Last summer I spent two months as a volunteer research assistant for Nature Seychelles, living on Cousin Island, Seychelles. This island has a wealth of data collected over the years on a variety of flora and fauna, and my role as one of the volunteers was to add to that long-term data collection. Here I had the unique and exciting experience of working closely with the Seychelles Magpie Robin. This involved daily monitoring of individuals within each of the territories on the island, recording observations and interactions with other Magpie Robins and their surrounding environment, general maintenance of nest boxes etc. With my budding interest in the Magpie Robins I opted to be involved in the organisation and analysis of the data collected so I could gain a more comprehensive understanding of the island's population.
I graduated from a Medical Sciences undergraduate degree in 2015, an area within which that always had my heart was genetics. When I started doing background reading on the Magpie Robins (as I was keen to learn as much as I could about their history, and how the population I was working with had been established) it came to my attention that no genetics work had been done before, but would be an area of work that would greatly benefit the species. I voiced my interest in undertaking this work on my return to the UK and sent an initial research proposal to the CEO of Nature Seychelles.. It hasn't been the easiest task to communicate between three different countries to get everything in place, but here I am! 8 months later, about to start this exciting research to contribute to the survival of one of the rarest birds in the world - the charismatic Seychelles Magpie-Robin.