Holly O'Donnell

Research Interests

My pronouns are she/her

My research interests are landscape ecology and biodiversity conservation of large mammals, particularly felids and canids. The objective of my DPhil research is to understand the recovery of mammalian biodiversity in landscapes impacted by gold mining, and to inform ongoing ecological restoration. To meet this objective, I will conduct original research into patterns of land use by medium- and large-bodied mammals in naturally recovering and reforested landscapes degraded by different types of gold mining, and the implications of those patterns for the key process of seed dispersal. Understanding mammal populations in and around mining areas, particularly those which provide ecosystem services such as seed dispersal, will help us to assess the potential role of these mammals in reforestation. Wide-ranging carnivores may play an important role in the recovery of degraded and fragmented areas, such as abandoned gold mines, and so I will explore the role of carnivores as secondary seed dispersers, in particular the jaguar (Panthera onca), puma (Puma concolor), and ocelot (Leopardus pardalis). My fieldwork will take place in the Madre de Dios region of southeastern Peruvian Amazon. This research will inform reforestation management and strategies for optimising reforestation which can be applied more broadly to tropical forests. Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you would like to discuss my research or potential synergies and collaborations.