Key Research Interests and Expertise

I am an ecologist with primary interests in the ecology and evolution of migratory systems, and in applied issues of understanding and managing the impact of environmental changes on biodiversity. My research is principally focused on large-scale population regulation in migratory shorebirds, and developing tools for managing coastal habitats. Much of my large-scale shorebird work is constructed around a long-term study of Icelandic black-tailed godwits, Limosa limosa islandica. Since 1995, individual colour-marking of c. 1-2% of this population, and the development of a network of hundreds of volunteer observers across Europe, has allowed us to unravel the links between habitats of varying quality in summer and winter, and to track the population expansion in both seasons. These links have profound implications for a wide range of population and evolutionary processes, which we are exploring in detail. In addition to this work, I am also involved in studies of the impact of climate change on coastal habitats in the UK, management of lowland habitats for biodiversity and ecosystem services in the UK and drivers of spatial variation in population trends in migratory birds. 

Current research projects

  • Using phenological drivers of demograohy in conservation (with RSPB)
  • Environmental and demographic drivers of migratory strategies in birds (with the University of Iceland and University of Cambridge)
  • Seasonal interactions and rapid population declines in Afro-Palaearctic migratory birds (with the British Trust for Ornithology)
  • Intra-guild relationships among predators of breeding waders (with the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds)
  • Climatic impacts and conservation management for breeding Lapwing (with BTO and RSPB)


Life in our research group

Field research is carried out in a variety of locations and habitats. Our shorebird work includes breeding season research in Iceland (in collaboration with colleagues at the University of Iceland), and non-breeding season research in coastal habitats throughout western Europe. In addition, we work with colleagues at the RSPB to explore the consequences of different habitat management techniques for biodiversity and ecosystem services on wetlands, and with colleagues at the British Trust for Ornithology to explore demographic trends and their drivers in migratory species. Research into coral reef ecology and conservation (in collaboration with colleagues at Simon Fraser University, Canada) is focused around identifying large-scale changes in reef ecosystems and their ecological and socio-economic consequences. We are a dynamic group with passionate interests in conservation ecology, and we meet regularly to discuss and develop research ideas and plans. We attend many conferences and workshops and we are involved in organising the annual Rebellion student conference at UEA.

PhD Positions

Click here for current PhD opportunities in Biological Sciences. But feel free to email me to discuss projects outside these areas and alternative sources of funding.

Postdocs & Fellows

I am always happy to discuss potential post-doctoral research and collaborations.

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