Conservation AI is a unique interdisciplinary project with researchers from computer science, astrophysics, and conservation biology. By harnessing the knowledge from these varying fields we aim to develop a platform and associated hardware that will bring benefits to the conservation community.

Paul Fergus
Lead Researcher (Machine Learning)

Paul Fergus is a Professor in Machine Learning. Paul's main research interests include machine learning for detecting and predicting preterm births. He is also interested in the detection of foetal hypoxia, electroencephalogram seizure classification and bioinformatics (polygenetic obesity, Type II diabetes and multiple sclerosis). Paul has a keen interest in conservation and is currently looking at the use of machine learning to solve different conservation-related problems. He has competitively won external grants to support his research from HEFCE, Royal Academy of Engineering, Innovate UK, Knowledge Transfer Partnership, North West Regional Innovation Fund and Bupa. Before his academic career Paul was a senior software engineer in industry for six years developing bespoke solutions for a number of large organisations.

Carl Chalmers
Lead Researcher (Machine Learning)

Carl Chalmers is a Reader in Machine Learning and Applied Artificial Intelligence in the Department of Computer Science at Liverpool John Moores University. Carl's main research interests includes machine learning, computer vision, high performance computing and data visualisation. In addition, he is also working in the area of high-performance computing and cloud computing to support and improve existing machine learning approaches, while facilitating application integration. He is currently applying is knowledge and expertise of large-scale machine learning deployments to solve some of the pressing issues faced by conservation organisations. He has won multiple grant awards and has seen international recognition for his research in the area of machine learning. He currently leads a group of machine learning practitioners which includes academics, Post docs, PhD students and industry partners. Before his academic career Carl spent over 8 years in industry developing a wide variety of different applications.

Serge Wich
Lead Researcher (Conservation)

Serge Wich is a professor at Liverpool John Moores University who has almost three decades of experience in animal behaviour, ecology, and conservation. Since 2011 he has been using drones to support conservation work and he is a co-founder of conservationdrones.org. Serge has a keen interest in using technology for conservation.

Steven Longmore
Lead Researcher (Astro)

Steve Longmore is a professor in the Astrophysics Research Institute, whose research aims to understand how the Universe evolves over cosmic time to produce the spectacular variety of stars, planets and life we see today. He has a keen interest in applying astrophysics techniques to tackle problems closer to home, such as conservation of endangered species, search and rescue, or tackling peat fires that are a major contributor to climate change.

Erik Meijaard
Erik is a conservation scientist with long-term experience working in the Asian tropics, specifically on the conservation of orangutans and other threatened mammals. He is managing director of Borneo Futures, a scientific consultancy in Brunei Darussalam, that conducts scientific research with the objective of influencing conservation-related policies and practices. He is also an honorary professor at the Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology at the University of Kent and he has chaired the IUCN Oil Crops Task Force since 2017. Through his work with the private sector he has significant experience in developing biodiversity solutions that are pragmatic, feasible and impactful in a real world environment.
Noami Davies
Researcher (Ecology and AI)

Naomi Davies is the Research and Conservation Officer at Knowsley Safari. Naomi conducted her master’s degree in Wildlife Conservation and Drone Technology through Liverpool John Moores University and has since been involved in a wide range of conservation research predominantly in the UK and South East Asia to benefit both captive and wild populations. The Conservation AI team have been working with Naomi to monitor the accessible and diverse range of animals available at Knowsley Safari.

John Phillips
Field Ecologist
John Phillips is a field ecologist at the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA), focusing on conservation and management of UK’s native and non-native wildlife. He is currently working on a variety of camera trapping projects with APHA and using new technology and techniques to help increase our knowledge base on wildlife activity and behaviour.
Rachel Chalmers
Citizen Scientist
Full time mum, part time NHS worker with an interest in conservation, AI and all things science. Rachel volunteers her time to help the ConservationAI team by tagging images for training the AI models.
Jonathan Swart
Jonathan Swart developed his wildlife hobby into a profession and moved from a career in electronics into conservation starting as a field guide, becoming a researcher and completing an MSc on Pangolins. He then took on a career in ecology, first as a consultant followed by a fulltime position for seven years as Ecologist for Sabi Sand Game Reserve in South Africa. Jonathan moved to the Waterberg in the Limpopo Province of South Africa in 2011 to fill the post as Research Ecologist for Welgevonden Game Reserve where much of his time is filled with spatial analysis and modelling of data collected by researchers on the Reserve for higher level reporting to inform decisions made by the Reserve’s management. Jonathan has a passion for innovation, particularly when it comes to finding technology that improves the efficiency in conservation management and doing science, and has implemented several apps and tools in Welgevonden for data collection, analysis and reporting. His affiliation with Conservation AI came about with the implementation of Conservation AI’s expertise and technology into Welgevonden to assist with the deep learning AI that will greatly benefit the conservation and security management of the Reserve.
Kaleb Smith
I’m a Senior Data Scientist on NVIDIA’s Higher Education and Research team across North and Latin America. I have experience in both novel AI research as well as industry applications spanning from generative modeling of different data modalities to computer vision and signal processing on embedded platforms. I have a strong passion for animals, stretching back to my younger days begging to stay awake past bedtime so I could watch Discovery Channel’s “Wild Discovery”. Looking back, I was probably too young for the graphic nature of the show, but I did love seeing all the world’s beautiful creatures. I hope to use my skill set, optimism, and love for animals to help in the conservation effort of our world’s declining ecosystem. If I could wake up knowing my work saved a single endangered species or helped spread awareness to declining numbers I would consider that the best kind of work.
Carmen Warmenhove
Carmen is the Biomonitoring Manager for Welgevonden Game Reserve in the Waterberg, Limpopo Province, South Africa. Under the Research Ecologist, she leads the team responsible for the ongoing ecological monitoring of the Reserve and manages the Research Camp, which hosts students, volunteers and researchers that assist will the monitoring, data collection and research. She also serves as secretary/treasurer for the Waterberg Nature Conservancy. Carmen takes pride in the education element of her role and is passionate about rhino and cheetah conservation. Camera trapping on the Reserve is a valuable monitoring tool for her, particularly for the elusive species such as black rhino and the mesocarnivores.
Chris Sutherland

Chris Sutherland is a Statistical Ecologists in the multidisciplinary Centre for Research into Ecological and Environmental Modelling (CREEM) at the University of St Andrews. Chris’s interests span ecology, statistics, and applied wildlife conservation and management, and more recently in innovative methods for wildlife and biodiversity monitoring. This includes the use of remote sensors to collect ecological data, the development and application of machine learning classifiers for data processing, and the development and application of ecologically realistic statistical methods. His current research focus within Conservation AI is the development of efficient and accessible data-to-decision pipelines for sensor data.

Lucia Gordon
Undergraduate Researcher
Lucia Gordon is a Harvard College senior studying physics and math with a passion for big cat conservation and an interest in using technology, specifically AI, to aid conservation efforts and mitigate human-wildlife conflict. Lucia plans to pursue AI for Conservation in her graduate studies.