All our board members are senior managers and experts in their field whether this is information management, business development or biological recording. For a more detailed look into who is on our board we have provided a short biography describing who they are below.
The Board of Trustees for the National Biodiversity Network Trust are elected by the membership on an annual basis. The board members as at January 2016 are:
Day job: Manager of Marine Conservation and Management Advice,
Trustee since May 2013
Jen was nominated to represent the Marine Biological Association where she is a Governor.
Jen has worked on marine conservation issues for the last 15 years, initially overseas but since 2005 for Natural England where she is currently the Marine Manager responsible for providing Conservation Advice to regulators and stakeholders and also NE’s advice on fisheries in Marine Protected Areas. This involves ensuring we are clear about our conservation objectives for protected habitats and species and what activities might damage them. Before this Jen was the Principal Specialist for Marine Evidence where her expertise was particularly in the identification and monitoring of Marine Protected Areas. She was coordinating author of the Ecological Network Guidance for the Marine Conservation Zone project and joint lead author of JNCC and Natural England’s advice to Defra for the first tranche of MCZs. As a member of their dive team she occasionally gets to do some survey work and gather data herself.
Jen has been on the Council of the Marine Biological Association since 2009 and is a member of their Knowledge Exchange Committee which focuses on evidence, communications and conservation. Jen represents the Worshipful Company of Fishmongers on the MBA Council and was nominated to the Company as part of their drive to increase members with knowledge of the marine environment and fisheries and the number of women. Jen is also a member of the World Commission on Protected Areas.
Day job: Head of Science at the Freshwater Biological Association
Acting Trustee since June 2013
John was nominated to represent the Freshwater Biological Association as an acting Trustee until a new FBA CEO takes up this role.
John was appointed Head of Science in July 2015. John has also served as Acting Director of the FBA for a period of nearly two years, and prior to that was the Facilities and Research Manager at the FBA River Laboratory. Before joining the FBA John worked for the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology and its predecessor, the Institute of Freshwater Ecology. Before joining IFE John worked for the Environment Agency in Reading, where he carried out surveys for rare freshwater macroinvertebrate species and compiled national databases of biodiversity action plan species. John also worked for its predecessor organisation, the National Rivers Authority (in North Wales) where he did macroinvertebrate surveys, pollution investigations and macroinvertebrate sample processing and identification.
John has been an FBA member since 1990, at which time he also joined the British Ecological Society and became a Fellow of the Royal Entomological Society. John has also been a member of the Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management since 1996.
John’s main scientific interests include research and development on RIVPACS predictive models (River InVertebrate Prediction And Classification System) and biotic indices for use in the biomonitoring of streams and rivers. John is also keenly interested in freshwater biodiversity and regularly undertakes surveys and monitoring of various rare and endangered freshwater invertebrate species. John is also currently investigating the potential for captive breeding and reintroduction of some of our most threatened freshwater invertebrates. John also runs a long term monitoring project on two chalk streams in southern England.
Day job: British Trust for Ornithology Director
Trustee since November 2012
I was educated at the University of Wales, obtaining a Bachelor of Science degree (1976) and PhD in Zoology (1980) before lecturing in Zoology and researching birdsong at the University of Sussex.
I joined the Nature Conservancy Council in 1982, and my 24 years with the Government nature conservation agency included field-work on upland birds, Communications and European work and securing Lottery funds for local community areas for wildlife. After species work seconded to the Department of the Environment, I returned to English Nature as Director of Protected Areas with overall responsibility for nationally and internationally important wildlife sites. I also led the successful defence of Dibden Bay at Public Inquiry.
After assisting the setting up in early 2006 of Natural England, as Director of Science, Evidence & Policy, I undertook freelance strategic environmental consultancy before coming to the BTO as Director in August 2007. My work at BTO includes leadership of the BTO Strategy 2015-2020, representing BTO in Government and ensuring our strong profile alongside other Third Sector wildlife organisations. I am a founder member of the Cambridge Conservation Initiative www.conservation.cam.ac.uk Steering Committee and have ensured BTO science and capacity building is well represented in the David Attenborough Building. I joined the Natural England Board in July 2014.
