My interests lie in the interface between people and wildlife in the developing world, and in building innovative and feasible solutions to problems of human-wildlife conflict. With an academic background in ecology my work has become increasingly interdisciplinary, drawing on areas of economics and anthropology to develop a fuller understanding of the challenges and opportunities facing biodiversity conservation.
After graduation with a BSc (Hons) Biological Sciences from the University of Edinburgh, 2001 I was awarded a NERC scholarship study for an MSc in Applied Ecology and Conservation at the University of East Anglia (UEA), 2002. Following on from my MSc I went to work as a researcher in Tanzania before joining the Zoological Society of London’s Indonesia programme for my PhD in 2004 (funded by ESRC/NERC). My doctoral research focused on reviewing the relationship between oil palm plantations and biodiversity, quantifying the impact of a mammalian pest (wild pigs) on the oil palm crop, and investigating the cost-efficiency of integrating set-aside lands into the management of a commercial plantation.
In 2009 I returned to Tanzania as a post-doctoral researcher under Prof Monique Borgerhoff Mulder and Prof Tim Caro at the University of California, Davis. Using anthropological methods I explored the cultural and economic drivers of lion hunting around Katavi National Park. On the back of this research I now co-ordinate WASIMA (Watu, Simba na Mazingira or People, Lions and the Environment) which using grassroots strategies to halt the trend in lion hunting. I joined WildCRU as an ESRC postdoctoral research fellow in December 2011, a 15 month position to consolidate my PhD research and prior postdoctoral research as well as further develop WASIMA.
Other research projects I have been involved with include assessments of neotropical amphibian population dynamics, multi-taxon assessments of the biodiversity value of multiple use landscapes, analyses of social networks in rural Tanzania and assessments of maternal health and childcare.