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Sandra Irwin

Sandra Irwin, PhD

Name Position Address Telephone E-mail
Dr. Sandra Irwin Programme Manager

School of Biological, Earth & Environmental Sciences,
University College Cork.

353 (0)21 490 4595


Sandra graduated with a PhD in Zoology from UCC in 1998. Since then she has worked as a post-doctoral researcher and project manager on a variety of national and EU funded projects in both Scotland and Ireland. Sandra has more than 60 publications in international peer-reviewed journals, and has co-authored a number of book chapters. She completed a Project Management course with iPM (Integrated Project Management) in 2008. Since 2007 Sandra has been the Programme Manager on the multi-disciplinary PLANFORBIO forest biodiversity research programme at UCC, WIT and TCD, and also manages a number of other collaborative, biodiversity related research projects at UCC. Further information on these projects can be found on UCC's Forest Ecology Research Group and PLANFORBIO Research Programme web pages.



  1. Quinn JL, Smiddy P, Kelly TC, Irwin S & O'Halloran J. 2023. Current ornithological research in Ireland: the eighth Ornithological Research Conference, UCC, March 2023. Irish Birds, 45:106-146.
  2. McCarthy A, Smiddy P, Nagle T, Mee A, Irwin S, Caravaggi A & O'Halloran J. 2022. Landscape and temporal influences on the winter diet of a threatened diurnal raptor, the Hen Harrier Circus cyaneus. Bird Study, 68: 408-421. View paper here
  3. McCarthy A, Caravaggi A, Fernández-Bellon D, Irwin S, Lusby J & O'Halloran J. 2021. Bird and small mammal community composition and abundance in upland open habitats and early conifer forests. European Journal of Wildlife Research 67, 26 (2021). View paper here
  4. Fernández-Bellon D, Lusby J, Bos J, Schaub T, McCarthy A, Caravaggi A, Irwin S & O'Halloran J. 2020. Expert knowledge assessment of threats and conservation strategies for breeding Hen Harrier and Short-eared Owl across Europe. Bird Conservation International. View paper here
  5. Corkery I, Irwin S, Quinn J, Keating U, Lusby J, O'Halloran J. 2020. Changes in forest cover result in a shift in bird community composition. Journal of Zoology, 310:306-314. Corkeryetal2020JZool
  6. Caravaggi, A, Irwin, S, Lusby J, McCarthy A, Mee A, Nagle T & O'Halloran J. 2020. Forest management and Hen Harrier Circus cyaneus conservation in Ireland. Irish Birds 42:1-12. Caravagietal2020IB
  7. Caravaggi A, Irwin S, Lusby J, Ruddock M, O’Toole L, Mee A, Nagle T, O’Neill S, Tierney D, McCarthy A & O'Halloran J. 2019. Factors influencing Hen Harrier Circus cyaneus territory site selection and breeding success. Bird Study 66(3):366-377. Caravaggietal2019aBS
  8. Caravaggi A, Irwin S, Lusby J, Ruddock M, Mee A, Nagle T, O'Toole L, O'Neill S & O’Halloran J. 2020. Anthropogenic pressures within the breeding range of the Hen Harrier Circus cyaneus in Ireland. Bird Study 66(4): 461-471. Caravaggietal2019bBS
  9. Pedley SM, Barbaro L, Guilherme JL, Irwin S, O’Halloran J, Proença V & Sullivan MJP. 2019. Functional shifts in bird communities from semi-natural oak forests to conifer plantations are not consistent across Europe. PLOS ONE 14: e0220155.doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0220155. Pedleyetal2019
  10. Fernández-Bellon D, Wilson MW, Irwin S & O'Halloran J. 2019. Effects of development of wind energy and associated changes in land use on bird densities in upland areas. Conservation Biology 33: 413-422.doi: 10.1111/cobi.13239. ConservationBiology2018
  11. Fernández-Bellon D, Wilson MW, Irwin S, Kelly TC, O'Mahony B & O'Halloran J. 2018. Video evidence of siblicide and cannibalism, movement of nestlings by adults and interactions with predators in nesting Hen Harriers. Journal of Raptor Research 52: 393-399. FernandezBellonetalJRR2018
  12. Fernández-Bellon D, Wilson MW, Irwin S, Kelly TC, O’Mahony B & O’Halloran J. 2017. Activity patterns of breeding Hen Harriers Circus cyaneus assessed using nest cameras. Bird Study 64: 557-561. Fernandez Bellon et al 2017
  13. Lusby J, Corkery I, McGuiness S, Fernández-Bellon D, Toal L, Norriss D, Breen D, O’Donaill A, Clarke D, Irwin S, Quinn JL & O’Halloran J. 2017. Breeding ecology and habitat selection of Merlin Falco columbarius in forested landscapes. Bird Study 64: 445-454. Lusby et al 2017 BS
  14. O'Halloran J, Kelly TC, Quinn JL, Irwin S, Fernández-Bellon D, Caravaggi A & Smiddy P. 2017. Current ornithological research in Ireland: seventh Ornithological Research Conference, UCC, November 2017. Irish Birds 10: 598-638.
