Gergana Daskalova

I am a recent BSc Ecological and Environmental Sciences graduate with a research focus in conservation in the face of man-driven land use change. In particular, I am interested in agro-ecology, landscape ecology, conservation policy and the potential of abandoned agricultural land for biodiversity conservation. I am absolutely fascinated by the power of good education in helping people reach and exceed their potential and dream big – my own dream is to become a lecturer and researcher at least as inspirational and empowering as the mentors that I have been fortunate to have so far. For more information, check out my personal website.


John Godlee

I am a graduate from the University of Edinburgh with a focus on tropical forest ecology and species interactions. I’m currently employed as a research assistant and hope to start a PhD soon! I have experience in designing sustainable projects through my work in nature conservation and as the student representative for the Edinburgh University School of GeoSciences. I have some experience using R for statistical modelling, R-markdown to make reproducible scripts and I’m very interested in the role of open-source and collaborative technology in academia.


Joe Boyle

I’m a fourth-year ecology student, looking for ways to improve my R skills without having to read books about it alone in a darkened room. I've been a member of Team Shrub since November 2014, including the 2015 field season, from which I gained direct experience of scientific practice, including some coding. I’ve been trying to practice R whenever I can, but it’s difficult to know the what’s possible of myself and the software without some outside help. Considering how important R is for modern ecology, this course should give me some of the skills I need to improve both my final year’s work, and anything beyond.


Eleanor Walker

I am currently in my fourth year studying Ecological and Environmental Sciences at the University of Edinburgh. Having proficient coding skills promises to become of more importance as I enter my final year. In particular, to aid with independent research projects such as my dissertation. Being a class representative for my degree programme has given me the opportunity to talk to peers about potential ways to increase student support in this area. Joining a research expedition this summer lead by Dr Isla Myers-Smith has taught me valuable techniques such as; technical expertise, data analysis and ethics in the field, while enabling me to work with a team of scientist who are experts in their field.


Sandra Angers-Blondin

I am a third year PhD student investigating the responses of tundra vegetation to climate change in the Arctic, and the role of plant-plant interactions in modifying these responses. I have been using statistical programming since the beginning of my PhD and am therefore very familiar with the R language. I have experience teaching coding to undergraduate students as a demonstrator on the course “Ecological and Environmental Analysis”. I am excited to be part of this project, as I wish a similar opportunity had been available when I started teaching myself programming.


Haydn Thomas

I’m a third year PhD student investigating the causes and consequences of vegetation change in the tundra biome. My research requires a range of coding tools and software, from using GitHub repositories to hierarchical Bayesian modelling (which I still haven’t quite grasped yet!). I had never even used R before starting my PhD, so a course like this earlier on in my research career would have been immensely valuable – this is a great opportunity to pass on the skills I have learnt onto others. I have a large amount of teaching experience, both as a tutor for Masters and Undergraduate course and as a demonstrator in previous statistics classes, and have been previously nominated for a teaching award.


Pedro Miranda

I'm a PhD student investigating the main floristic patterns and their environmental drivers in Lowland Tropical South America and how these patterns will change due to climate change. Through my project, I gained experience in handling large quantities of data in R, as well as in using different R packages and clustering methods. I began to consistently use this software in my research when I started my PhD and, because of this, I see how valuable an initiative such as Coding Club is for students and young researchers who want/need to acquire coding and data management skills in R.


Dr Isla Myers-Smith

Dr Isla Myers-Smith is a senior lecturer in the Ecological and Environmental Sciences Programme at the University of Edinburgh and winner of the EUSA teaching award for innovative assessment for the course Conservation Science. She works with large-scale ecological data to understand global change in tundra ecosystems and biodiversity change across the globe. She is particularly interested in how to encourage the development of quantitative skills to keep up with the rapid advances in statistics and programming in the field of ecology. Check out TeamShrub's website and blog for updates on their research.


Dr Kyle Dexter

Dr Kyle Dexter is a Lecturer in Plant Ecology at the University of Edinburgh and a Research Associate at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh. Much of his teaching focuses on statistics, at the undergraduate, masters and Ph.D. levels, while he also teaches forest ecology and a field course on plant and invertebrate identification. His research focuses on large-scale eco-evolutionary studies of tropical plants. He completed his Ph.D. in the USA and a postdoctoral fellowship in France prior to moving to the UK and thus has experience with a variety of pedagogical environments. For more information, check out the research group's website.


Dr Christina Coakley

Dr Christina Coakley is a University Teacher within the School of GeoSciences at the University of Edinburgh. She has created a Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) to develop a basic understanding of the R Statistical Software among undergraduate students, and fully supports the advancement of quantitative teaching through in-person and online distance learning.



We are very keen to connect with people around the world who are also keen to promote skills in statistics and programming, and would love to organise collaborative workshops, so feel free to get in touch with us.

Francesca Mancini

Francesca is a PhD student from the University of Aberdeen where she uses computational methods and non-conventional data sources to study sustainability of socio-ecological systems. Francesca is also the leader of the Aberdeen Study Group, and together we organised Coding Club's first joint workshop on quantifying population change and visualising species occurrence. You can read more about our joint workshop on the Team Shrub blog and Francesca's blog. We look forward to working together again in the future!


We are always looking for new ideas and feedback.

We are very keen to discuss ways to innovate teaching in quantitative analysis, and are also happy to share our experience in creating and leading Coding Club. Feel free to contact us with any questions or feedback - we would really appreciate your input!

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