Dr Steven Ewing

Senior Conservation Scientist, Conservation Science

Background

My research at the RSPB tackles a range of questions related to understanding the consequences of global climate change on sensitive species and investigating potential conservation measures promoting adaption to climate impacts.

Much of this work focuses on using large and long-term population datasets to examine putative climate impacts in rare and declining upland bird species in the UK. For example, working with colleagues at Aberdeen University, an important recent focus has been investigating the role of climate change and nitrogen pollution in the decline of dotterel, one of the UK's few truly montane bird species. Another collaborative project with colleagues in Iceland and Norway uses state-space models and long-term population count data to understand whether changing winter sea-surface temperatures account for large-scale changes in Northern European Slavonian grebe populations.

As well as birds, my research interests encompass climate change impacts in invertebrates, notably butterflies and craneflies. I lead RSPB's developing scientific research on the mountain ringlet butterfly, an important component of which is developing habitat management prescriptions to increase climate change resilience in this species.

I have growing research interest in landscape scale conservation planning, and particularly whether providing 'bigger, better and joined-up' landscapes can increase resilience of species to climate change. A current project is modelling the response of woodland grouse under different landscape and climate change scenarios.
Other assorted research interests include the use of tracking technologies to better understand fine- and large-scale species movements, bird survey and monitoring methods and conservation genetics of small and bottlenecked populations, particularly assessed using pedigree-based statistical genetics.

Partners and Collaboration

  • Prof Rene van der Wal, University of Aberdeen
  • Prof Des Thompson, Scottish Natural Heritage
  • Dr Jenny Hodgson, University of Liverpool
  • Dr Lukas Keller, University of Zurich

Contact

Steve Ewing

Dr Steven Ewing

Senior Conservation Scientist, Conservation Science

Scotland Headquarters, 2 Lochside View, Edinburgh Park, Edinburgh, EH12 9DH

steven.ewing@rspb.org.uk

Research Gate

Specialisms

Climate change New methods and technologies UK species Upland

Selected Publications

Changes in the abundance and distribution of a montane bird, the Dotterel, in the UK over 25 years

Capsule: The number of Dotterel breeding in the UK declined by 57% between 1987/88 and 2011, from 980 to 423 breeding males; there has been a contraction of the species’ geographical range as well as declining numbers on core sites.

Date
22 September 2015
RSPB Authors
Dr Daniel Hayhow, Dr Steven Ewing, Dr Mark Eaton
Authors
Hayhow, D.B., Ewing, S.R., Baxter, A., Douse, A., Stanbury, A., Whitfield, D.P. & Eaton, M.A
Published in
Bird Study
View publication Details
Dotterel UK UK species

Effects of sea temperature and stratification changes on seabird breeding success

As apex predators in marine ecosystems, seabirds may primarily experience climate change impacts indirectly, via changes to their food webs. Observed seabird population declines have been linked...

Date
06 October 2015
RSPB Authors
Dr Matthew Carroll, Dr Ellie Owen, Dr Steven Ewing, Dr Mark Bolton
Authors
Carroll, M., Butler, A., Owen, E., Ewing, S.R., Cole, T., Green, J.A., Soanes, L.M., Arnould, J.P.Y., Newton, S.F., Baer, J., Daunt, F., Wanless, S., Newell, M.A., Robertson, G.S., Mavor, R.A. & Bolton, M.
Published in
Climate Research
View publication Details
Climate change Marine

The decline of Afro-Palaearctic migrants and an assessment of potential causes

There is compelling evidence that Afro-Palaearctic (A-P) migrant bird populations have declined in Europe in recent decades, often to a greater degree than resident or short-distance migrants. There a...

Date
01 January 2014
RSPB Authors
Dr Juliet Vickery, Dr Steven Ewing, Prof Richard Gregory
Authors
Vickery, Juliet A. and colleagues
Published in
Ibis
View publication Details
International Identifying problems International species

Effects of weather variation on a declining population of Slavonian grebes Podiceps auritus

There is an urgent need to develop a detailed understanding of the impacts of climate change on potentially sensitive species of conservation concern...

Date
12 June 2013
RSPB Authors
Dr Steven Ewing, Prof Jeremy Wilson
Authors
Ewing, S. R., Benn, S., Cowie, N., Wilson, L. & Wilson, J.D.
Published in
Journal of Ornithology
View publication Details
Slavonian grebe Scotland Climate change UK species