  15. O'Callaghan CJ, Irwin S, Byrne KA & O'Halloran J. 2016. The role of planted forests in the provision of habitat: an Irish perspective. Biodiversity and Conservation, DOI 10.1007/s10531-016-1125-7. O'Callaghan et al 2016
  16. Wilson MW, Fernández-Bellon D, Irwin S, O’Halloran J. 2017. Hen Harrier Circus cyaneus population trends in relation to wind farms. Bird Study:1-10. Wilson et al 2017
  17. Wilson MW, Irwin S, O'Mahony B, Kelly TC, O'Halloran J. 2017. The effects of fieldwork on Hen Harrier Circus cyaneus breeding success. Irish Birds 10: 457-462. Wilson et al 2017b
  18. Bullock CH, O’Callaghan C, Dhubháin ÁN, Iwata Y, O’Donoghue C, Ryan M, Upton V, Byrne KA, Irwin S & O’Halloran J. 2016. A review of the range and value of ecosystem services from Irish forests. Irish Forestry, 73: 65-95. Bullocketal2016
  19. Pedley SM, Oxbrough A., Martin RD, Irwin S, Kelly TC & O'Halloran J. 2016. Can ground-based assessments of forest biodiversity reflect the biological condition of canopy assemblages? Forest Ecology and Management, 359: 190-198. Pedley et al 2016
  20. Fernández-Bellon D, Irwin S, Wilson MW & O’Halloran J. 2015. Reproductive output of Hen Harriers Circus cyaneus in relation to wind turbine proximity. Irish Birds 10: 143-150. FernandezBellonetal2016 
  21. Graham CT, Wilson MW, Gittings T, Kelly TC, Irwin S, Quinn J & O'Halloran J. 2015. Implications of afforestation for bird communities: the importance of preceding land-use type. Biodiversity and Conservation 26: 3051-3071. Graham et al 2015
  22. Daly E, NcCarthy N, O'Halloran J, Irwin S & O'Rathaille M. 2014. Effect of forest litter depth on seed germination efficacy of Rhododendron ponticum. Irish Forestry, 71: 50-62. Daly et al 2014
  23. Fuller L, Newman M, Irwin S, Kelly D & O'Halloran J. 2014. Ground-dwelling spider diversity in rare European oak and yew woodlands and the impact of grazing. Biodiversity and Conservation, 23(8): 1911-1929. Fulleretal2014BC
  24. Graham CT, Wilson MW, Gittings T, Kelly TC, Irwin S, Sweeney O & O'Halloran J. 2014. Factors affecting the bird diversity of planted and semi-natural oak forests in Ireland. Bird Study, 61(3): 309-320. Graham et al 2014 BS
  25. Irwin S, Pedley SM, Coote L, Dietzsch AC, Wilson MW, Oxbrough A, Sweeney O, Moore KM, Martin R, Kelly DL, Mitchell FJG, Kelly TC & O'Halloran J. 2014. The value of plantation forests for plant, invertebrate and bird diversity and the potential for cross-taxon surrogacy. Biodiversity and Conservation, 23(3): 697-714. Irwin et al 2014
  26. Oxbrough A, Irwin S, Wilson MW & O'Halloran J. 2013. Mechanisms and predictors of ecological change in managed forests: A selection of papers from the second international conference on biodiversity in forest ecosystems and landcapses. Forest Ecology and Management, 321: 1-4. Oxbrough et al 2014
