Meet . . . our Meetings Committee

Dr Catriona Morrison


Cat is a post-doctoral researcher at the University of East Anglia. Her primary research interests lie in using citizen science data to understand the demographic and environmental processes influencing the population dynamics of birds, and inform conservation management. She is involved in mentoring and facilitating the development of Early Career Researchers. Cat is an Associate Editor of IBIS and has been a member of BOU Meetings Committee since 2020.

Follow Cat on Twitter @CatMorrison18

Dr Katherine Booth Jones

Katherine is the BTO’s Senior Research Ecologist in Northern Ireland, where her day-to-day work involves identifying and addressing policy-led ornithological evidence needs. While her role requires a broad understanding of the ecology of all Northern Irish species, her specific interest is in seabirds, having studied a PhD investigating the interaction between genes and environment on the movement ecology of a hybrid population of tropical petrels (Pterodroma spp.). As a result, Katherine’s primary research interest is in how advances in technologies such as tracking and molecular ecology can reveal individual differences in seabird behaviour and the implications for this at a population level, particularly in conservation management terms.

Katherine has been a keen bird ringer since 2011 and is on the management committee for the Copeland Bird Observatory, the home of Northern Ireland’s Manx Shearwater population. She is also part of The Seabird Group’s Executive Committee in her role as Newsletter Editor. Katherine is an advocate of diversity and inclusion, sitting on the BTO’s internal panel to improve access to ornithology for all.

Follow Katherine on Twitter @KatBoothJones

Dr Christine Howard

Christines’ primary research interests focus on understanding the drivers of avian population dynamics both spatially and temporally, with the goal of improving our knowledge on how to implement effective conservation strategies under various scenarios of environmental change. Prior to her PhD, her studies concentrated on assessing the impacts of finer scale environmental change on avian populations, through both behavioural trade-offs and varying survival rates. Christine undertook her PhD at Durham University, working closely with the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO), where she investigated the relative importance of climate and land use change for determining the recent population trends of breeding birds across Europe. She then moved on to work on a project with the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Forest Service to identify the environmental and anthropogenic correlates of rarity, to develop recommendations for conservation policy. Christine is currently working as a post-doctoral research associate on a NERC funded project jointly awarded to the Conservation Ecology Group at Durham University and the BTO. For this project she is building behaviour-based models of the migratory journeys of Afro-Palearctic migratory birds to identify the drivers of current routes and the threats these species are exposed to during their annual migrations.

Follow Christine on Twitter @_choward

Dr Joelene Hughes

After many wonderful years of being involved in ecological and biodiversity conservation research that has taken her from the Arctic to Antarctica via many countries in between, Joelene’s research interests now lie in studying people for the benefit of nature conservation. After completing a PhD at the University of Aberdeen, Joelene mixed ecological and social research as a post-doc at the University of Oxford before moving to the RSPB. As a Principal Conservation Scientist for RSPB, Joelene explores the relationships between nature, humans and conservation. She is involved in a range of collaborations and research projects investigating, among other things, the concept of connection to nature, sense of place, attitudes, conflicts and other factors that may affect or spark pro-conservation behaviour.

Follow Joelene on Twitter @joelene_x3

Angela Langford

Journal & Office Manager

Angela graduated from Hull University with a BSc in Environmental Botany and Geography, went on to do a PGCE and taught Science for a number of years. After starting a family she decided on a change of direction and set up a carnivorous plant nursery and tropical butterfly house in southern Scotland. Still looking for a new challenge she later established a second hand bookshop in Wigtown (Scotland’s National booktown), specialising in natural history. This love of books lead to establishing a publishing business, Langford Press, which concentrated on wildlife art. Living in beautiful Pembrokeshire, Angela spends her spare time walking the coastal path with her dog and enjoying the wonderful wildlife of the area. Angela joined the BOU as a staff member in 2008.

Dr Barry John McMahon

Barry was appointed a Lecturer in Wildlife Conservation & Zoonotic Epidemiology in the UCD School of Agriculture & Food, University College Dublin in 2011. Previously, he had been a post-doctoral researcher examining the interaction between agriculture and biodiversity. His current research focuses on diseases, including antimicrobial resistance, that are reservoired in or disseminated by wild birds and mammals. In addition, Barry is interested in understanding the population biology of Red Grouse (Lagopus lagopus hibernicus) in Ireland and this research contributed to the Red Grouse Species Action Plan 2013.

Dr Ana Payo-Payo

An academic fellow at the University of Aberdeen, Ana is a population ecologist working at the interface of theoretical and quantitative ecology trying to understand the processes driving spatial-temporal dynamics of animal species in a global change context. her research specifically focuses on the effects of density dependence, stochasticity and extreme perturbations on different life history traits such as survival, breeding performance, dispersal, migration and colonization processes. She believes that science and humour are transformative tools for a more informed, responsible and sustainable society. Ultimately, Ana aims to provide robust scientific evidence to inform species management and conservation and to promote scientific literacy.

Follow Ana on Twitter @anapayopayo

Dr Alice Risely

Alice is currently a research fellow and teacher at University of Salford studying host-microbe interactions with a focus on the gut microbiomes of wild populations. Her academic journey began with a fascination with bird migration, and during her PhD she researched host-microbe interactions in long-distance migratory shorebirds. Alice therefore has a long-standing interest in how migrants transport microbes and pathogens, and how animal movements in general contribute to microbial and pathogen transmission. After a number of years researching mammal microbiomes, Alice is now moving back to her ornithology roots and focusing on understanding how urban resource use in gulls influences gut microbial ecology and evolution.

Follow Ana on Twitter @risely_a

Dr Emily Simmonds (she/her)

Emily is a researcher currently working at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology and the University of Edinburgh. Her primary research interests are understanding how populations might respond to environmental changes. Emily completed her PhD at the University of Oxford studying phenology and population dynamics of great tits. Since then, she has held a post doc at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology expanding her work into integrated distribution modelling and uncertainty quantification. Now working on her own project funded by the Research Council of Norway, Emily is looking to improve the robustness and reliability of our predictions of population responses to climate change.

Follow Emily on Twitter @EmilySimmonds10

Dr Leila Walker (she/her)

Chief Operations Officer

Leila has responsibility for the day to day management and running of the BOU including conferences and events, the business side of the BOU’s journal, IBIS, social media and communications, website development and content management and servicing BOU Council and its Standing Committees.

Follow Leila on Twitter @leilakwalker

Dr Kevin Wood

Kevin is a scientist in the Conservation Evidence team at the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust (WWT), a UK-based charity devoted to the conservation of wetlands and their wildlife. He joined WWT in 2014 after a PhD (Bournemouth University, 2012) and post-doctoral work developing individual-based models of bird populations to advise conservation efforts. His work at WWT involves developing and carrying out a wide range of research projects to provide the inter-disciplinary (ecological, social) evidence needed to inform the conservation actions of WWT and its partners. Kevin’s research focuses on improving our understanding of the interactions between wetlands, wildlife, and people. This includes identifying anthropogenic pressures that threaten the health of wetland ecosystems, improving our understanding of the benefits of wetlands for people (ecosystem services), and informing the conservation actions and policies needed to protect wetland ecosystems. He has worked extensively on diagnosing the demographic and environmental causes of population declines in threated avian species, such as the Bewick’s Swan and Common Eider.

Follow Kevin on Twitter @drkevinwood