Since completing my PhD I have been a full time post doctoral researcher for Prof. Kremen at Princeton University and then at UC Berkeley. My work is funded by a McArthur Foundation grant, raised jointly by the Wildlife Conservation Society and Prof. Kremen. It is essential to maintain good links between university conservation biology programs and the real world of applied conservation and I am very much enjoying providing a link between conservation research and conservation practice in Madagascar. My time is evenly divided between conservation planning research and supporting applications of my methods and results in Madagascar. I manage the budget and work plan, and provide technical and analytical support to ReBioMa, which is the national biodiversity data-base initiative for Madagascar.
I have persuaded the majority of leading taxonomists for the region to provide data (for 2345 species from 6 taxa) to the project, and have used these to conduct a multi-taxonomic conservation planning analysis. This is being used to plan a threefold expansion of the protected areas network, from 2 to 6 million hectares, which was announced by the president in 2003. Results have been presented to the governmental panel in Madagascar, and are now being prepared for submission to peer-reviewed journals. My work in Madagascar provided an opportunity to collaborate with Dr Bob Pressey (University of Queensland) in conservation planning workshops, and in 2007 I will be focussing on analyses that will support collaborative efforts to integrate planning for climate change scenarios into the process in Madagascar.
Training and capacity building is an important part of my job. I have organized and taught three workshops in Madagascar. The first was on the theory and practice of species distribution modeling, with tutorials on the use of the Maxent species distribution modeling package. The second was in the use of Zonation conservation planning software, and the third was to assess results derived by the trainees using these methods. I recently organized a visit for our two Malagasy project staff to the USA for sponsored GIS training at ESRI, to attend the Society for Conservation Biology annual meeting, and for geo-referencing training at UC Berkeley.
I participated in a NESCent working group on patterns of Biodiversity in Madagascar, and have been invited to join an NCEAS working group to develop methods for using the IUCN Red List Criteria to Project Climate Change Impacts on Biodiversity
My PhD is from the University of Leeds (2005) and my thesis title was "Madagascan butterfly biodiversity, and conservation: a case study in conservation planning for climate change". I conducted rapid inventories of butterflies at 30 sites in Madagascar with a team of entomologists from California Academy of Sciences, funded by an NSF grant to Prof. Brian Fisher. I collaborated extensively to compile the largest biodiversity data-base for any taxon (Lepidoptera) in Madagascar, which is now one of the best for any tropical region. To model butterfly distributions I collaborated with the Maxent development group at Princeton. I collaborated with Atte Moilanen of Helsinki University to use the beta-version of Zonation for my conservation planning analysis.
I have an MSc. in Conservation Biology from the University of Cape Town (1999), and a BSc. in Tropical Environmental Science from the University of Aberdeen (1997).