  27. Pedley SM, Martin RD, Oxbrough A, Irwin S, Kelly TC & O'Halloran J. 2014. Commercial spruce plantations support a limited canopy fauna: Evidence from a multi taxa comparison of native and plantations forests. Forest Ecology and Management, 314:172-182. Pedley et al 2014
  28. Coote L, Dietzsch AC, Wilson MW, Graham CT, Fuller L, Walsh AT, Irwin S, Kelly DL, Mitchell FJG, Kelly TC and O'Halloran J. 2013. Testing indicators of biodiversity for plantation forests. Ecological Indicators, 32: 107-115. Coote et al 2013
  29. Fuller L, Oxbrough A, Gittings T, Irwin S, Kelly TC & O'Halloran J. 2013. The response of ground-dwelling spiders (Aranae) and hoverflies (Diptera: Syrphidae) to afforestation assessed using within-site tracking. Forestry: An International Journal of Forest Research, 87(2): 301–312. Fulleretal2013F
  30. Fuller L, Oxbrough A, Irwin S, Kelly TC & O'Halloran J. 2013. The importance of young plantation forest habitat and forest road-verges for ground-dwelling spider diversity. Biology & Environment, 113B: 259-271. Fuller2013a
  31. Graham CT, Irwin S, Wilson MW, Gittings T, Kelly TC & O'Halloran J. 2013. Tracking the impact of afforestation on bird communities. Irish Forestry, 70: 172-183. Graham et al 2013
  32. Irwin, S, Kelly, DL, Kelly, TC, Mitchell, FJG, Coote, L, Oxbrough, A, Wilson, MW, Martin, RD, Moore, KA, Sweeney, O, Dietzsch, A & O'Halloran, J. 2013. Do Irish forests provide habitat for species of conservation concern. Biology & Environment 113B: 273-279. Irwin2013
  33. Murphy V, Carden R, Harrison S, O'Halloran J, Irwin S & Butler, F. 2013. Deer in Irish commercial forests. Irish Forestry, 70:91-103. 
  34. O'Halloran J, Irwin S, Kelly TC, Quinn J, Wilson MW & Smiddy P. 2013. Current ornithological research in Ireland: 6th Ornithological Research Conference, UCC, November 2013. Irish Birds, 9: 641-687
  35. Graham CT, Wilson MW, Irwin S, Gittings T, Kelly TC & O'Halloran J. 2012. Bird communities of forest roads: preliminary findings of a long term study. Irish Birds, 9: 367-374. Graham et al 2012
  36. O'Connell S, Irwin S, Wilson MW, Sweeney OF, Kelly TC & O'Halloran J. 2012. How can forest management benefit bird communities? Evidence from eight years of research in Ireland. Irish Forestry, 69: 44-57. O'Connell 2012
  37. Oxbrough A, French V, Irwin S, Kelly TC, Smiddy P & O'Halloran J. 2012. Can mixed species stands enhance arthropod diversity in plantation forests? Forest Ecology and Management, 270: 11-18. Oxbrough et al 2012.
  38. Sweeney OF, Kelly TC, Irwin S, Wilson M & O'Halloran J. 2012. Woodlands, Forest and Scrub. In: Bird Habitats in Ireland (Nairn, R. & O'Halloran, J. eds). The Collins Press. Pp. 105-123.
