My research interests focus on behaviour, particularly with mammals and sociality. This has led me to work on several field-based research projects, including working with Giant otters in the Peruvian Amazon (San Diego Zoo Global and WildCRU); Meerkats in the Kalahari (University of Cambridge); and cetaceans off the coast of South Africa (Nature’s Valley Trust). I also undertook an internship at the Highland Wildlife Park in Kincraig, working with their cold-climate carnivore and herbivore exhibits. I was awarded the Fisheries Society of the British Isles Internship bursary to undertake a research project at the Dr Mike Websters fish behaviour lab at the University of St Andrews on novel feeding behaviour in Dwarf Gouramis (Trichogaster lalius).
I obtained my Integrated Masters in Biology from the University of St Andrews, where I largely focused on mammal behaviour. My undergraduate dissertation focused on modelling the population bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops aduncus) of the coast of South Africa. My Masters thesis examined social networking and group defence behaviour in Giant otters (Pteronura brasiliensis) in the Peruvian Amazon, which became the groundwork for my current DPhil.
My DPhil aims to look at large semi-aquatic and terrestrial mammalian carnivores in South America, focusing on Giant otters and felid species such as jaguars (Panthera onca) and pumas (Puma concolor). The study will aim to examine and understand behaviour of these species, as well as their demographics, community composition, and ecology. The study sites are located within Manu National Park, a protected reserve in Amazonian Peru, and in the surrounding Madre de Dios region, an area devastated by illegal gold mining. The comparison of the carnivores between these sites can offer valuable information about the current condition of the ecosystem, and the effect of the illegal gold mining. We aim to examine this through a combination of data collection, including camera trapping, video observations, and hair analysis.