Dr Mark Diamond PHD (Zoology), MBA
Day job: Ecology and Ecosystems Manager, Environment Agency
Trustee since July 2004
Mark spent two years as a lecturer in ecology, one year as an ecologist at Risley Moss Cheshire followed by 30 years in the Environment Agency and its predecessors (NRA and North West Water Authority).
He currently leads on the Environment Agency’s approach to Invasive Non-Native Species, Natural Capital, Climate Change Adaptation for the Natural Environment, ecological aspects of the Water Framework Directive and ecological tools and data.
Dr Roddy Fairley
Day job: Strategy Manager, Scottish Natural Heritage
Trustee since February 2012
Roddy has a long history of working for Scottish Natural Heritage. Between 2007 and 2009 he was acting Director of Operations for South Scotland following 10 years in Area Management, first in Argyll and Stirling (where key motivations were the establishment of Scotland’s first National Park (Loch Lomond and The Trossachs), and the conservation of Greenland White Fronted and Barnacle Geese and of Chough) and then Strathclyde and Ayrshire (where abiding interests were the pursuit of strategies for green-space and green infrastructure across Central Scotland and, in addition, the continuing problems of hen harrier conservation. This followed several years in charge of corporate planning and organisational development. Before joining SNH in 1992, he was in charge of policy development in the Countryside Commission for Scotland, and before that he worked for the Nature Conservancy Council on a variety of surveys and aspects of nature reserve management.
Between 1998 and 2008 he was a Director of, and for much of that time, chaired, Reforesting Scotland, the principal NGO in Scotland for ecological restoration and social forestry. Between 2007 and 2009 he was a Director of Paths for All, and sat on Scotland’s National Access Forum. Between 2003 and 2011 he was a Director of the Central Scotland Forest Trust and since 2005 has been a Director of the Cairnhead Community Forest Trust which he now chairs. He is a member of the Forestry Commission’s South Scotland Regional Forestry Forum.
After graduating in ecology from the University of Edinburgh his studies of the below ground ecosystem, fine root and mycorrhizal dynamics led to the award of a PhD from Aberdeen University.
He lives in rural south west Scotland with his wife and children where he sings in choirs, cooks for the family, writes poetry, keeps bees and walks the hills.
Professor Michael Hassell CBE FRS
Day job: Honorary Principal Research Fellow at Imperial College, London
Chair since March 2012
Michael’s background is in population biology with a special interest in the dynamics of insect populations. This was kindled by three inspirational George’s: George Salt as his undergraduate tutor at Cambridge and then by George Varley and George Gradwell, his DPhil supervisors at Oxford. After a year at the University of California, Berkeley and then a NERC Fellowship back at Oxford, he went as a Lecturer to Imperial College, based at their Silwood Park Field Station outside Ascot. And there, contrary to his early expectations, he stayed, working up the ranks until retiring in 2007. Apart from research success, it was (more latterly) a time of learning how to run departments and faculties (and not letting meetings run over time!). Outside Imperial College, it was most rewarding for Michael to be President of the British Ecological Society, on the Councils of NERC, The Zoological Society of London and the Royal Society, and spending several years as a Trustee of the Natural History Museum.
Now that he has ‘retired’, his time is spent between the NBN and, from 2016, being the President of the Royal Entomological Society., Happily, this still leaves good time for he and his wife, and their dogs to revel in the beautiful countryside of North Devon.
Day job: Chief Scientist at Natural England
Trustee since July 2015
Tim trained as a Marine Biologist and has a Joint Honours degree in Marine Biology and Zoology (University of Wales) and a PhD from the University of Liverpool, where he studied kelp communities.
Tim has worked for Natural England, its predecessor organisation English Nature, and the Joint Nature Conservation Committee, for over 20 years in various management and specialist roles covering marine survey, marine protected area management and monitoring, SSSI designation and management, regulation and access.
Tim has been a member of Natural England’s leadership team since March 2008 with former roles including Director Regulatory Services & Access and Director of Evidence. Tim has also been Natural England’s Chief Scientist since 2011. This latter role includes the leadership of Natural England’s scientific and technical capability and for setting standards for the generation, use and application of science and evidence across the organisation.
