Introducing myself and some projects you may want to check out

Just a quick post to introduce myself and why you should check out some of the projects I work on.

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My name's Alec, I'm a postdoctoral research associate working in the David Attenborough Building, University of Cambridge Conservation Research Institute (UCCRI) and the Cambridge Conservation Initiative (CCI). I know so many acronyms... 

My research is all focused on trying to make conservation more evidence-based and much of my PhD was on exploring the challenges that we face in doing that. I work on a project called Conservation Evidence (www.conservationevidence.com) which is one synthesis group working to collate and summarise the evidence on what works to conserve species and habitats. It's growing all the time and focuses on summarising scientific studies that test different conservation actions (interventions) - it's a great tool to see whether actions are supported by scientific evidence, as well as where we lack evidence and need more studies. Do check it out and share it around your networks!

Photo of Conservation Evidence website

My current work on synthesising and disseminating the evidence on invasive species management at BioRISC (Biosecurity Research Initiative at St Catherine's) also focuses on the metadataset project (www.metadataset.com). It's a prototype tool at the moment, but its aim is to make meta-analyses more interactive and customised to the local decision context of different decision-makers - i.e., filtering the evidence so you get a relevant answer that's specific to your local question, rather than generic guidance. 

Photo of metadataset website

Another tool I've worked on co-designing with conservation practitioners is called the Evidence-to-Decision tool (https://www.evidence2decisiontool.com/shiny/evidence2decisiontool/). It aims to guide practitioners through making transparent and documented evidence-based decisions through combining evidence from diverse sources. It prints out a customised report (using information that users fill in that are relevant to their decision context), which we hope can be used to store and document how and why decisions have been made (i.e., the logic, evidence, and reasoning), share best practice, and help practitioners revisit past decisions and undertake adaptive management. It's a working prototype and template that has been tested by over 10 conservation organisations - mostly in the UK and some international NGOs - and I hope it can make a difference to how decisions are made in conservation.

Photo of Evidence-to-Decision tool website

If you have any questions about any of this work, do get in touch with me or the Conservation Evidence project. Really pleased to be joining such an interesting community and connecting with you all soon.

Alec Christie

Postdoctoral research associate, University of Cambridge, BioRISC (Biosecurity Research Initiative at St Catherine's)

Background: I studied at the University of St Andrews for my BSc Hons in Marine Biology from 2013-2017. During my time I trained and helped conduct research on seals at the SMRU/SOI, cetaceans in Turkey with DMAD, and studied abroad at James Cook University, Australia, undertaking research on coral reefs with Dr Maria Dornelas and Professor Sean Connelly. I was also lucky enough to study polar ecology, including a field course to the Western Antarctic Peninsula in March 2017. I then applied for a PhD project advertised through the Cambridge ESS DTP and joined the Conservation Evidence group in the UCCRI. I completed my PhD in Zoology (Determining the biases and consistences in the evidence for conservation) in March 2021 as a member of King’s College and the University of Cambridge Conservation Research Institute (UCCRI) in the Cambridge Conservation Initiative (CCI). 

I am very interested in communicating science and conservation issues to the public and particularly interested in becoming a wildlife television presenter. In my spare time I am also an amateur wildlife photographer, love getting outdoors and playing all sorts of sports when I can.

Current role: I am a Research Associate in the Department of Zoology and the Biosecurity Research Initiative at St Catherine’s (BioRISC) College. My research focuses on applying evidence-based principles from medicine to biodiversity conservation via the Conservation Evidence project. In particular, my work involves co-developing decision support tools with conservationists working to conserve species and provide them with relevant evidence-based recommendations. Currently, I am working on a project to help report tests of invasive species management interventions via an online app and promote more testing of conservation interventions. 

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Comments

Wow Alec, very interesting work, congratulations.

I fully agree on the power of these tools to generate effective conservation processes not only in terms of the direct impact we can have on the species or ecosystem where we work, but also in terms of the optimization of resources that will always be a limiting factor.

Best of luck!

Go to the profile of Alec Christie
5 months ago

Many thanks!

Go to the profile of Philip Martin
5 months ago

Hey Alec, glad to see you managed to get on here! I should write my own intro...

Go to the profile of Alec Christie
5 months ago

Haha yes just needed my account to be activated!

Go to the profile of Thirza Loffeld
5 months ago

A warm welcome to the community Alec and thanks for sharing these useful resources!