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Mr Bradley Neal

BSc, MSc

Profile summary

Professional biography


My name is Bradley Neal and I am a Postgraduate Researcher (PGR) at The Open University (OU). I am an OU graduate from 2019, where I studied BSc (Hons) Environmental Science part-time alongside various jobs including retail, laboratory work, and education. I graduated in 2020 from Oxford Brookes University with a Distinction in MSc Conservation Ecology, where I studied many conservation issues, solutions, and practices. During my time at Brookes, I spent a lot of time studying butterflies and modeling outcomes of Lepidoptera (The order to which butterflies and moths belong) in fragmented habitats.

In addition to a PGR, I am also an Associate Lecturer with the OU on the module SDT306 Environment: Responding to Change. This is a great module covering many contemporary issues from biodiversity loss, the challenges that are present, and the exploration of some solutions. There are also modules on Climate Change and an excellent module on Food Security. All these modules are intertwined to produce a really interesting and essential module for our students to learn.

I am also very enthusiastic in support of equal representation in science, particularly LGBTQ+ people.

Research interests

My research interests primarily surround the conservation of butterflies. I am keen budding Lepidopterist and love everything butterfly and moth related, from their beauty and diversity to their interesting lifecycles. The habitats they live in and the plants they rely on are so rich and interesting I am enamoured with anything related to the conservation of Lepidoptera.

My PhD project is about conservation of urban woodland butterflies in Milton Keynes, where butterflies (and by extension, other species) have had their woodland habitat enclosed by urbanisation and cut off into now distinct habitat patches. The layout of Milton Keynes lends itself pretty effectively to studies of habitat connectivity and patch quality analysis. I aim to produce a Butterfly Habitat Suitability Index and assess the quality and connectivity of the woodland patches in the city to produce a model that might suggest conservation management interventions in fragmented habitats.

Teaching interests

I act as an Associate Lecturer on the 21J presentation of SDT306: Environment: Responding to Change.

Impact and engagement

McCarron, J. and Neal, B. (2022) Mycoprotein - could this meat alternative be a food for the future?, OpenLearn. 13th June. Available at: Mycoprotein - could this meat alternative be a food for the future? - OpenLearn - Open University (Accessed: 30th October 2022).

Neal, Bradley (2022). Overcoming depression and homophobia to start a PhD: my academic journey. Postgraduate Research Poster Competition, The Open University.

Neal, B. (2022) Butterflies tell us more than you might think about our natural world, OpenLearn. 13th June. Available at: (Accessed: 16th August 2022).

Neal, B. (2022) Bradley Neal: Trans Pride & Healing, Journal of Ecology Blog. Available at: Bradley Neal: Trans Pride & Healing | Journal of Ecology Blog (

Neal, B. (2022) Overcoming depression and homophobia to start a PhD: my academic journey [Research @ OU Grad School]. 2nd April. Available at: (Accessed: 4th April 2022).

Neal, B. (2021) How my OU study put solar panels on two schools in Milton Keynes, THE HOOT. Available at:

Neal, B. (2021) LGBTQ+ identity expression at university: a way to go, CENTA Research Blog. Available at:

Neal, B. (2021) Rainbow Research: Nature, Journal of Ecology Blog. Available at:

Neal, B. (2021) Woodland management for butterflies – cutting down trees for conservation, CENTA Research Blog. Available at:

Open Door. (2021) Bradley's Story: How Futuremakers made Open Day a success. OpenDoor. pp 7. Available at: