Profile of Stuart Graham

Stuart Graham
PhD Student



My research interests lie in habitat utilisation and conservation biology, particularly of native UK Lacertidae lizards. With a thirst for knowledge and keen interest in all herpetofauna, I strive towards a career in which I can further contribute towards the conservation of endangered species or species of conservation concern.  I try to give back a little of what I take out of life having completed the UK’s three peak challenge in 2012, raising money for the ‘make-a-wish’ Foundation; granting magical wishes to children and young people fighting life-threatening conditions and have provided herpetofauna training workshops for statutory and non-statutory organisations within the UK as well as undertaking protected species surveys.  I also enjoy spending time traveling, having had the pleasure of recently traveling around the Middle East, Aftrica and parts of Europe, indulging in my passion of reptiles mainly but also enjoying F1 motorsport.


Chartered Ecologist
Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management (2014 - )

Chartered Environmentalist.
Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management (2012 - )

MSc Programme in Environmental Science
University of Wolverhampton, United Kingdom, September 2000 – June 2003

BSC (Hons) in Environmental Science
University of Wolverhampton, United Kingdom, September 2003 – August 2004


Project title:

Towards the Conservation of UK Dune System Native Lacertidae Species

Both the common lizard and sand lizard are experiencing challenges to their long-term survival within the UK, to varying degrees, governed by external factors. Thus the challenges facing both herpetologists and conservationists alike is to increase the knowledge and understanding of both species allowing for the formulation of more sustainable conservation strategies as ever increasing anthropogenic pressures are observed.

My research project (supervised by Dr. Anita Malhotra) aims to further the knowledge of conservationists on the two co-existing species, Zootoca vivipara and re-introduced Lacerta agilis populations within three dune-systems in Wales.  Investigating the above will provide a better understanding of reptile distribution across dune systems and sound scientific background for development of future reptile conservation measures within the UK.

Specific Objectives:

  • To investigate the influence of environmental conditions as a constraint to the detection (the chances of observing a lizard) of dune system lizards, and if so to what extent and degree. To achieve the objective, three Welsh populations of dune-system Z. vivipara and re-introduced L. agilis are being monitored over a combined period of 5 years. Visual observations of lizards will then be considered with respect to measured micro-environmental variables and furthermore used to predict when it is environmentally advantageous for both species of lizards to be above ground and in the open, hence available for detection; and conversely when it is advantageous for lizards to remain undercover or underground, thus unavailable for detection.
  • To identify and model ‘suitable habitat’ for both species and identify how they utilise such habitat. The identification of ‘suitable habitat’ will be used to evaluate the percentage of dune-system ‘suitable habitat’ currently occupied and available to both L. vivipara and L. agilis populations through GIS analysis compared to the ‘suitable habitat’ utilized by them. The identification and utilisation of dune system ‘suitable habitat’ will provide a basis for species specific conservation prescriptions.
  • To investigate limitations in existing conservation strategies (related to re-introduced L. agilis populations) and identify conservation strategies which may be utilised to increase the favourable conservation status of L. agilis and halt declining Z. vivipara numbers. Conservation practices employed for other reptile species, which could either be employed directly or adapted to improve the management of existing (and future) re-introduction L. agilis sites will be identified.