Matt is a PhD researcher at the University of Stirling, UK where his research focuses on how landscape dynamics, such as land-use change and trends in wildlife density, can be accounted for in spatial conservation planning and landscape-level decision-making. Matt’s doctoral research is focused in Cambodia, and is partnered with the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Cambodia Program. The research aims to harness the power of social-ecological systems modeling in informing conservation management decisions at different scales across the country.
Matt graduated from the University of Leeds (UK) in 2007 with a BSc in Environmental Science, and completed a MSc in Conservation Science from Imperial College London in 2012. His career has taken him to Kenya, Cambodia, and Scotland, working within the conservation NGO sector. In Kenya Matt managed a coastal forest conservation program for an international organisation, where the main focus was primate monitoring. In Cambodia Matt worked for the Wildlife Conservation Society as a Techincal Advisor focusing initially on biodiversity monitoring, after which his focus shifted to supporting government partners in protected area management. After returning from Cambodia and before starting his PhD in 2017, Matt worked as the Project Officer in NE Scotland for the Scottish Wildlife Trust’s Saving Scotland’s Red Squirrels project.
Matt is a keen surfer (even in northeast Scotland!), hiker, and general lover of adventures in campervans. Originally from Devon in southwest England, he now lives with his wife in Montrose, Scotland.
Robin Hayward is a tropical plant ecologist and PhD researcher based at the University Of Stirling in Scotland. They study the dynamics of seedling community recovery in selectively logged Malaysian rain forests, working with the South East Asian Rainforest Research Partnership to collect data in the field. As part of their research, Robin has established a set of permanent seedling plots around the Danum Valley Conservation Area in Borneo, providing a long term baseline for the dynamic processes of trees in their youngest age class, which will continue to provide data for years to come.
Robin graduated from the University of York in 2016 with a Masters degree in Environmental Science and a keen interest in tropical ecology. Since discovering this passion, Robin has worked at sites in Malaysia, Indonesia, and Dominica to uncover the ways in which plants are able to shape their environments and support complex and diverse ecosystems. Robin is an enthusiast of professional tree climbing and exploration of the canopy ecosystem, both at home in Scotland and in the dizzying heights of tropical forests. This led to their first publication on the relationship between epiphytes and host trees in Indonesia, and to a life of hanging out in the branches of some of the biggest organisms alive today.
As well as conducting academic research, Robin is heavily involved with science communication activities both online and in person. Having previously worked for a scientific expedition company, catering primarily for 16-18 year olds, Robin has enjoyed guiding young scientists through their first experiences of field work and passing on some ecological expertise to the general public. They now look for opportunities wherever they can to put a little more environmental enthusiasm out in to the world.
Post-doctoral Research Associate
Tom is an ecosystem ecologist investigating the changing carbon cycle in the Arctic. Tom studied his BSc in Biology at the University of Sheffield, followed by his Research Masters in Ecology and Environmental Management at the University of York in 2010/11. Tom went onto do complete his PhD at Stirling in 2015 looking at the ecological controls of rhizosphere processes and soil organic matter dynamics at a sub-arctic treeline, followed by a position as a post-doctoral research associate at The Ecosystem Centre, in Massachusetts, USA from 2015-2017 and currently works as a post-doctoral research associate at the University of Stirling.
Tom’s previous work in the tundra of Alaska focused on the ecology and adaptation of arctic plants. The climate in the Arctic is warming faster than anywhere else on earth and his group’s research indicates that arctic plants may struggle to keep up with this change.
As the arctic climate warms, tall shrubs are expanding north into the tundra. Tom’s research aims to understand how these changes in tundra plant community will impact carbon cycling in the soil. Artic soils represent one of the largest global stores of carbon and a major question Tom aims to answer is how the increasing plant activity in the tundra will affect this soil carbon store.
Tom is a forest ecologist with a background in conservation, having worked across a range of projects both in the UK and abroad, enjoying mountaineering, rock climbing and mini-adventures in his spare time. His interests are wide-ranging and encompass anything relating to the ecology of forest ecosystems, both temperate and tropical, with a particular focus on managing forests as complex adaptive systems, forest dynamics and resilience to extreme climatic events, with a healthy fascination with mycology (fungi).
Tom previously worked as an intelligence analyst in the UK and as a bio-security ranger for the Department of Conservation (DOC) in New Zealand. More recently he returned to the UK and his conservation career led him to an island nature reserve off the north coast of Scotland (Handa Island), which he ran for two years. Tom then spent a brief period working in the forest industry having completed my MSc in Environmental Forestry at Bangor University, Wales and is now undertaking his PhD at Stirling University in collaboration with Forest Research.
Tom’s research focuses on assessing the resilience of forests to extreme climatic events such as drought, and how different species and communities respond to these stressful events and why. By investigating the legacy and impact of historic drought events through tree ring chronologies, it’s hoped we can foster and incorporate resilience and adaptive capacity into our forests design, so they can continue to meet the needs of people and wildlife in the face of climatic change.
Tom believes strongly that interdisciplinary teams of people are frequently the key to solving many of the complex problems we face as a planet. Equally he think the importance of bridging the gap between scientific research and people is fundamental, which resulted in this forest ecology website which Tom created and runs.