James Pantefedwyn Foundation

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Alexis Alders

A grant from the James Pantyfedwen Foundation allowed me to study a MSc in Ecological Applications at Imperial College London. I studied a range of topics including environmental legislation and protected species, agricultural landscapes, forestry, environmental monitoring, and methods of statistical analysis.  I also gained a wide range of field experience, including monitoring UK priority species and surveying local habitats to establish wildlife corridors. 

My research project investigated the use of a new method to detect traces of Great Crested Newt DNA in water samples. Great Crested Newts are a protected species in the UK, and require monitoring, which can be time consuming and costly. Current methods of detecting DNA in environmental samples are only slightly less expensive and lengthy as samples have to be analysed in a lab. This new method of detecting Great Crested Newt DNA may allow rapid detection at a relatively lower cost, which would allow better monitoring of Great Crested Newts. I conducted preliminary testing, which is now being taken forward to develop this method further. 

I have recently moved back to Wales and hope to put the skills and knowledge I have gained to use in a job in the environment sector here.