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Dr Sahran Higgins

Dr Sahran Higgins

Industrial Impact Fellow: Flood Resilience and Biodiversity

 Environment and Sustainability Institute 1.03


Environment and Sustainability Institute, University of Exeter, Penryn Campus, Penryn, Cornwall, TR10 9FE, UK



Broadly, I’m a landscape ecologist working at the intersection of nature and humans. My interests in this area are diverse but interlinked and are reflected in my research to date: spanning the evolutionary and microbial to spatial and temporal patterns at the landscape scale. I currenlty work on a multi-partner, multi-sector project with Kevin Gaston, Karen Anderson and Richard Brazier. This nature recovery project spans the research – practitioner gap to support the restoration of key priority habitats and improve biodiversity and community access to nature through the development and delivery of a management plan. We use remote sensing and other automated technology to monitor biodiversity change. I will be developing this work further to explore how remote sensing applications can be utilised to determine natural capital baselines at sites undergoing shifts in land management to support biodiversity gains. I am particularly interested in rewilding, nature recovery and how people interact with these; freshwater ecology and emerging methods for monitoring biodiversity (e.g. eDNA; acoustic monitoring of 'soundscapes').  

I also work with Prof Will Gaze's group exploring how landscape factors (e.g land cover, catchment characteristics ; weather; diffuse and point source pollution) impact the risk of exposure to antimicrobial resistance exposure at UK coasts. This builds on previous research on the landscape and catchment level factors contributing to the risk of human exposure to antibiotic resistant bacteria in coastal waters of Hong Kong. This was supported by the Environment, Sustainability and Resilience (ENSURE) joint research centre, between Exeter and Chinese University of Hong Kong for applied interdisciplinary research.

Previous Research: I hold a PhD in Evolutionary Ecology (University of Exeter) and have a background in the public sector freshwater ecology and water quality . I have worked on several large, pan-European projects with the European Centre for Environment and Human Health, University of Exeter Medical School. This research focussed on how species rich natural spaces interact with human health and in understanding the nexus between ecosystem services, climate change and health. 


PhD Evolutionary Ecology (University of Exeter)

BSc (Hons) Ecology (1st Class)

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