About ABC - Project Team

Dr Emma Stone - Founder/DIRECTOR

Emma stone

ABC and the umbrella charity Conservation Research Africa (www.conservationresearchafrica.org) were founded by Dr Emma Stone. Emma is a Lecturer in Environmental Biology at the University of the West of England, and Honorary Research Fellow at Cardiff University and the University Bristol UK, and directs 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.



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


jo hawker - Urban BAT research assistantKaren

Jo graduated with a BSc (Hons) degree in Biological Sciences from Durham University in 2017 and focussed her study on conservation biology. Her literature review explored the effects of climate change on human-wildlife conflicts and how this may be managed. She has completed additional research projects on human disturbance in protected areas and pest control in agriculture in the developing world. Since graduating, Jo has worked as a Research and Administration intern for a forest certification scheme in the UK completing research projects and collecting baseline data on a range of themes

susan eshelmen - research assistant- VMWR


Susan graduated with distinction from Trinity College Dublin (TCD) with a MSc in Biodiversity and Conservation. She conducted research for her dissertation at Welgevonden Private Game Reserve in South Africa, studying the interactions between herbivores and vegetation structure around nutrient hotspots. Since graduating from TCD, Susan worked for Operation Wallacea in the Eastern Cape, assisting with their elephant and fynbos projects. Before her masters, Susan received a BSc in Biology-Ecology, Evolution, and Behaviour from the University of Texas at Austin.  During her undergraduate career, Susan also studied abroad in Tanzania, conducting a variety of flora and fauna surveys in several of Tanzania’s National Parks.




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.


madalitso mwaungulu Mada- Community Engagement Officer

Site: Lilongwe Research Camp

Madalitso (Mada) is a graduate from the Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (LUANAR-Bunda Campus) where he earned a degree in Environmental Science. For his dissertation, Mada studied bat habitat preferences, with a focus on the ecosystem services bats provide to Malawian agro-ecosystems. Prior to this Mada volunteered with ABC for a few months. Mada believes that not much attention is given to bats and the ecosystem services they provide to Malawi, hence his involvement with ABC to help bring more information to the Malawian population about bats. Mada has vast experience in community engagement through his participation in various community outreach programs, most notably through his involvement in the fight against Child, Early and Forced Marriages (CEFM) as well as Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) for young people in the SADC region. Mada also holds a certificate in Civic Leadership from the University of South Africa – School of Business Leadership (UNISA SBL) in Pretoria. Mada will be carrying out engagement and data collection around the field sites where ABC and CRM work; Vwaza, Lilongwe, Nyika, and Kasungu.


LEWIS LAKUdzala - MRes student


Lewis began his journey by studying Wildlife Biology at Manchester Metropolitan University. He graduated in 2016 and is now studying his Masters Degree. In September 2018 he started his MRes in Advanced Biological Sciences with a focus on Biodiversity, Ecology and Environmental Services at  the University of Southampton. His project will assess the effects of urbanisation on bat diversity and community composition in Malawi.





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