About Us | Students and Post-Doctoral Researchers
Dr Patrick Wright – Post-Doctoral Researcher
Patrick completed his PhD at the University of Exeter in January 2018. His PhD was funded by Vincent Wildlife Trust and focused on the conservation of Bechstein’s bats in the UK. By using a combination of landscape and molecular approaches, he assessed the genetic diversity and structure of the British population of Bechstein’s bats, and developed a molecular assay to estimate the age of individual bats. He is now carrying out a postdoc at the University of Sussex, working in close collaboration with Vincent Wildlife Trust and The Woodland Trust in order to develop a population monitoring scheme for Bechstein’s bats.
Domhnall Finch – PhD Student
Growing up at the foot of the Wicklow Mountains in Ireland led Domhnall to develop an appreciation and love for the great outdoors and nature itself. This passion led him to undertake a BSc in Environmental Science at University College Dublin before travelling over to the University of Leeds to complete his MSc in Biodiversity and Conservation. During his MSc, he completed a research project examining the use of habitat suitability models to predict bat species distribution within southern England. From this research, Domhnall developed a keen interest in the factors that influence species distribution and their interactions within the wider environment. Domhnall is now completing a PhD at the University of Exeter, which is co-funded by Vincent Wildlife Trust and Devon Wildlife Trust. This PhD aims to use spatial ecology to examine how landscape connectivity, habitat suitability and land management influence the distribution and movement of the greater horseshoe bat.
David Bavin – PhD Student
David has always been passionate about conservation of our mammals and on completion of a BSc in Zoology and an MSc in Wildlife Biology, he started to become involved with conservation ecology projects in Scotland, predominantly with carnivores. David joined Vincent Wildlife Trust in 2012 as project officer for the People and Pine Martens in Wales project. At the end of 2014, David became project officer for the Pine Marten Recovery Project, part of the team involved in carrying out translocations of pine martens to Wales from Scotland. David is undertaking a part-time PhD on the project, which aims to provide information that will improve our understanding of how to best go about a translocation operation, whilst also investigating the adaptive behaviour/ecology of the pine martens’ response to the process.
Kieran O’Malley – PhD Student
Kieran has always had a huge passion for the outdoors and nature, which ultimately led him to complete a BSc in Zoology at Cardiff University. After attending numerous lectures and spending multiple years caving in the UK and abroad Kieran gained a great appreciation for caves and their associated fauna, particularly bats. This led him to undertake a MRes in Biodiversity and Conservation at the University of Leeds, where he carried out a research project investigating the urban roost selection of Mauritian tomb bats in Malawi. This research allowed Kieran to better understand the high selectivity of bats to roost sites and their vulnerability in the face of an increasingly urbanised landscape. Kieran is now doing a PhD on barbastelle bats at the University of Sussex, co-funded by Vincent Wildlife Trust. The PhD aims to identify local woodland features that are important for the persistence of barbastelle bats, with the goal of developing landscape-scale approaches to their conservation.
Tom Dando – PhD student
Tom discovered a passion for the natural world initially as a place of peace and mental well-being, before being captivated by the complexity of the ecosystems that exist around us and the need to reverse their declines. From this passion, Tom completed a BSc in Ecology and Wildlife Conservation at Bournemouth University, with his major project focusing on behaviour and conflict surrounding re-introduced African wild dogs in fenced game reserves. Following a year working on Red List assessments at the IUCN Small Mammal Specialist Group (SMSG), Tom completed an MRes in Conservation Biology at University of Sussex, where his research was based at the Knepp estate, looking at herbivore driven landscape development in the context of rewilding. After a year leading on key species fundraising for the IUCN Small Mammal Specialist Group, in 2019 Tom began a PhD at the University of Exeter, funded by Vincent Wildlife Trust and Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, seeking to understand the social and ecological feasibility and practicalities of re-introducing European wildcats (felis silvestris) into England and Wales.