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PhD Candidate in Wildlife Biology, University of Salford

David O’Brien is conservationist who combines research, evidence sharing and habitat management. His work touches on a wide range of themes including biodiversity indicators, urban ecosystems, conservation of genetic diversity and citizen science.

David has worked for NatureScot (formerly Scottish Natural Heritage), the public body responsible for Scotland's natural heritage, in number of roles since 2004. Prior to this, he was Corporate Environmental Manager for an international logistics company. He is a member of the GEO-BON Genetic Composition Working Group and the IUCN Amphibian Assisted Reproductive Techniques and Biobanking Working Group. David is also a Research Associate of the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh.

He is currently working towards a PhD at the University of Salford titled “Conservation of reptiles and amphibians in Scotland: local interventions in support of globally threatened fauna”. This includes studying potential amphibian habitats in green infrastructure, the status and conservation of a range-edge population of the great crested newt, and the interaction between reptiles and windfarms.

David’s passion is amphibians and reptiles, an interest he has had since early childhood. As well as studying in Scotland, he has been collaborating with colleagues in the Pyrenees looking at high mountain amphibians since 2013.


  • –present
    Postgraduate Researcher in Wildlife Biology, University of Salford


  • 2010 
    University of Bath, MSc (Distinction) Integrated Environmental Management