I am a first year DPhil student funded by the Mr and Mrs J A Pye Charitable Settlement, working under the supervision of Dr Lindsay Turnbull and Dr Keith Kirby. My research is investigating the value of The Ridgeway National Trail for conserving the biodiversity associated with chalk grassland.
The Ridgeway National Trail is an ancient way that stretches for 87 miles through two Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty: the North Wessex Downs and the Chilterns. Both areas historically had large expanses of chalk grassland. Today the extent of this grassland has been greatly reduced and the remaining patches are mostly small and isolated.
Due to the large area of grassland habitat present within the boundaries of The Ridgeway and the distance that the trail spans, there is the potential to increase the area of well managed chalk grassland and enhance the connectivity of grassland communities. Through a combination of modelling, observational and experimental approaches my project aims to: i) Assess the current value of The Ridgeway National Trail; and ii) Investigate management interventions that could increase biodiversity found along The Ridgeway.
Prior to starting my DPhil I graduated from the University of Oxford with a first class degree in Biological Sciences. As part of my undergraduate degree I carried out a research project in Sumatra investigating the impact of mature oil palm replanting on ecosystem functions in riparian zones.