Meet Your Lecturers: Dr. Mark O’Connell


This is the fifth of Tolga Aktas’s blog posts as Guest Editor…

Previously in the ‘Meet Your Lecturers’ blog series we focused on Dr. Matt Wood, Dr. Liz Hamilton, Prof. Anne Goodenough and Prof. Adam Hart. On this blog post today, we focus our attention towards Dr. Mark O’Connell, who is a lecturer in Practical Ecology here @uglosbioscience. He is well known for his work as an ecologist for the British Antarctic Survey and his research work at the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust in Slimbridge. I asked him a series of questions in an interview and this is what he had to say:

  • What inspired you to get into the field that you are in currently?

I started birding at age 8 and then became a bird ringer in my teenage years. From that early start I developed a passion for fieldwork and conservation that has never left me. I have been ‘lucky’ enough to work on conservation and ecology projects in many different parts of the world (actually it is the result of hard work and persistence not luck).

  • Was your current discipline/field what you always strived to get into, or did you happen to get there by chance?

Nothing is by chance – you have to know what you want, work hard and keep going!

  • What would you consider to be your most ground-breaking work to date?

Conservation science moves forward through a series of small but vital steps – “ground breaking” is for astro-physics, our work is to save the planet and so much more important than mere “ground breaking”.

  • Is there any advice that you would give fellow students/individuals looking to embark into the same field that you’re in?

Know what you want, work hard and keep going!

  • What is the latest research project that you’re focusing on right now?

(1) Factors determining extinction risk in global seabird populations

(2) Causes of changes in avian diversity across the UK

(3) Developing metrics of conservation capacity provision

“I am an ecologist with 30 years of experience in using research to underpin conservation action. I have a particular interest in avian ecology and the use of GIS to understand species distributions (spatial ecology).” Dr. Mark O’Connell

Interested in helping out and obtaining great experience towards your CV’s – please get in touch via my personal website below.

Want to find out more – go to Mark’s personal webpage: https://www.mark4ecology.com/

Stay tuned for future posts giving you an insight to the lecturers that teach you, their backgrounds and what inspired them to stand at the front of the class and teach you all that they know.

Edited by Tolga Aktas, Second-year BSc Animal Biology student

Twitter: @tolgaaktas_

Instagram: @_tolgaaktas_

Facebook: taktaswild

Website: waysofthenaturalworld.wordpress.com

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