Erika Lau has a strong interest in the intersection of human activities and the natural world.
With a background in ecology and conservation, Erika has developed a unique perspective on the social, economic, and cultural factors that contribute to these issues. She believes that the fusion of methods from separate disciplines is vital in addressing complex socio-ecological issues and that solving these issues must involve the engagement and empowerment of human communities.
Her master's research exemplifies her interdisciplinary approach to conservation. Her first project involved using the MaxEnt software to predict suitable sites for pine marten reintroduction in Great Britain. This study provided a novel approach to building species distribution models, encouraging the inclusion of data from a species' entire niche rather than its regional niche. She employed similar techniques during her second project, which involved integrating local ecological knowledge from a community survey with spatial analyses to inform Chinese alligator conservation in rural Anhui, China.
Currently, Erika assists in various conservation works on the Hainan Gibbon Project, ensuring the persistence and longevity of the world's rarest primate. Her role includes running population viability analyses, building habitat suitability models, and contributing to the drafting of manuscripts for scientific journals.
Erika is deeply passionate about combining her enthusiasm for the environment with her belief in the transformative power of compelling storytelling. With more than ten years of experience behind her camera, she captures photographs that convey powerful stories and evoke emotions in viewers. Several of her photographs have been showcased in exhibitions and cafes around the world. Recently, her photograph featuring a long-tailed macaque gripping a plastic lid to demonstrate the detrimental effects of plastic pollution on local wildlife achieved recognition by reaching the final round of the esteemed Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition hosted by the Natural History Museum in London. Her portfolio can be found on her website.
- 2022-present: Postgraduate Research Assistant, Institute of Zoology
- 2021-2022: Intern, IUCN SSC Small Mammal Specialist Group
- 2020-2021: MRes, Ecology, Evolution and Conservation, Imperial College London
- 2016-2020: BSc (Hons), Biological Sciences (Ecology), University of Edinburgh