Julia was born and educated in Gibraltar. She obtained her undergraduate degree in Zoology from the University of Wales, and has a D.Phil. in Animal Ecology from the University of Oxford.
After completing her D.Phil., Julia spent until 1990 working at the Mexican National University, Mexico City, and as an environmental expert in the Gibraltar Government until 1993. She then held various positions of responsibility at the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, Jersey until December 2013.
Julia is Professor of Biodiversity and Human Development at Manchester Metropolitan University and Senior Associate at the Center for International Forestry Research in Bogor, Indonesia. Julia is also a Visiting Professor at the Universidad de Malaga, Spain.