Socioeconomic correlates of the planet’s key ecosystem services
July 22, 2015
by Sophie Watts
Part of the EPSRC Vacation Bursaries Scheme 2015
Student name: Sophie Watts
Student degree course: BSc Biology
Year of study: 3
Supervisor: Dr Simon Willcock, Dr Kelvin Peh and Dr Marije Schaafsma
Vacation Bursary Research project title: Socioeconomic correlates of the planet’s key ecosystem services
I have studied two years of Biology at Southampton and have completed placement with the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT) using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and carrying out wildlife conservation fieldwork. My main passion lies within the conservation and environment branches of Biology, and this internship will involve a level of data handling and analysis above and beyond anything I have done before, while still being relevant to my personal interests.
Tell us about your specific research project: The overall research project is linked with four on-going projects (ARIES, ASSETS, TESSA and WISER) that aims to investigate the links between health, development and ecosystem services on a global scale. In order to achieve these aims there are three subprojects that I am working on:
- Ecosystem Services and Development
- Ecosystem Services and Health
- Socioeconomic correlates of non-timber forest product utilisation
Within each subproject there is an element of data handling followed by analysis using software such as ArcGIS, Microsoft Access and R, the latter two I have not used before and I am keen to develop these as skills. Within this project there is an opportunity for me to assist in report writing which would improve my scientific writing and be useful for future research reports including but not limited to my third year dissertation.
Describe any future plans regarding on-going study/postgraduate research connected to your Vacation Bursary project:
This project has highlighted to me the importance of effective data management systems and in the next academic year I will study the Electronics and Computer Science (ECS) module COMP1204: Data Management to improve my skills in this area. It has always been my intention to continue to postgraduate study and this project has increased not only the appeal but also the likelihood of succeeding in a competitive research environment.