Henry Hakkinen


I work primarily with species distribution models, trying to understand species biogeography on a changing planet. I'm interested in range shifts caused by climate change, the process of naturalisation in introduced species, plant physiology and multi-taxonomic trends. The ability to build consistent predictions for species that are shifting range, either naturally or due to human introductions, is crucial for future conservation planning.


The increasing availability of large datasets means that these key ecological questions can be tested on a global and multi-species level. My current work uses climatic and non-climatic data to investigate what drives range and niche shifts over time, and building predictions to test in the field.

Before starting my PhD, I did my Bsc in Zoology  at the University of Durham, followed by an MRes in Ecology. I Worked for two years in Prague as a Network administrator before moving to Cornwall.

Jamie Cranston


There are some 1,800 species living in the UK that have been introduced by humans from elsewhere. Some of these non-native species are classed as “invasive”, meaning they cause significant damage to native ecosystems. However, another kind of non-native species is emerging: species that are colonising the UK without human assistance (“natural colonists”).


My PhD  aims to evaluate the threat posed by natural colonists, using data from the national biodiversity network and a range of modelling approaches. I will also be considering their management in the context of the wider conservation status of these species.  My thesis will also investigate relevant actors’ perception of and readiness for this potential problem using a social science methodology.

Before starting on this project I did an MSc in Biodiversity, Conservation and Management at the University of Oxford, following straight on from my undergraduate in Zoology at the university of Cambridge

Jen Lewis


Species range shifts can occur naturally, or as a result of anthropogenic climate change. This can bring potential new target species for UK fisheries and aquaculture, but it is important to understand effects these species have on local ecosystems. The gilthead bream Sparus aurata is one of the most sought after warm-temperate marine fish species in Europe, and the rise of sea surface water temperature is thought to be responsible for an apparent range expansion of gilthead bream into the English Channel and Celtic Sea. With further climate warming this species is likely to expand its range further along the British coast.


Currently little is known about the S. aurata population in the UK but adult fish are caught in the spring/summer months, and juveniles have been observed in recent years. I am using a range of techniques to explore the population’s ecology and distribution at the current northern limit of its range. These include: otolith microchemistry and acoustic tags to investigate estuary use and site fidelity; stable isotope analysis to investigate temporal and spatial diet patterns; and species distribution modelling to explore mechanisms behind the range expansion. The findings will be of importance to and benefit both commercial and recreational fisheries, the related coastal tourism sector and conservationists managing the long term sustainability of inshore fisheries.


Prior to starting a PhD I worked as a marine adviser to government, advising on new conservation designations, marine monitoring and sustainable development.

Shari Mang


My PhD focuses on the Rungan, an unstudied mosaic forest in Central Kalimantan, Indonesia (Borneo). Until recently, this area was thought to have little ecological or conservation value; however, the Borneo Nature Foundation found that it contains the largest remaining unprotected orangutan population, as well as numerous other species of conservation concern. My work aims to assess the Rungan’s mammal biodiversity and understand the relationship between landscape heterogeneity and mammal diversity. As well, I will be identifying and mapping the forest’s sub-habitats, modelling the effects of land use change, and classifying areas of ecological and conservation importance. This work is done in conjunction with the Borneo Nature Foundation with the hopes of establishing a protected area to prevent the Rungan’s conversion to commercial plantation concessions.


Prior to starting my PhD, I did my BSc in Environmental Sciences with a Minor in Biology at the University of British Columbia (UBC) (Canada). Following this, I worked as a project coordinator in UBC’s Faculty of Forestry and as a research assistant on projects in Panama and Malaysia. I finished my MSc in Applied Ecology at the University of Exeter in August 2017.

Christophe Patterson

Christophe Patterson

As the global climate changes, many species have seen their ranges expand towards the poles. This is a worry for agriculture, as novel pests move into areas they have not previously effected while conservationists hope that species at risk of losing habitat due to climate change will be able to move into novel areas, avoiding range reduction and potential extinction. My research, therefore, aims to help understand the process of colonisation and range expansion in a changing world.

Over the next two years, I will be working on a Master by Research with my fieldwork in Brittany funded by the Genetics Society. Specifically, my research focuses on a species of hermit crab, C. erythropus, that has recently colonised the UK. I’m aiming to understand the genetic structure of the European population and where the UK’s individuals fit into it.

Prior to my MbyRes, I studied a BSc in Evolutionary Biology here at the University of Exeter’s Penryn Campus.

Neha Awasthi

Most knowledge of large herbivore ecology in India is derived from Savannah habitat of Africa. Tropical forest of India sustains species rich and abundant ungulate assemblages without clear evidence of competition for resources. Kanha Tiger Reserve in India is known for its long history of annual management fire practices, past village’s relocation, invasion and multi-predator system.


My PhD aims to study mechanisms of coexistence between sympatric ungulates and shed further insight on how different ungulate species partition resources. I am interested in using species distribution models to help me answer my research questions on co-occurrence pattern of ungulates and the factors influencing them. 


Hence, I am learning tools and techniques in Exeter University, Penryn Campus with Dr. Regan Early and her research group. 

Prior to starting my PhD, I did my masters in Zoology from India. I am currently engaged as Senior Research Fellow in long term monitoring project of Tigers from Wildlife Institute of India. I also worked with organisations such as Greenpeace International and Centre for Science and Environment.







Henry Hakkinen

PhD - Climate Opportunists a threat to UK Biodiversity & Ecosystems

PhD - Spatial dynamics of range expanding gilthead bream in UK inshore waters

PhD - Assessment of the relationship between landscape-scale habitat diversity and mammal diversity to identify areas of conservation priority and predict the consequences of land-use change on biodiversity.

PhD - Unexplained limits on species distributions. What do they mean for conservation?

PhD - Wher did the Uk pop

MRes - Where did the UK population of C. erythropus come from?

Visting Studetn

Visiting PhD Student - Joint SDMs of Indian Forest Ungulates

© 2017 by James Cranston. Proudly created with Wix.com