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Joe Meagher

As of July 2020, I have graduated from my doctoral studies with my thesis titled "Bayesian Ancestral Reconstruction for Bat Echolocation". This work has been focused on implementing a statistical model for the ancestral reconstruction of bat echolocation calls. It draws on and develops techniques for signal processing, functional data analysis, and machine learning. It is particularly concerned with the use of Gaussian Processes for phylogenetic inference, using both Markov Chain Monte Carlo and Variational inference schemes.

This interdisciplinary project has been co-supervised by Professor Mark Girolami, Dr. Theo Damoulas, and Professor Kate Jones and has been supported by the EPSRC, the Turing Institute, and the GPA.

I have now taken up a position as a postdoctoral research fellow at the Insight Centre for Data Analytics in UCD, working under the supervision of Prof. Nial Friel. This research is focused on Approximate Bayesian Computation for self-exciting point processes.


Meagher, J.P., 2020, Bayesian Ancestral Reconstruction for Bat Echolocation. PhD Thesis.


Meagher, J.P., Damoulas, T., Jones, K.E. and Girolami, M., 2018. Phylogenetic Gaussian processes for bat echolocation. Statistical Data Science, p.111.

Meagher, J.P., Damoulas, T., Jones, K.E. and Girolami, M., 2018. Discussion of ''The statistical analysis of acoustic phonetic data: exploring differences between spoken Romance languages'' by D. Pigoli, P.Z. Hadjipantelis, J.S. Coleman and J.A.D. Aston. To appear in the Journal of the Royal Statistical Society: Series C (Applied Statistics)


Phylogenetic Gaussian processes for the ancestral reconstruction of bat echolocation calls. Winton-Imperial Statistical Data Science Conference 2017 (SDS 2017). July 3-5, 2017. (Talk)

Reconstructing an Ancestral Bat Echolocation Call. Research Students Conference, Dublin. 15-17 June 2016. (Talk)

Reconstructing a Proto-Bat Call. Britbats. 19 April 2016. (Talk)

Summer Schools

Machine Learning Summer School: Madrid 2018. Presented a poster "Phylogenetic Gaussian process factor models: The ancestral reconstruction of bat echolocation." Certificate of attendance.


ST219: Mathematical Statistics Part B

Course link

ST208: Mathematical Methods

Course link

CS342: Machine Learning

Course link

Partial write up of the neural networks for image classification assignment:

  Assignment 2

Some Solutions / Notes relating to worksheets and material presented in Seminars:

  Worksheet 2, 2018

  Worksheet 3, 2018

  Worksheet 5, 2018

Reading Groups

Statistical Machine Learning Reading Group

Group link

Warwick R User Group

Group link

Young Researchers Meeting

Group link

MSc. Dissertation

J. Meagher.  Controls for multiplicity in resting state functional connectivity analysis. 2015

Outside Interests

When not busy unravelling the mysteries of echolocation in bats, I am a keen athlete.

My main interest is in the GAA games, hurling (wikipedia) (video link), and gaelic football. I have represented both Roger Casements Coventry and Warwickshire since 2015, although my home club is Killenaule in South Tipperary . I am also an active member of both Warwick Athletics and Warwick Barbell clubs within the University of Warwick.

In 2017 I competed in Ireland's Fittest Family, alongside my father, Liam; my sister, Ailshe; and my brother, Liam Jnr (link).

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