Richard Smedley is a PhD scholar from the University of Reading, in partnership with the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and based in the Philippines. His research is in avian biodiversity of rice fields in South East Asia. Over 90% of the global market of rice is produced in Asia, yet the ecology of paddy fields and the interaction between crop and wildlife is poorly known. Many farmers use ‘knowledge’ passed down through families of rice growers, which sometimes is the opposite of what is scientifically understood. Richard is investigating what can be found in rice fields – with no previous work conducted within the Philippines, this is a key step in understanding how the crop can affect the birds AND how the birds can affect the crop. Ideally, once this interaction is understood, best management practices of rice farming can be identified, which can simultaneously aid the growth of high yielding rice and have a positive effect upon avian biodiversity, both those birds that live in the area and those that just pass through.