Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Helen Taylor - Welcome to Council!

I am a conservation genetics researcher at the University of Otago and I have been working in bird research for the past seven years.  I'm originally from the UK, but working with birds has taken me all over the world, from helping out with breeding bird surveys in Malta to scaling some pretty tall trees in the Amazon, checking out macaw nests in Peru.  I came over to New Zealand to study for my PhD on inbreeding depression in little spotted kiwi (easily the best looking of the kiwi!) at Victoria University of Wellington.  For the past year and a half, I've been working at the University of Otago, studying the effect of inbreeding on male fertility in a variety of New Zealand bird species, both native and introduced.  You'll normally find me either out in the field analysing bird sperm swimming speeds with my custom designed mobile sperm lab, in the lab at Otago running some genetic samples, or in my office trying to make sense of all the data I've collected.  In my spare time, I like to get out into the beautiful New Zealand countryside, hike up mountains, and spot whatever birds I can while I'm up there.  In a previous life, I was a public relations professional, and I maintain an active interest in science communication, advocacy, and outreach.