Zosia is studying for a PhD in the Department of Geography, investigating the contribution made by urban burials grounds to the wider urban green landscape. I am particularly interested in mammals, especially those who have successfully colonised urban areas. Prior to my PhD, I worked for a number of years on conservation projects and as an ecological consultant. I completed my master's degree in Ecology, Evolution and Conservation at Imperial College London, and my bachelor's degree in Zoology at Anglia Ruskin University.
Thesis title: 'The importance of urban burial grounds for biodiversity'
Recent centuries have seen dramatic change in land use, including extensive urbanisation. Burial grounds, including graveyards, churchyards and cemeteries, are common throughout urban areas and can represent important locations of ecological stability in an otherwise dynamic landscape. London alone has 138 cemeteries, some of which are centuries old and contain sections that have been undisturbed for decades. Due to their cultural protection, burial grounds are unlikely to be developed and so may provide important refugia for species which are struggling to compete in an extensively human-modified landscape. Little is known of the urban ecology of cemeteries, however.
They are a form of urban green infrastructure and provide cultural ecosystem services, but their ecological functions are relatively unexplored. This project begins to address the lack of ecological knowledge of cemeteries by investigating habitat provision in London’s cemeteries. This will determine plant and mammal diversity of cemeteries, habitat use by urban mammals, and ultimately how biodiversity may be encouraged through wildlife-sensitive management. It would therefore utilise the principles of reconciliation ecology to ensure that cemeteries, as a form of green space that is also used by humans for recreation and wellbeing, are also usable by a wider range of urban species.
- Principal supervisor: Robert Francis
- Secondary supervisor: Chris Carbone