings and currently manage the Wetland Science laboratory at Slimbridge.
Data Analysis: I analyse data in a range of statistical software programmes including R, Canoco, C2 and QGIS.
Networking: My research is founded on providing applied management outputs for conservation practitioners; I have developed partnerships with both individuals and organisations involved in wetland management. I strongly believe in a collaborative working approach and am keen to incorporate expertise from different disciplines in my approach to research.