About ABC - Project Team

Dr Emma Stone - Founder/DIRECTOR

Emma stone

ABC and the umbrella charity Conservation Research Africa (www.conservationresearchafrica.org) was founded by Dr Emma Stone. Emma is an Honorary Research Fellow at Cardiff University and the Unviersity Bristol UK, and is based in Malawi directing all our programmes. Emma has worked in Africa since 1998 when she conducted biodviersity research for three years in the remote Kafue National Park, Zambia, and then worked in a wildlife centre managing community education and outreach projects. Emma’s research focus is applied conservation biology with a strong emphasis on evidence based conservation, in particular human-wildlife conflict management, mitigating anthropogenic impacts on the environment, and assessing patterns and drivers of diversity and abundance. Emma has been conducting bat research in Africa (particularly Zambia, Malawi and South Africa) since 1998 and conducted her PhD research in the Bat Ecology and Bioacoustics Lab at the University of Bristol, UK on the impact of development on bats with a focus on the ecological impacts of artificial lighting. Emma developed a novel field-based experimental approach which demonstrated the first evidence of negative impacts of high pressure sodium and LED street-lights on bats (Stone et al. 2009,Current Biology; Stone et al. 2012, Global Change Biology). Emma has secured over £1.5million in research grants since 2005 and published (464 citations, H-Index 7) in high impact journals including Current Biology (impact factor 10.45, Stone et al. 2009) and Global Change Biology (impact factor 6.9, Stone et al. 2012) and Proceedings of the Royal Society B (impact factor 6.3, Stone et al. 2015). Read more about Emma's research here.

Contact Emma: emma@conservationresearchafrica.org


Gareth Jones is Professor of Biological Sciences at the University of Bristol, U.K. Gareth received his BSc (Hons) from the University of London before completing a PhD on the behavioural ecology of birds at the University of Stirling, moving to Bristol as Royal Society University Research Fellow. Gareth is world renowned for his research on bats and bioacoustics. RachelHe has led research on the discovery of a new, abundant species of European bat, the first mammal species to be described from Britain in recent years; and was involved in the discovery of 3 further cryptic species of bat. Other achievements of note include: driving research on how cryptic species contribute to bat biodiversity worldwide; elucidating unusual social organisation (matrilineal structure and intra-lineage polygyny) in bats; determining when echolocation is ineffective for bats, and elucidating how moths respond to echolocation calls of bats; pioneering methods for the acoustic identification of bats and the development of acoustic monitoring; research on potential adverse effects of street lighting on bats; using presence-only modelling to predict bat distributions and to predict responses under climate change scenarios; producing some of the first papers using molecular methods to identify insect prey eaten by bats and building capacity for  bat research in China and India, leading to research on genes involved in vocalization and hearing in echolocation. Gareth has supervised over 40 PhD students to completion, many of whom are academics in universities throughout the world, and is author of more than 270 peer-reviewed articles. He is now primarily interested in conservation biology, and works on a wide variety of taxa.



Oli graduated from Leeds University with an MEng in Automotive Engineering. Since then Oli worked for Huddersfield University conducting research into turbochargers and powertrain. Oli has had several publications at major conferences such as the SAE world congress and FISITA. He has worked for 8 years in the automotive sector as a design engineer, project manager and lead engineer. This has included being responsible for large scale development projects. This extensive experience in project management means that Oli has a lot to offer CRA in the day to day running of the research projects, planning and creating overall strategy.




Matt graduated with a BSc in Animal Conservation and Biodiversity in 2014 from the University of Greenwich. Matt has considerable experience in wildlife ecology and research in the UK and Africa, including Research Associate studying the behavioural ecology of Edible dormice to inform conflict mitigation and field coordinator at a Bush Camp in South Africa. Matt is very passionate about field research, has a great scientific brain and brings a lot of enthusiasm and experience to the ABC team. Matt is our longest serving ABC staff member having joined us in 2015 and has developed a high level of expertise in African bats. Matt is currently pursuing his MRes research on human bat conflict in Malawi with ABC and Cardiff Unviersity. He has been awared a research grant from Bat Conservation International and his project is also supported by ABC through volunteer donations. Matt is a vital member of team, heading up all our research projects across our sites.

