Alan graduated from University College Cork with a BSc. (Hons) in Ecology in 2017. During his four years as an undergraduate student, Alan advanced his lifelong interest in wildlife, particularly birds. He has a wide range of experiences in ornithological research and conservation in Ireland with a main focus on birds of prey including Hen Harriers and Barn Owls.
Alan’s main research interests are focused on the conservation of threatened species, particularly those found in Ireland. For his Final Year Thesis, Alan undertook a project entitled “Examining the impact of the Greater White-toothed Shrew (Crocidura russula) on the diet and breeding ecology of Barn Owls (Tyto alba) in South-West Ireland”. Through this research, Alan described the changing diet of Barn Owls resulting from the spread of invasive small mammal species and the resulting affects on Barn Owl productivity.
Alan is currently undertaking a PhD under the supervision of Professor John O’Halloran. His PhD research project, entitled “The importance of winter ecology for the conservation management of Hen Harriers (Circus cyaneus) in Ireland”, will examine various aspects of Hen Harrier ecology outside of the breeding season, including winter roost characteristics, wintering diet, movement ecology and over-winter survival.