My name is Connie and have been working in the animal industry for over 10 years. I am from the South East of England and completed a BSc (hons) degree in Animal Behaviour and welfare in 2015 with Hadlow College. After working as an animal keeper/teacher for several years I decided to take some time to travel. This included a year in Australia where I explored, finding as much of the amazing native wildlife as I could, and worked with both horses and cattle (and people too I suppose). After returning from travel I returned to education in 2019 where I joined Queens University to complete an MSc in Animal Behaviour. Whilst studying for my MSc I worked for the Queens Marine laboratory where I worked on several experiments, including research on microplastics in birds, seed dispersal by fish and plastic in fish. To date, I have only completed research within a captive setting and, my PhD, which will be focusing on the maternal stress effects on fawn survival in fallow deer Dama dama, provides me with the perfect opportunity to study the behaviour of a wild population. This research plays to my passions in both behaviour and welfare, by understanding how mothers exposed to stress may contribute to developmental issues in their offspring. I have been interested in the physiological mechanisms of stress for many years and have recently developed an interest in intrauterine stress research which led me to apply for this project.

I am particularly excited to get stuck into reading up on this area of research, to gain experience working out in the field with my study species and to learn how to analyse stress using hair samples. I intend to develop my science communication skills and to deliver my research in a transferable way to the public. It has been a long-term goal to contribute to scientific literature in a way that can support conservation, and I am hopeful that I will achieve this throughout my PhD.

Day 1 in the field