Brief Curriculum Vitae
- 2017 - present: PhD Candidate on the London NERC DTP with the Institute of Zoology and UCL Anthropology.
- 2015 - 2017: Postgraduate Research Assistant in the Indicators and Assessment Unit, Institute of Zoology.
- 2015: Research intern for the Living Planet Index, Indicators and Assessment Unit, Institute of Zoology.
- 2013 - 2014: MSc in Biodiversity, Conservation and Management, School of Geography and the Environment, University of Oxford.
- 2012: BSc Honours in Zoology, University of Cape Town, South Africa.
- 2009 - 2011: BSc in Ecology and Environmental and Geographical Science, University of Cape Town.
I am interested in understanding the human dimensions inherent in all biodiversity conservation: how people interact with the ecosystems in which they live, and how conservation interventions and decisions affect both the environments and species being targeted, and the people depending on them.
In my PhD I aim to investigate the impacts that high-level conservation decisions, in this case trophy hunting bans, can have on the ecosystems and societies in which they are implemented. Conservation in southern Africa has involved a combination of preservation (e.g. strict protected areas) and sustainable-use approaches (e.g. areas that allow sustainable use of natural resources) for many decades. Many governments, private land-owners and communities rely on the different forms of tourism that these different approaches bring to cover some of the costs that come with conservation. Carefully managed trophy hunting is a prominent component of sustainable-use and restrictions on it can limit sustainable-use approaches to conservation. Understanding the impacts that national trophy hunting bans or international bans on the imports of certain species’ trophies can have, e.g. the 2014 hunting moratorium in Botswana or the U.S. ban on importing elephant trophies from Zimbabwe and Zambia, is important to ensure that such decisions do not end up with unintended consequences. I aim to explore some of the impacts such bans can have on wildlife populations, land use and local communities to help inform policy and decision-making.
Prior to starting my PhD I worked in the Indicators and Assessment unit on the Living Planet Index (LPI) investigating trends in biodiversity over time. The LPI is an indicator of the state of the world’s biological diversity which is based on the abundance trends of vertebrate species from around the world. It is a very useful tool for communicating global biodiversity trends to wide audiences, from the general public to policy-makers, and importantly, can be disaggregated at various levels to provide information at different scales e.g. national biodiversity trends. Starting as a research intern collecting data for the Living Blue Planet Report and analysing the representation of the database, I went on to work as a postgraduate research assistant on various projects using the LPI method and database. I contributed to the development a national species index for Canada; improved the representation of the database for WWF priority places and global forests, which included developing a standardised method for assessing data availability in different areas; and assessed trends in common species.
Muller H., Marconi V, Lumetsberger T., Brown A., Freeman R. and McRae, L. (2016) The Canadian Species Index. Institute of Zoology, Zoological Society of London for Environment Canada. (Internal report).
Díaz Luque J. A., Muller H., et al. (2014) Clinical signs suggestive of mange infestation in a free-ranging maned wolf (Chrysocyon brachyurus) in the moxo savannahs of Beni, Bolivia. Mastozoología Neotropical 21(1):135-138.
Källén J., Muller H., et al. (2012) Seagrass-epifauna relationships in a temperate South African estuary: Interplay between patch-size, within-patch location and algal fouling. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science 13: 213-220.
Dr. Marcus Rowcliffe (Institute of Zoology, Zoological Society of London)
Dr. Emily Woodhouse (Department of Anthropology, University College London)
Dr. Dilys Roe (International Institute of Environment and Development)