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Helen Greaves


Helen Greaves

Environmental Change Research Centre

Department of Geography
University College London
North-West Wing
Gower Street

Tel: +44 (0)20 7679 0527



Dr Carl Sayer
Dr Helen Bennion
Dr Jan Axmacher




Academic Qualifications

2011-present University College London
PhD Assessing the value of pond management for biodiversity

2006-2007 University of Liverpool
MSc Restoration Ecology of Terrestrial and Aquatic Ecosystems (Distinction)

2003-2005 University of Birmingham in conjunction with the Field Studies Council
Certificate in Biological Recording and Species Identification

2000-2005 University of East Anglia
BSc Ecology with a Year in Europe (First Class Honours) studying at UAM, Spain for one year.
Dissertation: The utilisation of Crassula helmsii by freshwater invertebrates in the UK.


July 2010-Nov 2010 Northwest Biodiversity Mentor, iSpot, Open University

Nov 2007-April 2010 Community Liaison Officer, Merseyside BioBank, Liverpool

Jan 2006-Aug 2006 Centre Manager, The Environment Eduction Centre (maternity cover)
The Wildlife Trust for Lancashire, Manchester and North Merseyside

Voluntary Posts

Sept 2012-present Physical Geography Lunchtime Seminar Coordinator

June2012-present European Pond Conservation Network Steering Committee (student member)

May 2009 - Nov '10 Committee member - West Lancashire Wildlife (Field Trip Officer)

April 2009 - Nov '10 Secretary of Merseyside and West Lancashire Bat Group

Jan 2009 - Nov '10 Secretary of Merseyside and West Lancashire Mammal Group


Helen in unmanged pond

PhD title: 'Assessing the value of pond management for biodiversity conservation'

My research focuses on historical, agricultural marls pits which are numerous in several areas of lowland England. In agricultural regions ponds have the potential to provide hotspots and refugia for aquatic biodiversity. However, at present, the vast majority of historical marl pits are heavily terrestrialised, impacting the pond floral and faunal communities significantly.

Much debate exists regarding the appropriate ways to deal with the issueHelen laboratory analysis of pond terrestrialisation so as to best conserve and promote aquatic diversity across lowland landscapes. However, until now, there has been relatively little monitoring of managed and restored marl pits in this environment.

This research incorporates both a temporal and spatial monitoring programme. The aim of this study is to investigate the following key research questions:

1) How does terrestrialisation and restoration affect the chemical and ecological functioning of ponds?
2) How does pond management and restoration affect biological structure and species diversity?
3) Can pond restoration return lost biological communities?

The results of this PhD research will hopefully contribute significantly to knowledge of freshwater biodiversity conservation and have the potential to influence agri-environment schemes in the UK and across Europe.

A simple hand-out showing the influence of pond restoration on macrophyte, Odonata and amphibian communities in one of the study sites can be downloaded here.










Managed Pond Open Day 2013helen_whitetray_heydon16.jpg

Being publicly-funded through NERC for my research, it is essential to me to return the knowledge gained through my investigations to both the scientific field and the non-specialist. Throughout my funding period I have been involved in a number of outreach events including 'Science Uncovered' at the Natural History Museum, London. I have also organised a public engagement event aimed specifically at individuals working for major organisations in the environment and conservation sector. The purpose of the day was to introduce the concept of pond restoration on agricultural land and to demonstrate that wildlife can flourish in ponds on intensively farmed agricultural land. More information on the event can be found here.


Journal articles Helen Greaves fieldwork

Davies, S.R., Sayer, C.D., Greaves, H., Siriwardena, G.M., Axmacher, J.C. (2016) A new role for pond management in farmland bird conservation. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment, 233:179-191

Sayer, C.D., Shilland, E., Greaves, H., Dawson, B., Patmore, I.R., Emson, E., Alderton, E., Robinson, P., Andrews, K., Axmacher, J.A. & Wiik, E. (2013) Managing British ponds – conservation lessons from a Norfolk farm. British Wildlife, 25(1), 21-28.






Undergraduate Tutoring and Teaching Assistant Posts

2013-2014 Undergraduate Academic Tutor

2012-2014 GEOG2007: Ecological Patterns and Processes: Assistance with field trip and preparation at field site

2012-2014 GEOG1003: Data Aquisition and Interpretation - Reading week field class (Slapton): Running practical field sessions in stream habitat and student support in invertebrate identification during classroom sessions

2011-2013 BIOL1005 – Introduction to Genetics: practical assistance during 'open-book' laboratory and computer practicals

2011-2012 GEOG3012 – Environmental management: Preparation and running of ancillary classes

Postgraduate Tutoring

2011-2014 GEOGG102: Environmental Data Acquisition & Analysis (Cons/AS): Assistance with fieldwork and data collection. Day session on taxonomic identification of macro-invertebrates.


Feb-May 2012 UCL Certificate in Teaching in Higher Education (HEA accreditation)