  39. Wilson MW, Gittings T, Pithon J, Kelly TC, Irwin S & O'Halloran J. 2012. Bird diversity of afforestation habitats in Ireland: current trends and likley impacts. Biology & Environment, 112: 1-14. Wilson et al 2012
  40. Wilson MW, O'Donoghue B, O'Mahony B, Cullen C, O'Donoghue T, Oliver G, Ryan B, Troake P, Irwin S, Kelly TC, Rotella JJ & O'Halloran J. 2012. Mismatches between breeding success and habitat preferences in Hen Harriers Circus cyaneus breeding in forested landscapes. Ibis, 154: 578-589. Wilson et al 2012 Ibis
  41. Irwin S, Wilson MW, Kelly TC, O'Mahony B, Oliver G, Troake P, Ryan B, Cullen C, O'Donoghue B & O'Halloran J. 2011. The breeding biology of Hen Harriers Circus cyaneus in Ireland over a five year period. Irish Birds, 9: 165-172. Irwin et al 2011
  42. Sweeney OF, Wilson MW, Irwin S, Kelly TC & O'Halloran J. 2011. Breeding birds of native woodlands and plantation forests in Ireland. Irish Birds, 9: 181-196. Sweeney et al 2010b.
  43. Irwin S & Davenport J. 2010. Oxygen microenvironment of coralline algal tufts and their associated epiphytic animals. Biology & Environment, 110B: 185-193. Irwin Davenport 2010
  44. O’Sullivan B, Keady S, Keane E, Irwin S & O’Halloran J. 2010. Data Mining for Biodiversity Prediction in Forests. Proceedings of the 2010 conference on ECAI 2010: 19th European Conference on Artificial Intelligence, 289-294. OSullivan et al 2010
  45. Oxbrough A, Irwin S, Kelly TC & O'Halloran 2010 Ground-dwelling invertebrates in reforested conifer plantations. Forest Ecology and Management, 259: 2111-2121. PDF
  46. Sweeney OF, Martin R, O'Halloran J, Irwin S, Kelly TC, Wilson MW & McEvoy PM. 2010. A lack of large diameter logs and snags characterises dead wood in Irish forests. Forest Ecology and Management, 259: 2056-2064. Sweeney et al 2010a
  47. Sweeney OF,Wilson MW, Irwin S, Kelly TC & O'Halloran J. 2010.  The influence of a native tree species mix component on bird communities in non-native coniferous plantations in Ireland.  Bird Study, 57 (4): 483-494. PDF.
  48. Sweeney OF, Wilson MW, Irwin S, Kelly TC & O'Halloran J. 2010. Breeding bird communities of second rotation plantations at different stages of the forest cycle. Bird Study, 57: 301-314. Sweeney et al 2010
  49. Sweeney OF, Wilson MW, Irwin S, Kelly TC & O'Halloran J. 2010.  Are bird density, species richness and community structure similar in native woodlands and non-native plantations in an area with a generalist bird fauna?  Biodiversity & Conservation, 19 (8): 2329-2342. Sweeney et al 2010
  50. Wilson MW, Irwin S, O'Donoghue B, Kelly T. & O'Halloran J. 2010.  The use of forested landscapes by Hen Harriers in Ireland. COFORD Connects, Environment No. 10.  Wilson et al 2010
  51. Wilson MW, Irwin S, Norriss DW, Newton SF, Collins K, Kelly TC & O'Halloran J. 2009. The importance of pre-thicket conifer plantations for nesting Hen Harriers Circus cyaneus in Ireland. Ibis, 151: 332-343. Wilson et al 2009
  52. Irwin S, Wilson MW, Kelly TC, O'Donoghue B, O'Mahony B, Oliver G, Cullen C, O'Donoghue T & O'Halloran J. 2008. A note on the breeding biology of Hen Harriers Circus cyaneus in Ireland. Irish Birds, 8: 331-334. Irwinetal2008
  53. O'Halloran J, Kelly TC, Irwin S & Newton S. 2008. Current Ornithological Research in Ireland: 5th Ornithological Research Conference, UCC November 2008. Irish Birds, 8: 441-488.
