I have always been interested in the natural world, spending my school summer holidays recording the biodiversity of a local woodland and conducting live mammal trapping and tadpole rearing projects. I completed a BSc in Natural Sciences with the Open University in 2011, having graduated I decided to do MSc in Taxonomy and Biodiversity at Imperial College London.
During my Masters’ I particularly enjoyed the module on soil biodiversity so when I saw a PhD on human impacts on soil biodiversity advertised I was very excited and applied. I began this PhD in 2014, which is funded by the National Environmental Research Council (NERC) through the Imperial College Science and Solutions for a Changing Planet (SSCP) doctoral training programme.
My PhD research focuses on soil and litter biodiversity, investigating how the composition of these communities will respond to predicted land use change in the UK. This combines new and existing data, including extensive datasets from the Natural History Museum Soil Biodiversity Group, where my MSc project was based.
As part of my PhD I developed Earthworm Watch with my supervisors at the Natural History Museum and colleagues at the Earthwatch Institute. Earthwatch Watch was inspired by my own enjoyment of citizen science projects in the past, by involving the public I can gather more data than I could alone, and from the important urban green spaces which scientists can rarely access.
In my spare time I am very involved in running the Amateur Entomologist’s Society – a charity for people interested in studying insects, especially amongst amateurs and the younger generation. Running events, writing articles for our publications and updating the social media accounts keeps me busy all year round!
I hope you enjoy Earthworm Watch, and it inspires you as much it does me.