Cat Hendry-Chairperson: Cat has been heavily involved with The Society since its inception and her unfaltering efforts have played a vital role in The Society’s growth and success. In addition to her role as Chairperson, Cat also works with the other science officers to develop and co-ordinate the Society’s scientific program. She is currently based in the US, as she is a Ph.D candidate at the George Washington University. Her research focuses on diversification and speciation dynamics in squamate reptiles, with a dash of phylogeography thrown in for fun. Cat’s passion for herps is not purely academic, having kept everything from leopard geckos to anacondas in captivity. She has also been in the field surveying for reptiles in a bunch of cool places, including Cyprus, Honduras and Madagascar.
Rob Gandola-Senior Science Officer: Rob co-ordinates the science agenda for the Society. He is a Ph.D student at University College Dublin where his research primarily focuses on the conservation and ecology of Nile crocodiles in Madagascar. He also leads the herpetology team for Operation Wallacea at their field site. Rob also conducts other research on the ecology and conservation of other reptiles and amphibians in both Ireland and further afield.
John Dunbar-Science Officer and Society Secretary: John is a Ph.D student at N.U.I Galway. His research there is on spiders of the False widow, Genus Steatoda. He previously worked at the Herpetarium in the Alistair Reid Venom Research Unit, at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine. He has maintained a captive collection for almost 20 years including mainly boas, anacondas, pythons, a crocodilian and a number of rehomed turtles. Some of the research John has worked on includes phylogenetics and biogeography, reptilian pathology and biomedical research, in particular.
Rob O’ Sullivan-Editor: Rob’s work with the society primarily involves science communication. He promotes the Society’s work, and the work of herpetologists worldwide, by publishing articles, generating content for our website, and through social media. He graduated from University College Cork with a degree in zoology, where his undergraduate work on zebra mussels sparked an interest in invasive species. He went on to study the ecology of the invasive Asian clam in the Barrow catchment SAC, in a collaborative effort between UCC and Inland Fisheries Ireland. Rob is particularly interested in how our native herpetofauna may be affected by the introduction of non-native species of plants, animals and pathogens.
Collie Ennis-Science Officer and Society Treasurer: Collie is an associate of research with the Trinity College Zoology Department and a lifelong herpetological hobbiest. He started keeping exotic amphibians at the age of 8, eventually moving on to reptiles and invertebrates; working with Dublin Zoo in the rescue/re-home of unwanted pet reptiles (mainly turtles). Collie’s main interests are the preservation of Ireland’s native herpetofauna and the encouragement of responsible exotic pet ownership. To promote responsible pet ownership, he conducts regular interactive events on exotic pet care on behalf of the society. Collie is currently working for the HSI, with Dublin City Council, on a herpetological survey of the North Bull Island, UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.
Emma Lawlor – PR Officer: Emma joined the HSI team in 2013, and has represented the Society at countless events since. She has a BSc in Zoology, and an MSc in Evolutionary Biology, from University College Dublin . Before joining the HSI, Emma volunteered as a research assistant with Operation Wallacea, both in Honduras and Indonesia. She has a keen interest in reptiles and invertebrates, and has kept and bred both for over a decade. Her most recent breeding project involves the stunning Atticus Atlas Moth. Emma is an accomplished photographer, and is always keen to share photography advice with the Society’s members.