Mairi Hilton

PhD student

I am a PhD candidate working on a tool to link monitoring data to conservation management, known as triggers for action. Triggers for action are a point in an ecological system that if crossed, triggers a management response agreed upon during the initial planning process. Working alongside managers of conservation organisations, including the Department of Conservation in New Zealand and Department of Planning, Industry & Environment in New South Wales, I am developing and testing methods to set robust triggers for conservation action. In doing so, she hopes to improve conservation outcomes for threatened species.

Prior to my PhD, I completed an MRes in Ecology at the University of Glasgow, where I worked alongside the Scottish Forestry Commission to implement a novel approach to species distribution modelling to understand the habitat preferences of the capercaillie. Here I developed my interests in spatial ecology, and in how scientists can work alongside conservation practitioners to improve conservation actions

I have also worked as an ecologist in Scotland, and taken part in a range of fieldwork projects across the world. This has enabled me to gain experience in a range of field survey techniques, including setting up camera traps for mammals, swabbing frogs for Chytrid fungus and studying nesting sea turtles. Fieldwork has provided great opportunities to combine my passion for exploring nature with my interests as a conservation biologist.

Main research themes

  • Conservation decision making