Innovative mammal conservation

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Students and Post-Doctoral Researchers

Keziah Hobson – PhD Student

Kez is passionate about the natural world and the interface between people and wildlife. After completing a BSc in Zoology at the University of Leeds, she worked on conservation and community development projects in Kenya before completing a MSc in Conservation Science at Imperial College London. Her MSc thesis took her to field sites across Scotland to investigate diet selectivity in the Scottish wildcat. She then worked for the Wildlife Conservation Society in Cambodia for several years focusing on community-based conservation initiatives, human-elephant conflict, and indigenous land rights. In 2016, Kez began her PhD at the University of Aberdeen in partnership with Forestry England, and co-funded by Vincent Wildlife Trust, Red Squirrels Northern England, and CONFOR. Her PhD seeks to better understand the social and ecological aspects of pine marten recovery in the UK. After taking some time out after the birth of her son, Kez is now continuing her PhD part-time.

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.

Katie Allan – PhD Student

Katie has always been amazed by the natural world, which inspired her to undertake a BSc in Zoology at the University of Glasgow. She was selected to go on a research expedition to Tobago, where she completed her undergraduate thesis on the effects of habitat disturbances on the host-parasite interactions of bats and their ectoparasites. This experience greatly furthered Katie’s interest in bat ecology and conservation, which encouraged her to continue her studies at the University of Glasgow, completing an MRes in Ecology and Environmental Biology. Her research project focused on ectoparasitic bat flies as a possible transmission route for Bartonella in vampire bats, conducting her field work in the rural Andes of Peru. In between her studies, Katie also worked as an Ecologist in the renewable energies sector, primarily undertaking bat activity surveys for wind farm developments. Katie is now doing a PhD at the University of Sussex, co-funded by Vincent Wildlife Trust. Her PhD aims to assess the permeability of landscapes to rare species of bat using novel telemetry techniques and to identify the locations of key swarming and roosting sites.

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