Authors – Billy Heaney, Robbie Phillips, Hattie Lavender, Russell Barnett

About us:

The Centre for Ecology and Conservation is the Biosciences Department at the University of Exeter’s Penryn Campus. It  is an incredible place to study, not only does it have a world class department, with friendly and inspirational lecturers, but it’s a stone’s throw away from the beach and Cornwall’s abundant marine life. Staff encourage students to make the most of the wonderful natural environment and to gain as much experience as we can in the fields that we wish to pursue upon graduation. During our time in Cornwall, we all got stuck in with a variety of student societies and events including; EcoSoc, WildDocSoc and WildFilmFest, and together, the four of us worked on the student led online natural history series ‘NatureWatch’.

During our time working on ‘NatureWatch’ we all learned a great deal about wildlife filmmaking and discovered that we’re quite fond of each other and make a good team. We decided that our filmmaking adventures couldn’t end there and we booked a trip to Scotland to film bottlenose dolphins, red squirrels and generally just have a bit of a laugh. It was there in the Scottish Highlands that Muddy Duck was born!

Muddy Duck

Muddy Duck is our student start-up natural history film production company. Our aim is to combine the scientific knowledge gained from our Zoology degrees with the filmmaking experience developed through NatureWatch to produce high quality videos that educate and inspire. With the current state of the world’s ecosystems, communicating science to the general public has never been more important and, in collaboration with the University of Exeter, we hope to showcase the latest biological research to a wider audience through social media. Video is vital in communicating the outputs of research and assists academics increase the impact of their work. Combining our scientific knowledge and film-making capabilities we will be the bridge between academics and the general public, acting as scientific translators. For full details of the team scroll down.

In the past few months, the University of Exeter has developed a new online presence to showcase the fantastic marine research currently taking place on the Streatham, Truro and Penryn campuses. Having all previously worked with many of the academics currently undertaking marine research at the University, we saw an opportunity to support and work alongside the #ExeterMarine initiative using film to highlight the work of our diverse marine research community.  We put together a short film which introduces the ExeterMarine blog and what people can expect to see appearing on social media in the near future.

Stay in touch with Muddy Duck:



Facebook: @muddyduckuk

Twitter: @muddyduckuk

Instagram: muddyduckuk

Meet the team:

Billy Heaney

Billy is an enthusiastic naturalist with a keen interest in marine mammals and birds and has recently finished his Masters by Research at the University of Exeter submitting his work on remote camera technology and its role in grey seal haul-out assessment. He is the chatterbox of the Muddy Duck team and endeavours to bring a fun, cheeky and informative presenting style to the Muddy Duck films.



Robbie Phillips

Robbie is an outgoing naturalist with a passion for avian research and is in the final stages of completing his masters research on migratory change in birds, focusing on chiffchaffs. He has a keen eye for photography and is a handy camera man and film editor. He is also the business mind behind muddy duck.





Hattie Lavender

Hattie is a determined and creative naturalist who combines science and art throughout the production process. During her time as a Zoology student at the University of Exeter, she studied anthropogenic nitrate increase and the effects on Cornish seagrass. She specialises in editing and the overall visual appeal of a project whilst keeping the other Muddy Ducklings in line!





Russell Barnett

Russell is a naturalist and adventure enthusiast! During his time as a Zoology student at the University of Exeter, he studied the changes in breeding phonology of great tits in response to changes in climate. He’s into birdwatching, mountain biking and paddleboarding and loves travelling to new places to film. His latest toy is a DJI Mavick Pro drone, which adds a fresh perspective to the Muddy Duck films.