Beccy Osborn (BA Hons. Oxon, MSc, MCIEEM) – Director
Beccy is the company director and established Direct Ecology in 2008. Beccy has a degree in Biological Sciences from Oxford University and an MSc in Environmental Management from the University of Stirling, as well as being a full member of CIEEM. She has over twenty years’ experience in the ecology sector, during which time she has gained a wealth of experience and expertise working on a wide variety of projects and species. Beccy has provided ecological support to major infrastructure projects from the early stages with Preliminary Ecological Appraisals, through Environmental Impact Assessment, to Ecological Clerk of Works and biodiversity audits. She has been the lead author on Environmental Assessment chapters for projects impacting European protected areas and species as well as Habitat Regulations Appraisals. Beccy has experience of surveying for a range of protected species and holds survey licences for bats, freshwater pearl mussels, great crested newts, otters, red squirrel and badgers. She holds a badger development licence and bat low level impact licence. She also has a CSCS card and is a fully qualified tree climber.
Sarah Moore (BSc Hons., MSc, PhD, MCIEEM) – Principal Ecologist
Sarah is a Principal Ecologist at Direct Ecology. Sarah joined the company in 2017 and now has twenty years’ experience as an ecologist. She has a BSc from Lancaster University, an MSc from Imperial College, London and a PhD in evolutionary ecology from the University of Stirling. Sarah is also a full member of CIEEM.
Her initial ecological training was in vegetation surveys and she has undertaken Phase 1 and Groundwater Dependent Terrestrial Ecosystem surveys of upland wind farms and hydropower sites, as well as Phase 1 surveys of numerous small development sites across Scotland and Phase 1 and National Vegetation Classification surveys in Wales.
Sarah provides ornithological support to a range of projects, from infrastructure works such as the Orkney Connection Project to smaller plans such as local hydropower and woodland creation schemes. She has been involved in many ornithological impact assessments for wind farms, working on bid preparation, resourcing and managing the projects. More recently, she has taken on a lead role in managing the survey work and delivery of the ecology chapter for a major roads upgrade scheme.
Emma Robson (MSci, ACIEEM) – Principal Ecologist
Emma joined Direct Ecology in 2020 having worked in ecological consultancy in England for four years. Emma graduated with an MSci in Marine Biology from the University of Southampton, after which she undertook a placement at the Wildlife Trust, during which she gained skills in botanical identification and habitat assessment. Emma has Great Crested Newt (GCN) and hazel dormouse licences. She has a keen interest in botany and achieved a level 4 in the BSBI Field Identification Skills Certificate. Emma has a wide range of experience within ecological consultancy including project management, Ecological Impact Assessment (EcIA), Biodiversity Net Gain and protected species surveys.
Callum McNeill-Ritchie (BSc, GIBiol, MCIEEM) – Senior Ecologist
Callum joined Direct Ecology in 2010. He has a BSc in Applied Biology and is a Graduate of the Institute of Biology in Ecology and Animal Behaviour. Callum has extensive experience of a range of protected species survey work including: bat roost assessment and nocturnal watches, licensed roost exclusion, and bat box installation and checks; badger survey and monitoring under licence; and survey for great crested newts, otters, water voles, red squirrels, pine marten and wildcat. He is also an ornithologist who carries out a range of bird surveys including: vantage points, raptors, wildfowl, diver species and black grouse monitoring. Callum regularly undertakes Ecological Clerk of Works (ECoW) duties on several sites. Callum is a licensed bat surveyor, a fully qualified tree climber, and a full member of CIEEM.
Andy Dowse (BSc Hons.) – Senior Ecologist
Andy joined Direct Ecology in 2022, having worked as a self-employed ecological surveyor for 20 years. He has a BSc in Ecology from Stirling University, for which he travelled to South Africa to study the aerodynamic effects of long tails in orange-breasted sunbirds.
Andy has specialised in ornithology during his career in ecology. The majority of this work has been on windfarm and powerline developments all over Scotland. Andy is very experienced in all bird survey methodologies, and has completed over 2,500 vantage point watches; CBC and BBS; line transects with distance sampling; Brown & Shepherd and O’Brien & Smith for breeding upland and lowland waders; species-specific for breeding red-throated diver, black-throated diver, red kite, hen harrier, goshawk, golden eagle, merlin, peregrine, black grouse; winter goose census; hen harrier roost; and shore bird WeBS counts. Andy has held Schedule 1 licenses for several years to allow him to complete these surveys. Andy is a qualified ESAS (European Seabirds at Sea) surveyor.
