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Welcome to the regional pages for Wessex. Full details of national and local events are available on our events pages.

Upcoming branch events



Watch this space for details of upcoming Wessex branch events.

Members may also be interested in events in neighbouring branches listed in the regional events page


Visit the branch map to see where our members are. (Map dated May 2016).

Visit the reports section to find out about past events the branch have run.


Chair: Dr Hilary Otter CBiol FRSB
Vice-Chair: Mr Jack Coughlan CBiol FRSB
Secretary: Mrs Rachel Wilson CBiol MRSB
Aquatic Biologist, Jacobs
Treasurer: Martin Taylor CBiol MRSB

Dr Marja Aberson CBiol MRSB, Dr Declan Doyle MRSB, Dr Liz Evesham CBiol FRSB and Noelle Joby CBiol MRSB

Contact details

Please get in touch by emailing us at

We have held a number of successful events over the last three years and have tried to spread them over our vast region (Dorset, Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, Channel Islands and Wiltshire). As part of our vision, Wessex aim to get more involved with education, promoting biology into schools and universities through volunteers giving talks and hosting local award ceremonies for the popular British Biology Olympiad.

Please can you help us by filling in the online questionnaire, this will ensure that we know the type of events and lectures you enjoy and can arrange our events to better suit its' members. Send completed questionnaires, any ideas and feedback to us at

Thank you for all your support in the past few years and we hope to see you at some of our events in the future.

Meet the committee


Jack Coughlan CBiol MRSB

Jack is a marine biologist, now "more or less retired", having worked in operations, planning and marine research for the electricity generating industry and latterly as a consultant in cooling water issues. His first job involved mass culture of unicellular algae, with carbon capture at Poole Power Station and was invited to join IoB during the 1963 symposium "The Better Use of the World's Fauna for Food". Jack served on the Environment Committee and, from time to time, on the (original) Wessex branch committee. He is a trustee of the Hampshire and IoW Wildlife Trust and an advocate of their conservation and education work.

Rachel Wilson CBiol MRSB

Rachel is a principal marine ecologist at Jacobs with over 9 years of experience in marine survey and environmental impact assessment. She obtained a BSc in marine and freshwater biology and then continued on to gain a masters in oceanography. Rachel's personal interest is in the area of deep sea biology, particularly cephalopods, for which she has undertaken voluntary work within the Natural History Museum spirit collections. Rachel has been a chartered member of the Royal Society of Biology for the over 5 years.

Jonathan David CBiol MRSB

Jon is a research scientist working in the area of host response to bacteria. His research involves using multiplexed technologies (specifically microarrays and bioinformatics) to investigate the response to infection in in vitro lung models. He is chair of a tripartite in vitro lung models working group and senior mentor for the Royal Society of Biology within his establishment where he manages a chartership scheme for approximately 100 associate members, members and fellows. Jon is particularly enthusiastic about engaging younger biologists and encouraging continued professional development.

Karen Anderson CBiol MRSB

Karen is a marine ecologist at Jacobs with over 6 years of experience in marine survey, zooplankton identification and environmental impact assessment on marine mammals. She obtained a BSc (Hons) environmental biology in 2001 and continued her education to gain MSc oceanography. Karen is a trained Marine Mammal Observer (MMO) and Marine Mammal Medic and has undertaken voluntary research into marine mammals with the Cardigan Bay Marine Wildlife Centre, Biscay Dolphin Research Programme and Marine Life Surveys. Karen has been a member of the Royal Society of Biology for over four years, becoming chartered member in 2011. Karen joined the Wessex branch committee as she is keen to impart her enthusiasm for biology to young people.

Hilary Otter FRSB CBiol

Hilary has taught biology at secondary and 6th form colleges for the past 20 years. In that time, she has been a head of science and is currently head of biology at St Swithun's School, Winchester. She obtained a zoology degree and went on to do research into invertebrate nervous system, during which time she gained a PhD and taught a large number of undergraduates. Hilary's particular interest is in engaging school age students. She is particularly keen to introduce them to the wide range of applications that the biological sciences have in the 21st century. Hilary also writes peer reviews for the Association for Science Education and has been a member of the Royal Society of Biology for 30 years.

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