It is wholly due to the generosity of the James Pantyfedwen Trust that I was able to pursue a Masters degree in ‘Island Biodiversity and Conservation’ based at Jersey island through the University of Exeter and Jersey International Centre of Advances Studies (JICAS).
As a result of my graduate studies, I have homed in on my research interests and developed the analytical and research skills crucial for becoming a wildlife biologist. The lecturers who lead my modules were experts on island conservation and ecology from around the world- their passion and breadth of knowledge of their respective subjects was incredibly inspiring and enlightening. Getting to know the Channel Island of Jersey was also fantastic. It was truly enlightening to know that islands on a global scale, from Mauritius to Jersey, face many of the same threats and challenges, as climate change and land-use change continue to unfold and threaten biodiversity.
During my Masters programme, I was awarded a research fellowship which enabled me to conduct my research at the Irvine Ranch Conservancy in Southern California, where I conducted research that investigated the effects of wildfire on bats in a threatened ecosystem. My thesis is in the process of being prepared as a peer-reviewed scientific paper, which may be used to better inform land-management practices and policies to conserve Southern California’s threatened biodiversity.
Having conducted this Masters, I feel far more equipped to enter the world of conservation biology and have since gained employed as a wildlife researcher, working for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, where I am researching the foraging and roosting ecology of the endangered Florida Bonneted Bat in the swamps of Southern Florida.
In the future, I aspire to continue my line of research investigating the effects of anthropogenic activities on bat populations by conducting a PhD. The wonderful opportunities I have had because of this Masters and the employment I have since gained would not have been possible without the support of the James Pantyfedwen Trust. Thank you ever so much for making my dreams become a reality.