I am a passionate botanist and ecologist. I am interested in plant ecology, evolution, and conservation. At the minute I am particularly interested in plant-soil interactions, parasites of plants, evolutionary genetics, and adaptation to urban environments.

  • I have a good knowledge of the Irish and British flora, with over five years experience of casual recording for the BSBI. In recent years I have recorded much more intensively and systematically, including taking on a project to record the flora of islands in Strangford Lough.
    • I have experience with Stace and other keys.
    • I am passionate about improving my skills and have recently been trying to learn and record sedges and eyebrights where I find them.
    • A notable recent plant record was the first record of Spiranthes spiralis in Ulster, found by mum while out on a walk and identified by me. This received some minor press attention including being covered by BBC News.
    • I also have developed an interest in plant-parasitic pathogens and galls and have been making an effort to record these, including the first record of Plasmopara euphrasiae in Ireland.
  • I have some experience casually mentoring people in plant identification and also ran a New Year’s Plant Hunt in Belfast last year. I plan to run some days out next summer with Wild Belfast, a wildlife advocacy group I am involved in.
  • I have a good knowledge of both R and python. I regularly use R for data analysis and visualisation. I have used python for climate modelling as part of a university course and have also constructed a dynamic spatial species competition model.
  • I have a good knowledge of Microsoft Office, ImageJ, GNU Image Manipulation Program, and creating and editing websites with WordPress and HTML.
  • I am passionate about science communication and run a blog where I write about my work.
Research Projects

2022 – : Plants of Strangford Islands (see poster summary here)

  • I have been systematically recording the flora of islands in Strangford Lough. So far I have visited twelve islands.
  • I have begun to analyse these data from an island biogeography perspective and hope to publish my preliminary work next year, as well as continuing with fieldwork.

2023: Dynamic spatial model of a hemiparasite and its hosts (see summary here)

  • I replicated a paper from 2009 by Cameron et al., which modelled the population dynamics of Yellow Rattle, grasses, and forbs in a simulated grassland.
  • I improved the visualisation of the model and the simulation of seed dispersal.
  • I have begun to work on an accessible resource about the use of Yellow Rattle in species-rich grassland creation, including a figure explaining population dynamics based on the output of my model.

2023: Urban flora of Belfast

  • I am particularly interested in recent non-native introductions. I have found several new species to County Down and rediscovered one not seen since pre-1930.
  • So far I have just been casually recording but I plan to systematise this with transects.
  • I am a member of Wild Belfast, a wildlife advocacy group. I plan to train and encourage others to record urban plants in Belfast by running field days with this group. I want to encourage people’s connection to nature in their area and improve our knowledge of the many non-native species being introduced.

[uni] November 2022 – March 2023: eDNA work with flora of Tristan da Cunha (vegetation history)

  • I worked with an eDNA dataset from sediment cores from Tristan da Cunha. I worked on summarising the dataset taxonomically and improving methods for species identification.

[uni] March 2023: a three-day mini project comparing plant parasite and host physiology in a grassland in Portugal (see writeup here)

  • We used apparatus including a Scholander pressure bomb and PAM fluorometer to measure and compare ecophysiological characteristics of two parasitic plant species and their host.

[uni] September 2023 – January 2024: The effect of disturbance along trails on the ground flora of Danum Valley Conservation Area, Sabah, Borneo

  • Recording and identifying terrestrial ferns and lycophytes.
  • Analysing the effect of disturbance along trails:
    • Does species richness change?
    • Does community composition change?
    • What other environmental factors affect these?
Field Assistant Roles

July 2022: Stromatolites – EpStromNet

  • I assisted with fieldwork investigating modern stromatolites on the coast of Sligo. I helped with the microbial ecology work, taking PAM photosynthesis measurements and taking samples for genetic analysis.

June 2023: Fen soil carbon flux – Centre for Landscape Regeneration

  • I assisted with soil sample collection for a day in November 2022.
  • For three weeks in June 2023 I designed an experiment to test the effect of plant-soil interactions on soil carbon cycling and helped with sample preparation for chemical analysis.

Currently studying BA Natural Sciences 2021-2024 at Trinity Hall, Cambridge:

  • high Second class in first year
  • 2.i in second year

Secondary Education 2013-2021 at Grosvenor Grammar School, Belfast:

  • A-levels3 A*s in Maths, Further Maths, Biology; A in Spanish
  • GCSEs: (6 A*s, 4 As, 2 Bs)