Despite a focus on ornithology, Andy has much experience in surveying for other groups of animals. He has used the Butterfly Monitoring Scheme methodology to survey butterflies at both lowland and upland sites and has completed point and transect surveys for bats and walkover surveys for otters, badger, pine marten, water vole and red squirrel. He has also completed torching surveys for great-crested newts and assessments of deer grazing pressure.
Andy also has experience in bid preparation, ground-truthing survey proposals, managing projects and report writing.
Douglas Kerr (HND Environmental Management and Sustainability, QualCIEEM) – Ornithologist & Ecologist
Douglas is an ornithological specialist with Direct Ecology, having joined in 2015. Douglas has an HND in Environmental Management and Sustainability from SRUC Edinburgh and is a qualifying member of CIEEM. He has gained a wide variety of bird survey experience both as a volunteer with the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and British Trust for Ornithology and with the projects he has worked on at Direct Ecology. Douglas spent a large amount of time on Orkney carrying out vantage point, breeding bird, coastal bird, raptor and wildfowl surveys for the Orkney Connection Project. As well as ornithological skills, Douglas has carried out surveys for bats, with both nocturnal surveys and daytime assessment of roosts, amphibians including nocturnal surveys as part of great crested newt translocation, and water voles, including mitigation work on the M8 which involved the trapping, care and relocation of individual voles. He has also undertaken extensive survey work for other protected species, including badgers and otters.
Murray Gauld (BSc Hons., QualCIEEM) – Assistant Senior Ecologist
Murray joined Direct Ecology in 2019 after completing his university studies. Murray has a degree in Marine Biology from the University of Aberdeen. He has 6 years’ experience in the ecology sector, primarily working as a bat surveyor in Aberdeen. During his time at university, he worked for Astell Associates gaining extensive experience carrying out bat surveys on a wide range of projects. He has continued to build on this experience since joining Direct Ecology, regularly assisting with bat surveys, carrying out daytime inspections of buildings for evidence of bats, dusk and dawn surveys, writing up reports and organising logistics for new surveys. He also has experience in protected species surveys including badger and otter surveys, and has continued to build on this by undertaking extensive fieldwork surveying for protected species since joining Direct Ecology.
Kiera Hamilton (Bsc Hons., QualCIEEM) – Assistant Senior Ecologist
Kiera joined Direct Ecology in 2022. She has a degree in Biological Sciences from the University of Dundee, and has three years’ experience in the ecology sector. During her time at university, she worked for Heritage Environmental Ltd., gaining extensive experience carrying out bat surveys and protected species walkovers on a wide range of projects. After leaving university, she went on to gain further experience in preliminary roost assessments, dusk / dawn bat surveys, bird vantage point surveys and protected species surveys such as water vole, badger, otter and wildcat on various projects across Scotland including overhead power lines, road schemes and proposed wind farm sites. She holds a NatureScot bat licence and continues to develop her knowledge of bats through volunteering with the Fife and Kinross Bat Group. Kiera continues to build her knowledge and experience by being involved in a wide range of projects at Direct Ecology.
Gemma Grossart (BSc Hons., MSc, QualCIEEM) – Ecologist
Gemma joined Direct Ecology in 2021, having previously worked as a seasonal ecologist. She has a BSc in Animal Biology and an MSc in Wildlife Biology and Conservation from Edinburgh Napier University. Through her master’s project, Gemma gained extensive experience in carrying out bat surveys and bat call analysis. Gemma has spent 3 years working and volunteering in the ecology sector; she has worked as a subcontractor bat surveyor and seasonal ecologist for companies around Edinburgh, and with the Scottish Wildlife Trust and RSPB in a voluntary capacity. She also carries out wetland bird and breeding bird surveys in a voluntary capacity with the BTO. Since joining Direct Ecology, she has continued to build on her experience through writing reports, assisting with bat activity surveys and protected species surveys, assisting with tree surveys for bat roosting potential, and assisting with daytime surveys of buildings for evidence of bats and nesting birds.
