I have always been fascinated by the natural world. I spent a childhood on Exmoor in North Devon. As a result of my interest in the natural environment, I undertook a degree with honours in Environmental Studies, a part of which included spending a sandwich placement working on the emergence patterns and field distribution of Contarini pisi (Pea Midge) at the Processors and Growers Research Organisation in Peterborough. Since then I have gained a MSc in Environmental Science from Trinity College and a Post Graduate Certificate in Marine Spatial Planning. I have worked as a consultant, a marine planner, fieldworker for Birdwatch Ireland and research assistant. I have for several years been involved as a volunteer with organisations such as British Trust for Conservation Volunteers, Sherkin Island Marine Station, Department of Conservation New Zealand, Irish Wildlife Trust and more recently Cork Nature Network.
From 2010 to 2014, I was involved in a citizen science project on ladybirds in Cork. In 2014 I secured funding from Fota Wildlife Park for a contract with the Irish Wildlife Trust co-ordinating an Irish National Ladybird Survey. In 2016, I secured funding from the Irish Research Council to continue my interest and continuing working with in the field Coccinellidae as part of an Employment Based Programme.
My research interests are primarily coccinellidae and invasive species. I am currently undertaking a PhD on the Status, conservation and protection of ladybirds in Ireland. The aims of the research are:
1. To provide the knowledge and strategies to ensure the conservation of Irish native ladybird biodiversity through research into their status, ecology, physical environment and threats, with special emphasis on the ecosystem service that they provide in the face of the introduced Harlequin ladybird.
2. To develop conservation strategies which will include an ex-situ conservation breeding programme for the most threatened species of ladybirds that is linked to programmes on education to support the long term protection of rare and vulnerable ladybird species.
I am also co-ordinating a national citizen science project, asking members of the public to submit any sightings of ladybirds to www.biology.ie. This will assist in increasing the level of knowledge of ladybirds in Ireland.
2016. Status, threats, conservation and protection of ladybirds in Ireland. Poster presented to the Environmental Science Association Colloquim, University of Limerick. March.
2014. Ladybirds. Irish Wildlife Trust Magazine (Summer 1649) p7