Laura Thomas-Walters

Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology (DICE), University of Kent, UK

Email:; Twitter: @LauraThoWal


PhD. ‘16-present. University of Kent. Biodiversity Management.

MRes. ‘15-‘16. University College London. Biodiversity, Evolution and Conservation.

BSc. ‘12-‘15. University of Kent. Animal Science 1:1. Graduated top of year, incl. highest mark in dissertation.


2018. Thomas-Walters, L. (2018) Mapping motivations: Combatting consumption of illegal wildlife in Viet Nam. TRAFFIC Viet Nam.

2017. Leung, W., Thomas-Walters, L., Garner, T., Balloux, F., Durrant, C. & Price, S. (2017) A quantitative-PCR based method to estimate ranavirus viral load following normalisation by reference to an ultraconserved vertebrate target. Journal of Virological Methods. 249: 147-155.

2017. Thomas-Walters, L. & Raihani, N. J. (2016) Supporting Conservation: The roles of flagship species and identifiable victims. Conservation Letters. 10(5): 581–587.

Scholarships, Funding and Prizes

2017. Society for Conservation Biology. Graduate Student Research Fellowship.

2017. British Association of Nature Conservationists. Student essay commendation.

2017. Society for Conservation Biology Europe Section. Blog prize.

2016. University of Kent. Postgraduate Experience Award.

2016. University of Kent. Alumni Research Scholarship.

2015. University College London. Masters Prize Scholarship.

2015. Canterbury College. Funding for Introduction to Phase 1 Habitat Surveying course.

Research Experience

Sep ‘16-present. PhD in social marketing and behaviour change for demand reduction in wildlife trade. Supervised by Dr Bob Smith at DICE, University of Kent.

May ‘16-Aug ‘16. Masters project in defaunation and ecosystem services. Supervised by Dr Noelle Kumpel at Conservation Programmes, Zoological Society of London.

Jan ‘16-Apr ‘16. Masters project in behavioural economics and conservation marketing techniques. Supervised by Dr Nichola Rahaini at Department of Experimental Psychology, UCL.

Jun ‘14-Aug ‘14. Research intern at Zoological Society London. Supervised by Dr Stephen Price at UCL Genetics Institute.


Jun ’18-Jul ’18. National Geographic Society: Making the Case for Nature, Gap Analysis.

Feb ‘17-Mar ‘17. TRAFFIC International: Developing a theoretical framework of motivations for use of illegal wildlife products in Viet Nam.

Teaching and Outreach

2017-present. Stepping Up tutor for University of Kent.

  • Delivers modules designed to encourage 6th form students to consider Higher Education as an option, help them to apply and introduce them to the skills that they will need to succeed at university

2017-present. Education tutor for Wildwood Trust.

  • Guides A Level Biology students through assessed practicals on topics such as invertebrate diversity and random transects

2017-present Outreach ambassador for faculty of social sciences, University of Kent.

  • Designs and presents sessions relating to conservation for secondary school children, and provides guidance for EPQ students.

2015-present. Guest lecturer on BSc Animal Science at University of Kent.

  • Designs and presents lectures on animal welfare and conservation

2017. ‘Real World Research’ organiser.

  • Organised a public engagement event aimed at bridging the gap between PhD researchers and the general public in Canterbury

2016. Exhibition Interpreter for ZSL Sunset Safari.

  • Educated public on lemur conservation and behaviour

Conference Presentations

Jun ‘18. European Congress of Conservation Biology 2018. Presentation. “Taking a more nuanced look at demand reduction.”

Mar ‘17. Student Conference on Conservation Science Cambridge 2017. Presentation. “Supporting conservation: the role of flagship species and identifiable victims.”

Aug ‘16. CEE Conference Better Evidence, Better Decisions, Better Environment. Poster presentation. “What is the extent and occurrence of empirical evidence linking defaunation of hunted vertebrates to changes in ecosystem processes and functions and ultimately carbon storage and sequestration in terrestrial ecosystems? A systematic map.”

Professional Memberships

Oct ‘15-present Student member of British Ecological Society

Oct ‘15-present Student member of Society for Conservation Biology

Additional Activities

2017-present. Writer for Faunalytics.

Feb ‘16-present. Athena Swan PGR representative in SAC, University of Kent

May ‘15. Ran as a Green Party candidate for Canterbury councillor, achieving 14% of the vote.