Applied Ecology

The Applied Ecology is a small but diverse group of researchers, active in research themes such as invasive species control, land management in terrestrial and freshwater systems, and agri-ecology. The Applied Ecology group builds upon and consolidates the individual research activities of Principal Investigators, academic researchers, post-doctoral researchers, and post-graduates.

Dr Frances Lucy

PI and CERIS Director

Dr. Frances Lucy is Head of the Department of Environmental Science and Director of CERIS at the Institute of Technology, Sligo. Her main research interests are in aquatic invasive species, fisheries science, water quality and sustainability. Frances is President of Invasivesnet  and is also involved in a range of environmental forums in both Europe and North America.

Current Research Projects:

Collaborative Actions for the Natura Network (CANN)


  • Project Lead with UKCEH for EU Commission project on “Understanding and Communicating Invasive species” 2019-2022
  • Freshwater Lead for “EU Invasive Alien Risk Assessments” project 2016- ongoing NERC project reporting to the EU Commission 


Dr Eva Campion

Principal Investigator

Dr. Eva Campion is a molecular and cellular biologist with an honours degree in Biotechnology and a PH.D for a thesis entitled “Repression of the pro-apoptotic Bik gene by the Epstein-Barr Virus” which she was awarded from the School of Biotechnology in DCU in 2008. Dr Campion has research and industry experience spanning over 12 years. She is a member of the Centre for Environmental Research, Innovation and Sustainability (CERIS) and works closely with a number of research groups within IT Sligo.  Her interests include investigating the bioactivities of microalgal extracts in vitro, Molecular Diagnostic Test Development and Fungal Molecular Biology.

Dr. Campion is the co-chairperson of the local Science Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE) committee and also sits on the National SURE Committee. The SURE network works to enhance practice in undergraduate research in the Sciences and was the winner of Best Academic Partnership at 2019 Education Awards. Dr Campion also sits on the editorial board of The Sure Journal (SURE-J), a high-quality, international, open access, online, double blind reviewed publication which deals with all aspects of undergraduate research in the broad sciences.

Dr Mary Heneghan

Principal Investigator

Dr. Heneghan is a fungal molecular biologist and obtained her Ph.D. in Biochemistry (2004), from National University of Ireland, Galway, in the field of Fungal Biotechnology. She completed two postdoctoral research positions at Bristol University, before undertaking the Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) at University of Bath 2011.

Dr. Heneghan established the IT Sligo Fungal Molecular Research group (ITSFRG) in 2014. Her research projects include development of fungal transformation systems, investigation of nutrient recycling, fungal bioremediation of plastics, extraction and analysis of secondary metabolites, and biopharming of fungal proteins. She has co-authored 13 peer reviewed papers, 46 conference papers and is an inventor on the patent “Talaromyces emersonii enzyme systems”. Dr. Heneghan has secured funding from sources such as DAFM, Enterprise Ireland, BBSRC, British Council and IT Sligo bursary schemes. She works with several national and international collaborators on different research projects and is actively engaged with the Mushroom and Brewing Industries.

 Current Research Projects:

  • Fungal Biodegradation of plastics and biodegradable plastics.
  • Investigation of the therapeutic potential of secondary metabolites produced by Rasamsonia emersonii.

Dr James Bonsall

Principal Investigator

I’m an archaeologist who specialises in characterising the monuments of past cultures via the use of geophysical, remote sensing and geoarchaeological methods. I’m a former Chairperson of the Institute of Archaeologists of Ireland. I have published peer-reviewed articles on 4D-time lapse assessments, coastal erosion, electromagnetic induction, battlefield archaeology, geoarchaeology and the characterisation of human burial signifiers. I have written chapters for several peer-reviewed books and monographs and in 2019 I published my first book, New Global Perspectives on Archaeological Prospection. My published work tends to reflect my personal research interests in archaeological geophysics, the use of novel techniques and the assessment of legacy data, and selected outputs from 18 years of work in the private sector.

Hagen Metzing O’Neill

Post-doctoral researcher

My main role as Upland Ecologist for the INTERREG CANN VA Project involves using novel remote-sensing techniques to map large tracts of SAC-designated upland habitat to a high-detail.  I am interested in how this technology can be applied to inform appropriate conservation measures across complicated upland habitat mosaics that feature varied (and not necessarily mutual) environmental benefits, including but not limited to: biodiversity, water quality, and carbon offsetting.

Current research projects:

CANN INTERREG VA Project (https://thecannproject.org/about/the-cann-project/)

Sara Meehan

Post-doctoral researcher

My main role as Freshwater Ecologist for the INTERREG CANN VA Project involves developing conservation action plans, which promote cross-border co-operation to facilitate the recovery of selected protected habitats and priority species. I am responsible for implementing freshwater actions for Lough Arrow SAC, particularly in the area of biosecurity; I also liaise with landowners, local communities and stakeholders to promote the recovery of Lough Arrow SAC.

Current Projects:

CANN INTERREG VA Project (https://thecannproject.org/about/the-cann-project/)

Declan Feeney


Mr. Declan Feeney, an environmental scientist, obtained his MSc from the Institute of Technology Sligo in the area of ecological management systems.  He has worked with national and multinational industrial organisations on diverse industrial and environmental projects in the role of project manager.

 He currently lecturers in Environmental Science and Sustainability in the Department of Environmental Science at the Institute of Technology Sligo, Ireland.  He specialises in the area of environmental management, sustainability and ecosystem services. 

 He is a member of an international education group, ‘Sustainable Futures’, hosting a summer university on sustainability for undergraduate students, which is now in its 10th year.  He also convened and co-organised the bi-annual ‘Education with Sustainability’ educators conference at IT Sligo (2018) and Mid Sweden University, Sweden (2020).

 Mr. Feeney works within the Centre for Environmental Research, Innovation and Sustainability (CERIS) at IT Sligo researching societal change in the face of environmental challenges associated with climate change.  This has includes research into now-casting and future-casting environmental change in water quality associated with Blue Flag beach after short term pollution incidents. He is also active in the IT Sligo sustainable management initiative, Green Campus.

Eithne Davis

PHD Student

Eithne is an Environmental Scientist and full-time PhD Research Student with the Centre for Environmental Research, Innovation and Sustainability, at the Institute of Technology, Sligo, Ireland.  Working in collaboration with partners in Northern Ireland, the United Kingdom, and further afield in mainland Europe, her research interests are focussed on the management of the terrestrial plant Petasites pyrenaicus, on raising awareness around IAS, and on improving biosecurity at all levels of society. Eithne is always keen to use innovative technologies in novel ways in research work, and in multi-disciplinary collaboration. You can find her on Facebook and Twitter @InvasiveAliens.