Tim lives on the northern edge of the North York Moors and enjoys sharing his enthusiasm for the great outdoors with his young family and inexhaustible dog.
Professor Ian Owens
Day job: Director of Science, Natural History Museum
Trustee since December 2011
Professor Ian Owens is Director of Science at the Natural History Museum, where he has been since June 2011. He joined the Museum from Imperial College London, where he was Head of the Department of Life Sciences. He has previously worked at the Institute of Zoology, London and at the University of Queensland, Australia, and has had extensive involvement with learned societies, governmental and non-governmental agencies.
He is both an honorary research fellow of the Zoological Society of London and sits on the Natural Environment Research Council’s Post-Genomics and Proteomics steering committee, where he recommends how funds should be awarded. As Director of Science, Professor Owens oversees the work of over 300 scientists and 150 post graduate students who are based at the Museum. He sets the strategic direction of the Museum’s scientific activities. This includes ensuring that the Museum meets its national and international responsibilities and the wider needs of society.
Professor Owens is also responsible for the Museum’s vast scientific collections. Containing over 70 million scientific specimens from all parts of the world, they are an important resource used by scientific researchers worldwide.
Dr Richard Pywell
Day job: Head of Ecological Processes and Modelling Section, CEH Wallingford
Trustee since December 2012
Richard joined the NERC Centre for Ecology and Hydrology Monks Wood Research Station in 1993 after completing his BSc at Sheffield University and PhD at Liverpool University. He is an applied ecologist with a focus on the conservation and restoration of biodiversity within intensively managed ecosystems. Much of Richard’s work has been carried out in the context of the agri-environment schemes where he has worked with policy-makers, practitioners and industry to improve both their uptake and effectiveness in conserving wildlife and the environment. Richard is also the CEH Science Area Leader for research into sustainable land management. He currently manages a section of 38 scientists at CEH Wallingford that includes the UK Biological Records Centre.
Richard lives in the Chilterns where he divides his time between bringing up his two daughters and gardening.
Day job: Director Standards and Advice, Joint Nature Conservation Committee
Trustee since July 2010
After a first degree in Zoology Paul went on to research the feeding ecology of wild rats, the behavioural ecology of the corncrake (Crex crex) and the quantification of overhead cable collisions as a factor in avian mortality. While undertaking this research he also lectured, part-time, on Experimental Design and Statistics. However, for the last 25 years he has pursued a career in conservation, first with Wetlands International where he was responsible for automating the collection and analysis of data from the international waterfowl census, extending the scope of the census from European to global and establishing processes for the routine use of the census in conservation decisions. Examples of this include setting the 1% thresholds for use in identifying wetlands of international importance and providing the evidence base for establishment and implementation of the African Eurasian Migratory Waterbird Agreement of the Bonn Convention. Since 1998, he has worked for the Joint Nature Conservation Committee where he is currently Director Standards and Advice. Underlying his entire career, there has been a common theme of trying to improve the value and use of science and data to conservation decision taking, and looking for innovative solutions to conservation issues.
Much of this work has been international, dealing with European policies, The Ramsar Convention and the Convention on Biological Diversity but it has also included prominent roles in the UK Biodiversity Action Plan, UK biodiversity reporting and indicators, and establishing effective interfaces between science and policy such as the establishment of the Global Biodiversity Information Facility, and the Rural Economy and Land Use research programme (RELU). All of this started from a childhood interest in biological recording of birds, vascular plants, moths and fungi so it is a great pleasure for Paul to now be involved in getting back to his routes and helping NBN to feed the efforts of so many biological recorders into conservation action and decision making.
Day job: Senior Lecturer in Ecology at Sussex University
Trustee since July 2015
Alan was nominated to represent National Forum for Biological Recording.
Having been interested in natural history since childhood (first with birds, then plants, then insects), Alan has been directly involved in biological recording since taking over the national recording scheme for the 400 species of Auchenorrhyncha (the collective term for leafhoppers, planthoppers, froghoppers, treehoppers and cicadas) in 1986.
