School of Anthropology & Conservation

Excellence in diversity Global in reach

Dr Rachel Maree Bristol

Honorary Research Associate

Conservation Biology

profile image for Dr Rachel Maree Bristol

Academic background

  • BSc (Zoology), University of Otago, New Zealand, 1989
  • PGDip Wildlife Management (distinction), University of Otago, New Zealand, 1990
  • PhD in Biodiversity Management, University of Kent, United Kingdom, 2013

General background
I’m a conservation biologist and practitioner and have worked for over 20 years in endangered species management and population restoration, in New Zealand, Hawaii, Mauritius and Seychelles. I have worked on recovery programmes for numerous critically endangered island endemic birds and have led conservation introductions of Seychelles fodies, Seychelles paradise flycatchers and Seychelles sunbirds.  

Identifying caecilians in the field

Identifying caecilians in the field.

Relationship with School
I have a long-term collaboration with Jim Groombridge, having worked together on threatened bird recovery programmes in Mauritius around 20 years ago and, more recently, on two Darwin Initiative-funded projects in the Seychelles. I was the project officer and Jim Groombridge the project leader on Darwin Initiative project 15-009 Investing in island biodiversity; restoring the Seychelles Paradise Flycatcher (2006 –2009), where we undertook the first ever conservation introduction of the Critically Endangered Seychelles paradise flycatcher. Currently, I am project officer and Jim Groombridge the project leader on Darwin Initiative project 19-002 A cutting-EDGE approach to saving Seychelles evolutionarily distinct biodiversity (2012-present), where we are: (i) implementing individually tailored training programmes for six local conservation practitioners to improve local capacity to conserve Seychelles EDGE species; (ii) improving knowledge of Seychelles EDGE species through targeted research and monitoring; and (iii) implementing conservation action to conserve the 11 Seychelles EDGE species. I also undertook a PhD at DICE at the School of Anthropology & Conservation supervised by Jim Groombridge.

Blood sampling a flycatcher pullus.

Blood sampling a flycatcher pullus.

Research Interests
My research interests centre on informing conservation management for threatened species- mostly birds-, and include understanding drivers of population decline and recovery, small population biology and genetics, habitat creation/rehabilitation, and reintroductions as a conservation intervention.

back to top


Surveying for the rarest bat in the world: the Seychelles sheath-tailed bat.

Surveying for the rarest bat in the world: the Seychelles sheath-tailed bat.

Bristol RM, Fraser I, Groombridge JJ, Verissimo D (2014) An economic analysis of species conservation and translocation for island communities: the Seychelles paradise flycatchers as a case study. Journal of Environmental Economics and Policy. DOI:10.1080/21606544.2014.886531.

Bristol RM, Fabre PH, Irestedt M, Jønsson KA, Shah NJ, Tatayah V, Warren BH, Groombridge JJ (2013) Molecular phylogeny of the Indian Ocean Terpsiphone paradise flycatchers: undetected evolutionary diversity revealed amongst island populations. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 67: 336-347. 

Bristol RM, Tucker R, Dawson DA, Horsburgh G, Prys-Jones RP, Frantz AC, Krupa  A, Shah NJ, Burke T, Groombridge JJ (2013) Comparison of historical bottleneck effects and genetic consequences of re-introduction in a critically endangered island passerine.  Molecular Ecology, 22: 4644-4622.

Groombridge JJ, Raisin C, Bristol RM, Richardson DS (2012) Genetic consequences of reintroductions and insights from population history. In: Reintroduction biology: integrating science and management (Ed: Ewen, J.G., Armstrong, D.P., Parker, K.A. & Seddon, P.J.). Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford, UK.

back to top

School of Anthropology and Conservation - © University of Kent

School of Anthropology and Conservation, Marlowe Building, The University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent, CT2 7NR, T: +44 (0)1227 827056

Last Updated: 31/08/2017