Megan Baldissara - PhD Student

Megan joined the AWESM lab as a PhD student in the School of Natural Resources in summer 2021. I grew up in Italy surrounded by wildlife, as I often spent my time outdoors exploring woods and fields. This environment influenced my desire to understand the natural world encouraging me to attend a scientific high school in my hometown and then to gain a bachelor’s degree in Biological Sciences. Driven by my desire to travel and further discover my British roots, as my mother is English, I decided to pursue my bachelor’s in the UK. As part of the degree, I had a placement year at the Game and Wildlife Trust (GWCT) in the south of England, researching farmland biodiversity. My main roles were to study spatial biodiversity of gamebirds in farmland with GIS (Geographic Information System) and to study the predation of vulnerable protected birds. During this year I conducted surveys of birds such as pheasants, partridges and woodcocks and I mapped their population distribution depending on the environment with ArcGIS. I also conducted invertebrate surveys to understand the habitat and food quality for farmland birds. My mapping work contributed to understand where habitat management was needed to enhance farmland bird biodiversity and where management efforts were effective, thus helping in advising game management and wildlife conservation practices to farmers, shoot managers and conservation organisations. I really enjoyed working there and I discovered my passion for wildlife conservation, inspiring me to continue my studies and obtaining a masters in Conservation and Biodiversity in the UK.

Research Projects

Identifying and Prioritizing Habitat for Pheasant Management