Scott Allinson (BSc Hons., QualCIEEM) – Ecologist/GIS Technician
Scott joined Direct Ecology in 2021 – a year after completing his degree in Environmental Geography from the University of Stirling. He also has experience in various sectors including renewable energy and working in a laboratory; in addition to working in Northern Ireland as a volunteer ranger for the National Trust. Scott is the GIS technician for Direct Ecology, primarily working with QGIS. He works on a variety of projects including peatland restoration & monitoring, vantage point surveys, breeding bird and LCA (Land Characteristic Assessment). In addition to working in the geospatial realm, Scott also has experience with nocturnal bat surveys, protected species surveys, ECoW, peat surveys and preliminary roost assessments. Scott continues to build experience with identification and plants, birds and protected species, in addition to developing new methods in GIS and data capture for a wide variety of ecological data.
Rory Baillie (BSc Hons.) – Ecologist
Rory joined Direct Ecology as a full-time member of the team in 2022 after graduating with a BSc in Animal Biology from Napier University (during which time he participated in four seasons of bat surveys with Direct Ecology). His studies included environmental management, where he conducted an EIA (Environmental Impact Assessment) for a hypothetical caravan park development proposal by Loch Leven. His dissertation focussed on animal behaviour and involved the investigation of cooperative breeding across different unit structures in grey mouse lemurs (Micorcebus murinus). Rory helps with protected species surveys at Direct Ecology.
Matt Richardson (BSc Hons.) – Ecologist
Matt joined Direct Ecology in 2023 after graduating with a first-class BSc in Zoology from the University of Glasgow. His final year honours project involved studying the impact of altitude and the presence of predators on freshwater invertebrate communities. Between university and joining Direct Ecology he spent a summer working on an RSPB reserve, developing his bird and plant identification skills. Matt specialises in ornithology and carries out breeding bird surveys, black grouse surveys and raptor vantage point surveys for Direct Ecology, as well as assisting in badger surveys and dawn and dusk surveys for bats. He has also developed his report writing skills and regularly carries out survey digitisation work using QGIS.
Matt Finnigan (BSc Hons, MSc.) – Ecologist
Matt joined Direct Ecology full time in 2023 after graduating with a Masters in Environmental Management from the University of Stirling. The previous year, he carried out bat dusk watches with Direct Ecology, alongside his studies. His undergraduate degree was at Heriot-watt University, where he achieved a first class degree in Marine Biology and focused his dissertation on wintering bird counts in the Firth of Forth. He has also volunteered with the Scottish Raptor Study Group, monitoring the success of sparrowhawk nests in Edinburgh. During his time at Direct Ecology, Matt has largely focused on ornithology, and has carried out surveys for wind farm, powerline, and woodland creation projects in Scotland. At the same time, he is continuing his development of QGIS and report writing skills.
Steph Devaney – Ecologist (BSc. Hons)
Steph joined Direct Ecology in 2023, having previously worked a season as a subcontractor bat surveyor. She graduated with a BSc in Zoology from the University of the West of Scotland. Her final year honours project involved investigating drivers and influential factors of pebble juggling behaviour in captive Asian small-clawed otters, Aonyx cinereus. Between university and joining Direct Ecology, Steph has carried out various volunteering roles including: marine mammal surveys, assisting with badger camera trap projects/surveys, and RSPB habitat maintenance. Since joining the company, she has gained experience in preliminary roost assessments, bat activity surveys, protected species surveys, and peatland surveys. She has also developed her report writing skills and regularly carries out bat data analysis using Anabat Insight. In addition, Steph is continuing to develop her skills and knowledge in bat and protected species surveys.
Kirsty Duncan – Ecologist (BSc. Hons, MSc.)
Kirsty joined Direct Ecology in 2023 having previously worked two seasons as a subcontractor bat surveyor. She has a degree in Environmental Science and an MSc in Environmental Technology from the University of Hull. During her masters, she undertook a dissertation on the predicted impacts of sea level rise on the vegetative communities along the banks of the River Humber. Kirsty has a range of experience from working as a ranger in the west highlands of Scotland, carrying out surveys for various species including bees, butterflies, birds, and upland plants along with practical conservation. She has since worked in engagement for a conservation charity sharing her passion for woodland and trees with both children and adults. Since joining Direct Ecology, Kirsty mainly works on Phase 1 habitat surveys and report writing. She also assists with bat surveys, PRAs and protected species surveys and is keen to expand her knowledge and skills.
