David Gibbons, Chair
David's first introduction to bats was as an enthusiastic teenager during field visits with the Bedfordshire Natural History Society. Despite this promising early start, David's career took a different path and he ended up as an ornithologist.
Following a Natural Sciences degree, and a doctorate specialising in behavioural ecology at Cambridge, he worked for two long memorable summers in the Camargue on birds and damselflies. His first proper job was with the British Trust for Ornithology, where he collated information from thousands of birdwatchers to produce an atlas of the distribution of birds in Britain and Ireland.
He moved from the BTO to the RSPB in 1994, and for the last fourteen years has been responsible for overseeing the RSPB's scientific programme. The research portfolio of David's team is very broad, ranging from trying to understand why house sparrows are disappearing in London, to using novel technologies to track seabirds at sea and migrant birds across Africa, to monitoring the wildlife of a Sumatran rainforest. More broadly, David is also involved in setting the direction for RSPB's conservation work.
He is a former Chair of the European Birds Census Council, and helped to set up bird monitoring schemes across Europe. He is on the Steering Committee of the Cambridge Conservation Initiative, a collaboration between academics and conservation organisations that is establishing a new conservation campus within the university.
David hopes that his knowledge of research, monitoring, conservation and organisational management, both in the UK and internationally, will be of value to BCT. He is also very keen to learn more about bats, and is helping out with the NBMP field survey in his home county of Suffolk.
Abigail Entwistle, Vice Chair
Abi is currently Director of Conservation Science and Design at Fauna & Flora International (FFI).
After studying Zoology at Oxford she undertook a PhD at Aberdeen University with Professors Paul Racey and John Speakman, focusing on conservation biology of the brown long-eared bat. This involved three years of roost visits, ringing and radio tracking, and resulted in an ongoing passion for bats.
Following her PhD she worked on a conservation project targeting the Pemba flying fox in Tanzania. This project was partly funded by FFI, and after her return to the UK, Abi started volunteering for FFI, and has stayed there ever since, in a variety of roles.
Steve Markham, Hon Secretary
Steve is Director and Data Scientist at Marquis & Lord Ltd. He became a consultant as a post-graduate; developing and applying software applications to water management. His experience in mathematics led to developing expertise in data analysis and he now has over 30 years’ experience as a consultant for the commercial and public sectors. During the last 10 years, he has applied data science (statistical analysis and data management) using open source software to a range of investigations (including bats), giving meaning to data and informing the decision-making process.
Tom Andrews, Treasurer
Tom has worked for a wide variety of wildlife conservation organisations including WWF, IUCN and the Wildlife Trusts and is currently Programmes Director for the Soil Association. He says bats really came to his attention when managing an eco-tourism project in Uganda where, every night, hundreds of thousands of bats would explode into the dusk from a large escarpment cave, desperate to evade the circling bat hawks. “Since then, bats have seemed to enter my life more and more, from assisting with bat walks in Northumberland to wondering how many are in the walls and roof of our cottage.” Tom hopes to use his fundraising, communications and project management experience to help BCT's work.