Skip to Content

Sarah Barnsley

Sarah BarnsleySarah Barnsley smiles at the camera





I have long been interested in the interdependence of agriculture and the natural environment and the sustainability of farming systems as we go into the future, both in terms of the environment/biodiversity, and for meeting the resource needs of the global human population. I therefore completed an MSc in Conservation Science at Imperial College London between October 2013 and September 2014 and prior to that, a BSc in Animal Science at the University of Reading. Topics studied included; the valuation of natural resources, the importance of ecosystem services, organic farming, livestock production systems, and the impacts of climate change.

My MSc thesis studied land manager attitudes towards agri-environment schemes, while my BSc dissertation involved an analysis of vitamin D content in eggs from different types of production system. In addition to the theory, I have gained practical experience on a variety of different farms including on a smallholding in the UK countryside, a pastoral farm in the Swiss Alps and on an urban farm in central London.

Upon leaving University, I worked as a Conservation Assistant and then Officer for the UK Overseas Territories Conservation Forum. This role kept me up to date with some of the most pressing environmental and social issues. For example, I was involved in writing a submission in response to an Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) Inquiry. This was looking to assess whether UK Government is on track in terms of implementing their 'blue-belt' policy, which involves establishing Marine Protected Areas around the UK and UK's Overseas Territories.


PhD Title

Managing pollination services at farm-scale: making ‘ecological intensification’ a reality.



While at the University of Reading, I received in my first year the Chancellor’s Award for academic achievement. In my final year, I received an achievement award for the best overall contribution to the BSc Animal Science.



During my time with the UK Overseas Territories Conservation Forum (UKOTCF), I helped to run an international conference of UK territories conservation practitioners and policy-makers. The conference entitled ‘Sustaining Partnerships’ was jointly organised by UKOTCF and HM Government of Gibraltar. I also represented UKOTCF at various meetings such as those held by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Biodiversity and the annual Inter Island Environment Meeting for the Crown Dependencies. In 2017, I helped to run a second meeting of Environment Ministers of UK Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies in Alderney.


As part of my MSc, I had the opportunity to attend and listen to the talks at a ZSL symposium focusing upon carnivore responses to environmental change.


Research group(s)/Laboratories etc

Primary Supervisor: Dr Lynn Dicks

Secondary Supervisors: Professor Andrew Lovett; Dominic Bovis (H L Hutchinson Ltd)


Other relevant activities

In addition to my work and study in the environment/agricultural sectors, I have participated in various volunteering programmes. For example, I was part of a team that organised activities for refugee children. I also volunteered with a nomadic family in Mongolia, where activities included helping out with livestock husbandry.

While at the University of Reading I acted as a Student Ambassador, introducing prospective students to the Animal Science course on open days. I have also been a science tutor on a part-time basis. In my spare time I enjoy hiking up in the mountains, exploring nature, travelling and discovering new places, horse-riding and dancing. As a personal project, I am working on a series of children’s stories and travel-related articles.