I am passionate about wildlife conservation and environmental protection. I have a degree in Zoology from Trinity College Dublin and a Master of Research (MRes) in Conservation Biology, from the University of Nottingham. For my MRes, I carried out the first ever study of the rare, endemic Sinai Hairstreak Butterfly and my work led to the classification of the Sinai Hairstreak for the first time by the IUCN (Vulnerable). Since my MRes I’ve worked on numerous projects and places from Cape Verde to Romania. I have spent four summers as a seabird fieldworker for Birdwatch reland, helping conserve, research and survey a variety of seabird species across the country from small uninhabited islands to offshore boat-based surveys.
My PhD research topic is on seabird eggs (Gannet, Guillemot and Common Tern) as a higher trophic level indicator of contaminants in Irish marine waters and is a collaboration between GMIT, the Marine Institute and BirdWatch Ireland. Contaminants such as pesticides and mercury can have lethal and sub-lethal effects on both wildlife and people. Testing seabird eggs allows us to see the level of contaminants in a top predator from the local environment at the time the egg was formed. This research may help inform future plans to reduce the levels of certain contaminants present in the environment and act as a warning system on the build-up of new and emerging contaminants. This research may also help Ireland achieve good environmental status under the EU’s Marine Strategy Framework Directive.
This Cullen Fellowship (Grant-Aid Agreement No.CF/16/01) is carried out with the support of the Marine Institute, and funded under the Marine Research Programme 2014-2020 by the Irish Government.