John Heaney – Ecologist
Joining Direct Ecology in October 2023, John has five years’ experience in the ecology sector, having previously worked for Heritage Ecological Ltd. and Gavia Environmental Ltd. He has gained extensive experience carrying out various surveys such as raptor vantage point surveys, breeding bird and protected species surveys such as water vole, bats, badger, otter, beaver and pine marten. These surveys have been undertaken on various projects across Scotland including overhead power lines, road schemes and proposed wind farm sites. Continuing to build on his skills, John has undertaken further in-depth training for bird and mammal field sign identification with a keen interest in animal tracking. John continues to build on his experience by being involved in a wide range of projects in his current role.
Lacey Urquhart (BSc Hons., MSc, ACIEEM) – Sub-Consultant Ecologist
Lacey joined Direct Ecology in 2014 having already worked in the ecology sector since 2012. In 2020 she moved to Europe but continues to support our work on a sub-consultant basis. She has an Honours degree in Biology and Psychology from the University of Stirling and an MSc in Wildlife Biology and Conservation from Edinburgh Napier University, as well as being an associate member of CIEEM. She undertakes reporting for protected mammals and bats, as well as BREEAM assessments and reports. Lacey is competent in the use of QGIS to produce Phase 1 maps and target note figures for use within reports. Lacey has a Scottish Natural Heritage bat licence and is a qualified LANTRA tree climber which has allowed her to undertake numerous aerial surveys for bats, red squirrels and pine martens. Her previous experience includes: herbivore density and impact assessment, botanical and peatland assessment, remote bat surveying and transects, protected species surveys, and health and safety tree checks using mobile mapping and digitising with Mapinfo.
Dan Davis (BSc Hons.) – Sub-Consultant Ecologist
Dan first started working for Direct Ecology in 2014, however, since moving to continental Europe in 2020, he now supports the team on a sub-consultant basis. He has an Honours degree in Ecology from Stirling University, which he obtained as a mature student after deciding to follow his life-long obsession with nature. Dan is a keen birder and his dissertation on wood warblers was published in Bird Study. Since then, he has become part of the ornithological team at Direct Ecology, carrying out winter goose consensus surveys, breeding bird surveys and vantage point surveys for Annex 1 raptors and Schedule 1 species. He also used to undertake WeBS surveys in his own time.
Dan has over 30 years’ experience working and surveying for reptiles and has previously held his great crested newt licence. He has helped run training for the Central Scotland Amphibian and Reptile Group (CentARG), which involved identifying habitat suitability, species identification and surveying techniques. He has carried out surveys for the National Amphibian and Reptile Recording Scheme (NARRS), now superseded by the National Amphibian and Reptile Monitoring Programme, and he has also been involved with reptile surveys in Europe for Natura 2000 sites. Dan is experienced in otter, badger (including badger exclusion under licence), water vole (including trapping) and pine marten surveys as well as surveying for bats, both transects and activity surveys. Dan is also a qualified tree climber and competent in bat sound analysis.
Dan spends his free time seeking out wildlife and is currently working his way through the ambitious task of photographing all of Europe’s reptiles and amphibians.
Nicola McKenna (LLB Hons.) – Office Manager
Nicola joined Direct Ecology in July 2017. She previously worked for the Rural Stirling Housing Association and most recently held the post of Finance Officer. Nicola is responsible for a variety of tasks including invoicing, preparing payroll, assisting in the annual accounts preparation, managing and updating company policies, arranging insurance, maintaining office supplies and equipment, tender preparation and maintaining procurement databases. Nicola has undertaken GDPR training and is a qualified first-aider and DSE assessor.
Fiona Stephens – Office Administrator
Fiona joined Direct Ecology in May 2023 and provides part-time support to the Office Manager, including assisting with invoicing and tasks relating to personnel. Prior to this position Fiona worked for many years in business support and as a PA for a local authority in Dorset, England.
Direct Ecology can also draw upon the experience of a wide range of consultant ecologists whose specialisms can be tailored to individual contracts.