Postdocs & research technicians

Postdoctoral researchers

University of Stirling – Dr Emily Waddell

Emily is an ecologist who is interested in the impact of anthropogenic change on forest ecosystems, with a focus on ensuring these ecosystems are protected and resilient to future environmental change. Her research has been based in tropical and temperate human-modified landscapes, and focused on both plant and animal communities. Emily did her PhD in Ecology at the UKCEH in Edinburgh and through University of York (2020). Her PhD project examined local and landscape-scale factors that affect exotic plant invasion in remnant forest sites surrounded by oil-palm plantations across Sabah, Malaysian Borneo, spanning gradients in landscape-scale fragmentation and local forest disturbance. Emily did her MRes in Ecology and Environmental Biology (2013) and her BSc in Zoology (2011) both from the University of Glasgow. She is leading the data collection and analyses for the woodland team.

Cranfield University – Dr Will Rust

Will is an environmental data scientist based at Cranfield University with a focus on signal analysis and modelling of environmental systems. He has a background in hydrology and climate analysis which centres on the development of modelling tools for improved water management. Will completed his PhD in 2021 on the use of periodic climate or atmospheric signals for improving water and drought management and has continued research in this area, including expanding methods of periodic analysis to other environmental systems. Will is part of the team assessing signals of resilience and Critical Slowing Down; using these in the development of Early Warning Systems for sudden ecosystem shifts.

Forest Research – Dr Matt Guy

Matt is a Spatial Scientist at Forest Research, where most of his work focusses on woodland creation. He has a background in ecology and has worked across a broad range of taxa, ecosystems and settings including bats as pest control on coffee plantations, invertebrate communities in short rotation willow coppice and medium to large mammals in small agricultural woodlands. Matt did his PhD at the University of Stirling (2019) investigating the effects of seabird colonies on nutrient cycling, plant and invertebrate communities on blanket bog in Shetland. Matt has been assisting the site selection process and will be involved in fieldwork and data collection for the woodland team.

Research technicians

University of Stirling – Ross Barnett

Ross is Field Technician with the RestREco woodlands team at Stirling University. Ross is an ecologist with widespread interests and experience in restoration, entomology and bioacoustics. He holds a MRes in Ecology and Environmental Biology from the University of Glasgow (2019) and a BSc (Hons) in Animal Biology from the University of Stirling (2018). His MRes thesis utilised acoustic indices as indicators of climate change induced phenological changes in Scottish woodland. Ross is leading work to investigate how ecosystem complexity could be reflected in the soundscape in restored woodland habitat. He will also be working on fieldwork data collection and invertebrate collection and identification.

University of Stirling – Andra Opris

Andra is an arachnologist supporting invertebrate identification for RestREco, with a focus on spider, harvestmen and hoverfly groups. She did her BSc (Hons) and MSc in Animal Biology and Conservation with Edinburgh Napier University, where her research focused on exploring spider community assemblages in raised bogs and timber plantation systems. This kindled her enthusiasm for woodland community ecology which she brings to the woodland team.

UKCEH – Maico Geert Weites

Maico works on the invertebrate component of the project on the RestREco grasslands team. He holds a MSc in Ecology from the University of Aberdeen (2015) and a BSc in Biology (Ecology and Evolution) from the University of Groningen, the Netherlands (2014). Prior to joining the team Maico worked in ecological consultancy where he conducted wildlife surveys in the Scottish Highlands and southern England. Maico’s main interest lie with botany and invertebrates and he verifies beetle records for the Dutch National Database Flora and Fauna (NDFF). He is involved with collecting field data and invertebrate identification.

Former team members

Cranfield University – Dr Oscar Aguinaga Vargas

Oscar has a BSc in Biology and MSc in Microbiology from Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia (Peru) and holds a PhD in Biotechnology from the University of Manchester (UK). Since 2015, he investigates how nature recovers and attenuates the impact of perturbation produced by human activities through microbial and geochemical processes. His work involves the measurement of environmental impact in plants, sediments and water by novel techniques and analysis of large microbial taxonomic and functional datasets. His research has covered studies in different ecosystems such coastal wetlands impacted by acid mine drainage in North Wales, tropical mangroves perturbed by intensive industrial activities and high-altitude Andean peatlands affected by uncontrolled urban growth. He has also worked as an external advisor for mining companies, consulting firms and business ventures related to biotechnology and environmental sustainability. He is leading the soil lab work and analyses for grasslands and woodlands.

University of Stirling – Sam Rogerson

Sam is an entomologist with a BSc (Hons) in Animal Biology from Edinburgh Napier University (2018). He has experience studying invertebrates in temperate and tropical woodland and freshwater habitats. He worked as an ecologist for three years, conducting protected species and habitat surveys for an environmental consultancy. Since 2021, Sam has worked at the University of Stirling, and has assisted research on the ecology of spittlebugs in Scotland. He collected data for the project and co-lead the invertebrate identification for the woodland team until starting his PhD in October 2022 – on inverts in woodland creation sites!

University of Stirling – Anna Gee

Anna is an ecologist with a BA (Hons) in Biological Sciences from the University of Oxford. She led the herbaceous plant identification for RestREco during the summer 2021 field season and assisted with invertebrate sampling and processing. In October 2021 Anna left Stirling to start a PhD in tropical forest ecology at Imperial College London, and is currently investigating natural regeneration in seasonally dry tropical forests in Mexico.