He was a member of the original Co-ordinating Commission for Biological Recording (CCBR) that provided the impetus for setting up the NBN. Since arriving at Sussex University in 1993, where he is now Senior Lecturer in Ecology with research interests in insect-plant interactions, insect community ecology and conservation, he has taken a strong interest in local natural history and conservation, being a trustee of the Sussex Wildlife Trust and more recently chairman of their conservation committee. He also chaired the steering committee of the Sussex Biodiversity Record Centre for more than 12 years. Collectively, these experiences have given him an appreciation of biological recording from a number of perspectives.
Alan enjoys living within the recently-designated South Downs National Park where his limited spare time is mostly focused on natural history and a sporty family.
Day job: Royal Society University Research Fellow, University of Sheffield
Co-opted Trustee since February 2014 and full Trustee from July 2014
Tom is an ecologist by training, with a BSc from the University of East Anglia and a PhD in macroecology from the University of Sheffield. He has subsequently worked on a number of macroecology-related projects, including stints at the Universities of Oxford and York before returning to Sheffield, first as a Leverhulme Early Career Research Fellow and then, since 2008, as a Royal Society University Research Fellow.
Although he has worked on various different systems, Tom’s work is now very much focussed on marine ecosystems, and he is a module leader on the major new NERC/Defra-funded Marine Ecosystems Research Programme, with special responsibility for collating and analysing existing data on the UK’s marine ecosystems. He has also worked extensively with international data organisations, in particular with the IOC/UNESCO-funded Ocean Biogeographic Information System, the World Register of Marine Species, and the EU marine observation and data initiative EMODNet. He is on the UN Pool of Experts on Oceans, and is contributing to the forthcoming World Oceans Assessment.
All of this means that he has considerable experience of dealing with, and analysing, other people’s data, so he has a keen appreciation of the value of the NBN from a research perspective. In addition, Tom has been actively involved with the British Ecological Society for a number of years, and is currently on the committee of the Macroecology Special Interest Group, whose members have a keen interest in the various issues surrounding the use of big data in biodiversity research.
Day job: Helen leads NRWs information mapping and analysis team within the Evidence Knowledge and Advice Department.
Co-opted Trustee since July 2013. Full Trustee from July 2014
Helen has worked in the environment sector for over 20 years, working for private, public and voluntary sector organisations including time spent living and working on Ynys Enlli National Nature Reserve and Flat Holm Island Local Nature Reserve. Helen’s experience includes practical land management, nature conservation, biodiversity assessment and reporting, environmental education, and knowledge management.
Helen’s background is in ecology. She has a Masters in Countryside Management and has a particular interest in using evidence and knowledge to solve real life environmental issues and raise awareness and enjoyment of our natural world. Helen’s dissertation focussed on landscape scale analyses of habitat to help target land management towards a functional landscape that supports species movement in response to climate change, in the days when processing power was a significant limiting factor.
Helen has worked with Natural Resources Wales (NRW) and one of its legacy organisations, the Countryside Council for Wales, since 2000. Helen leads NRWs information mapping and analysis team within the Evidence Knowledge and Advice Department. The team leads NRW’s strategic partnership work with the NBN, Local Environmental Records Centres and works with the relevant business leads for national schemes and societies to advise on data and information issues. Helen has been involved with the NBN since 2006 as a member and contributor for a number of NBN committees.
Helen lives in the hills of North Wales and spends much of her time cycling, running or simply sitting, watching and enjoying the landscapes that North Wales has to offer.
Day job: Director: Woodworks Coaching & Consulting
Trustee since July 2007
Andrew is a professionally qualified coach, working with people in leadership roles at all levels, supporting them in bringing about desired change in their lives and careers. From 2006 to 2015 Andrew was an Executive Director at Natural England, most recently as Executive Director for Science & Evidence. During this time he has been variously responsible for NE’s Biodiversity, Landscape, Marine and Regulatory programmes, whilst also leading the organisations science and evidence work. Prior to this he managed elements of the Countryside Agency’s change programme in relation to the Modernising Rural Delivery Programme, bringing the Agency’s work on Landscape Access and recreation into NE. Throughout his career, Andrew has held a variety of policy development and implementation roles. In particular, he was responsible for the childcare policy in Wales for three years and was responsible for the Local Government reorganisation in Wales in the mid-1990s. Prior to joining Natural England, he worked with the Audit Commission; his last role there was Director of Policy.