Nathaniel Dargue

Degree: MRes Ecology and Environment

Nathaniel

As an MRes Ecology and Environment student, Nathaniel’s research project matched perfectly with his passion for wildlife conservation. This year he’s been working with the RSPB and travelling across three upland sites in the UK to study the recent rapid decline of breeding upland waders.

“I undertook my undergraduate degree here in Sheffield in Zoology and in that time I found the teaching staff to be extremely approachable, helpful and engaging. Furthermore, the department’s reputation as world leader in research made it an ideal choice to hone my skills, and further my education to masters level.

“My passion has long been in wildlife conservation, especially birds, with the aim of pursuing a career in research. Consequently, the structure of the MRes Ecology and Environment course really suited my needs, with a strong emphasis on developing key research skills such as grant proposals and data analysis, as well as providing me with experience in undertaking genuine research.

“For my research project, the pastoral staff worked incredibly hard to ensure I was paired with the best possible supervisor to suit my interests. My project involved studying the recent rapid declines of breeding upland waders, a very current and hot topic in wildlife research. The aim was to understand how targeted management interventions had affected food availability for Eurasian curlew. The work was spread across three different upland sites across England and Scotland, and as a result I had to communicate clearly with these sites, and organise my time between them. The project involved specimen collection at the sites, and then identification of the samples in the laboratory afterwards. This mix of field and lab work allowed me access to a breadth of different scientific processes.

“This project also allowed me to work with the RSPB, a reputable organisation undertaking research into wildlife conservation. This provided me with experience of working with an organisation I may work with in the future and will help me to stand out from other conservation research applicants after graduation.

“In the future I aim to undertake a PhD, and this course has provided me with many transferable skills to take forward before moving onto a career in wildlife conservation research with organisations such as the RSPB.”