Contact Matt: matt@africanbatconservation.org


RACHEL MIDGLEY - Urban Bat Research Assistant



Rachel graduated from the University of Sheffield with a BSc (Hons) degree in Zoology. She has worked as a professional ecologist in the UK for over 8 years, including as a local authority ecologist for City of York Council, and more recently as a consultant ecologist for MAB Environment and Ecology Ltd in North Yorkshire. Rachel has many years experience of conducting bat activity surveys and roost surveys. She has also volunteered for the North Yorkshire Bat Group, and for the Bat Conservation Trust UK as a voluntary Bat Roost Visitor.



ANDREW MCVINNISH- Urban BAT research assistantKaren

Andrew graduated from Griffith University in 2016 with a BSc (Hons) in ecology and conservation biology. His thesis explored the impacts that roadways have on microbat using echolocation calls to measure changes in bat activity and diversity within the road effect zone. Previously Andrew has worked in environmental advisory roles in construction projects in Australia. He has since decided to continue studying urban ecology and join ABC’s urban research program based in Lilongwe to further explore how bats are being impacted by urbanisation.


THomas Kitching - research assistant- VMWR


Tom recently graduated with distinction from the University of Leeds with an MRes in Biodiversity and Conservation. His final thesis focussed on modelling geographical distributions of Mexican bats in the Baja California peninsula; relating these to landscape-scale environmental gradients and vegetation variables. Other past research topics include: ranging behaviour of rehabilitated Belizean Howler monkeys in neo-tropical forests of Central America, seasonal habitat preferences of South African ungulates in bushveld habitat, and nest predation of White-backed vultures in savannah habitat. Tom is excited to work with ABC in Malawi and experience working with African bat species first-hand. Tom is coordinating our research at our research camp in Vwaza Marsh Wildlife Reserve.



Karen holds a BSc (Hons) in Environmental and Ecological Sciences and an MSc with Distinction in Biodiversity and Conservation from Trinity College, Dublin. She carried out her BSc and MSc theses on insect ecology, conservation and biocontrol in Ireland. Since graduating, she has worked as a research entomologist for Maynooth University, University College Dublin, and Trinity College Dublin. She has also worked on biodiversity and conservation policy for the National Trust in Ireland, and in education and outreach for the Irish Wildlife Trust. In Africa, Karen conducted insect surveys of Lapalala and Welgevonden Game Reserves in South Africa. She then went on to work as a lecturer in entomology and surveying techniques in Balule Game Reserve in the Kruger National Park, South Africa, as well as conducting her own independent research into the diversity of insects in farmland in southern Uganda. Karen is excited to join ABC as the entomologist for the project, and begin research on the conservation and ecology of the insects of Malawi.


Godwin Zimba - Community Engagement Officer

Site: Roaming - Lilongwe, Liwonde, Nyika and Kasungu


Godwin has a BSc from the University of Malawi, Bunda College and a Post Graduate Diploma in Information Technology and years of experience in community data surveys and outreach both and agroforestry based. Godwin has previously worked for the Centre for Environmental Policy and Advocacy and CRD consultancy conducting research and as a Teacher in science. Godwin is passionate about wildlife and environmental conservation. Godwin will be carrying out engagement and data collection around the national parks where ABC and CRM work; Liwonde, Nyika and Kasungu.



Siobhan gilkes - science communication and media manager


Siobhan has spent 10 years working in the international development sector for NGO's such as Save the Children and the Red Cross, specialising in providing research on donors, finding new sources of funding and most recently managing a team of fundraising researchers. She has a passion for Africa and its wildlife and has been on many trips to the continent and is using her fundraising skills to help CRA and ABC progress its exciting work in Malawi.




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