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 Thomas Collins

Thomas Collins

 Environment and Sustainability Institute 


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


I am following my scientific curiosity as a mature student interested in the world's future both biologically and socially. I now explore these aspects through multiple projects at the University of Exeter (2017-2021). Whilst at the university, I have gained skills in computer programming (R) and geographic information systems that have enabled me to explore, analyse, display, and communicate a range of studies using the scientific method (including wildlife diseases; insect ecology; conservation biology; population ecology; behavioural ecology; life-history evolution; and human behavioural ecology). My stay at the university has culminated in two dissertations that focussed particularly on cognitive ecology, animal movement, and sociality. Going forward, I am excited to contribute to discussions around human sociality and the conservation of environments, and particularly in an urban context. I am interested in the architecture of public green space and community projects. I have an increasing interest in human health and the well-being that humans derive from nature


Alongside my studies, I have completed various consultancy positions for research projects and research groups whilst at Exeter University (Penryn, Cornwall; 2017-2021): I have completed three projects with Professor Andy Russell (Chestnut-Crowned Babbler Research Project; 2017-2020); I have also been a member of the Socialis Research Group (2019-2021) working specifically within the Mongoose Research Project and the Termite Research Project – both under Professor Mike Cant and Doctor Faye Thompson. These projects required a range of duties and responsibilities including data manipulation, data input, animal husbandry, laboratory, and video coding. - I was a consultant researcher for the Newquay Orchards Community Project where I was required to deliver a proposal on the enabling of cross-communication between community social groups using a “green hub”. This project was created to alleviate social deprivation and poverty by incorporating ecological and conservation biological models into communities. - I started my career in gardening and land management where, for 7 years, I would co-run a thriving horticultural and landscaping business that held many long- and short-term projects and where I managed and employed a horticultural apprentice.


Research interests

For my second dissertation (master’s-level; 2021), I delivered a desk-based and data-focused project on the spatial influences of intergroup conflict in banded mongoose. I became proficient at using continuous-time movement modelling (CTMM) in conjunction with large datasets of mongoose life-history data. I made home ranges of mongoose groups and analysed the locations of distinct behaviours within these home ranges. This allowed me to ultimately question whether there are within-group influences upon between-group movements in mongooses. I hope to publish this work in a journal soon. - For my first dissertation (degree-level; 2020), I delivered a field-based analysis that focussed on the cognitive ecology of herring gulls but whilst considering the important consequences for community relevance in terms of human-wildlife conflict in an increasingly urbanized world. The project was of such high standard that it was integrated with a peer-reviewed scientific publication (Journal of Animal Behaviour) and forms one part of a body of evidence being amassed on herring gull cognition that has received much media attention. - I have attended international and overseas field research and gained experience in the Scilly Isles (residential; 2019), the Azores archipelago (residential; 2020), and Hong Kong (non-residential; 2021). These field courses were often focused on marine-based ecosystems and required the flexibility of learning many new concepts. A highlight was my visit to Flores (Azorean Island and UNESCO designated biosphere). I added to discussions that centred around island conservation, island biogeography, invasive species, and the cultural significance of ecotourism. I undertook hands-on field-based projects working alongside the staff from the University of the Azores as well as local personnel who were directly affected by local conservation projects.


Supervision / Group

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