Mr Thomas Foxley

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About me

My interests are in applied research that has practical conservation outcomes. I’ve been working in bat conservation since 2011, as a field assistant for the University of Bristol, as a consultant ecologist in the UK and on a big conservation project in southern Belize ( I started my PhD in the UWE bat lab in January 2020, part-funded by Natural England.

The goal of my PhD is to provide Natural England with regional-level data on important habitat and connectivity features for horseshoe bats in Somerset. To do this I’ll be building spatial models and ground-truthing them with radio-tracking and acoustic work. My results will be used to develop a regional spatial conservation strategy for horseshoes in Somerset and to trial a new strategic framework for protecting bats.

Bats receive a lot of protection through the planning system; current frameworks that protect bats have limited efficacy because they focus at site-level and don’t have a strategic, regional overview. By taking a landscape-level approach, the outcome of the project will be more effective regulatory frameworks that better protect bats and the habitat networks they depend on.

I’m very excited to be undertaking this PhD as there is scope for it to have a big impact on bat conservation in England.


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