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Gemma Harding

Gemma HardingEmail:

OrcID: 0000-0001-9145-6481 | ResearchGate |     @AmphibiGem

Since graduating with a BSc (Hons) in Wildlife Conservation in 2004 I have worked as a professional ecologist. My ecology work primarily involves carrying out protected species and habitat surveys, ecological impact assessments and mitigation.

Whilst working as an ecologist I completed a part time MSc by research at the University of Kent’s Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology. My MSc focussed on captive breeding and reintroduction of amphibians as a conservation tool and the relevance of reintroduction guidelines. Via my research and voluntary roles I am a published author on three papers, a co-facilitator of the Amphibian Conservation Action Plan Working Group, an active member of the IUCN Species Survival Commission Amphibian Specialist Group and part of a group of scientists working on Amphibian specific reintroduction guidelines.

PhD title: The best laid plans? Evaluation of ex situ components within species conservation action plans.
My PhD will focus on Species Action Plans (SAPs) and ex situ conservation. The project will involve a review of SAPs in order to establish their effectiveness and identify trends in their implementation and success rates. Systematic reviews are conducted for some SAPs, particularly where large NGOs provide support (i.e. birds), but their implementation and impact have not been compared on a broader conservation scale. Equally, there is no consistency in the structure and content of action plans, and little research to evaluate their effectiveness and impact.

A comprehensive review of SAPs with ex situ components would reveal implementation rates, highlight gaps, and inform organisations of the importance of the review and assessment process. Investigating relationships between organisations and SAPs could help lead the way to improvements in partnerships and allow a more focussed approach for zoos and other ex situ operations. The research will also compare the differences between vertebrate groups, in particular the duration and content of their SAPs.


  • Harding G, Griffiths RA and Pavajeau L. (2016) Developments in amphibian captive breeding and reintroduction programs. Conservation Biology, 30: 340–349. doi:10.1111/cobi.12612.
  • Germano J.M., Field K.J., Griffiths R.A., Clulow S., Foster J., Harding G., and Swaisgood R.R. (2015), Mitigation-driven translocations: are we moving wildlife in the right direction? Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 13: 100–105.
  • Valenzuela-Sánchez, A., Harding, G., Cunningham, A. A., Chirgwin, C. and Soto-Azat, C. (2014), Home range and social analyses in a mouth brooding frog: testing the coexistence of paternal care and male territoriality. Journal of Zoology, 294: 215–223.


  • 8th World Congress of Herpetology. Hangzhou, China. 2016 – Presented
  • European Congress for Conservation Biology (in conjunction with ICCB), Montpellier, France. 2015 - Poster
  • Amphibian Conservation and Research Symposium 2015 and 2011 – Presented
  • Workshop on the Critically Endangered Mexican Axolotl, Mexico City. 2014 – Presented

Main Supervisors

  • Richard Griffiths, Durrell Institute for Conservation and Ecology, University of Kent
  • Simon Black, Durrell Institute for Conservation and Ecology, University of Kent

Other relevant activities

  • Volunteer chair with the Wiltshire Amphibian and Reptile Group.
  • Member of Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management and the British Ecological Society.