For the past four years Claire has had the great fortune to study bats in the Western Ghats of India. As a PhD student she has been based between her primary institution – the University of Leeds in the UK – and the National Centre for Biological Sciences in Bangalore, as well as at her field site in Valparai, Tamil Nadu, run by Nature Conservation Foundation. Her primary supervisor has been John Altringham, and my co-supervisor has been Mahesh Sankaran.
Her doctoral work is focused on providing good ecological data to identify bat species at risk from habitat conversion, and assess the conservation value of forest fragments, different plantation types and riparian corridors in an agricultural landscape. She believes that solid science is necessary to undertake evidence-based conservation interventions.
Her work in the region will encourage the use of acoustic monitoring of bats. Her work includes a variety of topics from comparing methodologies for studying bats to habitat suitability modelling and functional diversity analyses, and will all focus on understanding the responses of bats to different habitat types in an agricultural landscape.
She is passionate about proving our understanding of bat ecology through good quality science, and supporting evidence-based conservation. She has been working locally with articles in The Hindu, in local Schools, and posters for a public exhibition on the Western Ghats. She hopes to continue this work after her PhD.
Other than ecology and conservation she enjoys travelling, hiking, rock-climbing, reading and will grab a snorkel mask or scuba tank at every opportunity.