  54. Roycroft D, Irwin S, Wilson M, Kelly TC & O'Halloran J. 2008. The breeding bird community of Balrath Wood 2007. Irish Forestry, 65: 60-70. Roycroft 2008
  55. Irwin S, Davenport J & Wall V. 2007. Measurement of temperature and salinity effects on oxygen consumption of Artemia fransciscana K., measured using fiber-optic oxygen microsensors. Hydrobiologia, 575: 109-115. Irwin et al 2007
  56. Irwin S & Davenport J. 2006. Implications of water flow and oxygen gradients for molluscan oxygen uptake and respirometric measurements. Journal of the Marine Biological Association, UK, 86:1-2. Irwin Davenport 2006 JMBA
  57. Davenport J & Irwin S. 2003. The hypoxic life of intertidal acorn barnacles. Marine Biology, 143:555-563. Davenport Irwin 2003 Mar Biol
  58. O'Halloran J, Irwin S, Harrison S, Smiddy P & O'Mahony B. 2003. Mercury and organochlorine content of Dipper Cinclus cinclus eggs in south-west Ireland: trends during 1990-1999. Environmental Pollution, 123:85-93. PDF
  59. Shields RJ, Irwin S, Smith PL & McEvoy LA. 2003. Effects of diet transition regimen on survival, growth and lipid composition of intensively reared Atlantic cod, Gadus morhua, larvae. Aquaculture International, 11:119-130. Shields et al 2003
  60. FitzGerald R, Stefansson SO, Garforth D & Irwin S. 2002. Production II: From egg to market size: onrearing in freshwater and marine environments. In: Handbook of Salmon Farming (Stead, S. M. and Laird, L., eds.). Chichester, UK, Praxis Publishing. Pp 65-104.    
  61. Irwin S & Davenport J. 2002. Iron status of adult dogfish (Scyliorhinus canicula) tissues and sources of iron during embryonic development. Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom, 82:1-5. Irwin Davenport 2002 JMBA
  62. Irwin S & Davenport J. 2002. Hyperoxic boundary layers inhabited by the epiphytic meiofauna of Fucus serratus. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 244:73-79. Irwin Davenport 2002 MEPS
  63. Irwin S, O'Halloran J & FitzGerald RD. 2002. The relationship between individual consumption and growth in juvenile turbot, Scophthalmus maximus. Aquaculture, 204:65-74. Irwin Et Al 2002 Aqua B   
  64. Irwin S, O'Halloran J & FitzGerald RD. 2002. Mouth morphology and behavioural responses of cultured turbot towards food pellets of different sizes and moisture content. Aquaculture, 205:77-88. Irwin et al., 2002
  65. Irwin S, O'Halloran J & FitzGerald RD. 1999. Stocking density, growth and growth variation in juvenile turbot, Scophthalmus maximus (Rafinesque). Aquaculture, 178:77-88. Irwin Et Al 1999 Aqua
  66. Irwin S, Kenny AP, O'HalloranJ, FitzGerald RD & Duggan PF. 1999. Adaptation and validation of a radioimmunoassay kit for measuring plasma cortisol in turbot. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology, Part C, 124:27-31. Irwin et al 1999 CBP  
  67. Irwin S & O'Halloran J. 1997. The wintering behaviour of coot Fulica atra L. at Cork lough, south-west Ireland. Biology and Environment, 97:157-162. IrwinOHalloran1997
  68. FitzGerald RD, Flanagan M, Brennan C, Haraldsson H, Clarke J, Coughlan J, Irwin S, Roby F, Ní Chara U & Cross TF. 1995. Research on farmed turbot (Scophthalmus maximus) in Ireland. In: Irish Marine Science 1995 (Keegan, B. F. and O'Connor, R., eds.), Galway University Press. Pp. 407-415.
  69. O'Halloran J, Smiddy P & Irwin S. 1995. Movements of mute swans in south-west Ireland. Irish Birds, 5:295-298.



Planning and Management Tools for Biodiversity in a Range of Irish Forests

PLANFORBIO Research Programme, Dept. of Zoology, Ecology & Plant Science, University College Cork, Distillery Fields,North Mall, Cork, Ireland