I have an MSc (Distinction) in Wild Animal Biology from the Royal Veterinary College and Zoological Society London. For my research project I investigated the diet of urban colonies of newly sympatric flying-foxes in New South Wales. My fieldwork was in flying-fox colonies along the Australian east coast, and was followed by extensive lab work to determine diet composition through microscopy of faecal samples. During my Masters I was a keeper volunteer at the London Zoo Reptile House, gaining experience working with a range of reptiles.
I have a first-class honours degree in Biological Sciences from the University of Oxford, where I was at Brasenose College. During my undergraduate degree I carried out an internship at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute. This internship involved an investigation into variation in insect seed predation across a tropical forest rainfall gradient.
Before returning to Oxford to begin the DTP, I conducted a research internship in South Africa, which gave me the opportunity to work with a wide range of species, from pangolin to leopard to freshwater invertebrates, and experience the day-to-day realities of conservation.
I am a member of the IUCN Species Survival Commission Crocodile Specialist Group, and a National Geographic Explorer.
Highest Aggregate Mark on MSc Wild Animal Biology 2015/16
Royal Veterinary College Community Engagement Award
Brasenose College Scholarship for Academic Excellence
Royal Geographical Society Excellence in Geographical Learning Award
My major interests are herpetological and freshwater conservation. The focus of my DPhil is crocodilian conservation, in particular the gharial (Gavialis gangeticus) in Nepal. I am undertaking this research as a member of both Oxford University’s Wildlife Conservation Research Unit, WildCRU, and also the Zoological Society London’s Institute of Zoology.
The aim of my DPhil is to collect spatial and reproductive ecology data on the gharial to inform ongoing conservation efforts on the species. I am working with ZSL (Zoological Society London) to conduct a study on the ecology of gharial in the Rapti and Narayani rivers in Chitwan National Park, Nepal. In particular, we aim to conduct post-release monitoring of gharial that are captive-reared as part of the National Park’s ongoing conservation efforts for the species, and compare this to ecological data we are collecting on free-living gharial. Using telemetry, observational data, camera trapping and local ecological knowledge we aim to build a strong evidence base for future work in Nepal to conserve this Critically Endangered species. I am also interested in the evaluation of head-starting as a conservation and management strategy in crocodilians more generally.
Jeffs, C. T., Kennedy, P., Griffith, P., Gripenberg, S., Markesteijn, L., & Lewis, O. T. (2018). Seed predation by insects across a tropical forest precipitation gradient. Ecological Entomology, 43(6), 813-822.