Dr Tony Morris

Senior Conservation Scientist, Conservation Science

Background

My research focuses on the ecology of lowland arable farmland birds. I have nearly 25 years of experience (at the RSPB and the Universities of Reading and Oxford) and 35 peer-reviewed publications in researching the causes of decline and developing conservation solutions in this sector.

At the RSPB, I have worked on a wide variety of projects diagnosing the problems and finding conservation solutions for declining species such as yellowhammer, skylark, turtle dove and yellow wagtail. I have led on solutions such as skylark plots and seed mixes for turtle dove which have subsequently been adopted as options in agri-environment schemes.

I have also been involved with monitoring the effectiveness of agri-environment schemes in England and Wales. I manage a great team of scientists who work with landowners, farmers and government agencies, NGOs, students and others in the RSPB to ensure conservation measures are practical and effective. I manage a team of staff (currently, Derek Gruar, Andrew Bladon and a variable number of students and research assistants each year) within the Research Delivery Section of the RSPB’s Centre for Conservation Science.

Across the RSPB and externally, I provide mentoring and training in skills such as data management and analysis, scientific publishing, conservation management as well as numerous field skills - particularly nest finding, bird identification and behaviour and agronomy.

External Activities

  • 2014 to present: Representative on the Black Grass Resistance Initiative, Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) & Home-Grown Cereals Authority (HGCA)
  • 2016 to present: Conservation Grade Technical Advisory Panel
  • 2011: Guest Editor, Agricultural Ecosystems & Environment
  • 2012 to present: Operation Turtle Dove Technical Committee member

Partners and Collaboration

  • Prof Ken Norris, Zoological Society of London, Black Grass Resistance Initiative
  • Prof Richard Pywell, Centre for Ecology & Hydrology - cover crops & sustainable arable farming
  • Prof Simon Potts and Mr Brin Hughes, Conservation Grade - nature friendly farming and Operation Turtle Dove

Contact

Tony Morris

Dr Tony Morris

Senior Conservation Scientist, Conservation Science

The Lodge, Potton Road, Sandy, Bedfordshire, SG19 2DL

tony.morris@rspb.org.uk

Research Gate

Specialisms

Agriculture Identifying problems UK species

Selected Publications

Sustainable Arable Farming For an Improved Environment (SAFFIE): Managing winter wheat sward structure for skylarks Alauda arvensis

Research has shown a close correlation between the decline of the UK Skylark Alauda arvensis population and the replacement of spring-sown cereals with winter-sown varieties, in which advanced sward...

Date
16 November 2004
RSPB Authors
Dr Tony Morris
Authors
Morris, A.J., Holland, J.M, Smith, B. & Jones, N.E.
Published in
Ibis
View publication Details
Skylark England Agriculture

Indirect effects of pesticides on breeding yellowhammer (Emberiza citrinella)

Intensification of agriculture is believed to have caused declines in farmland bird populations. One of the key elements of recent agricultural intensification is the increased use of pesticides. However...

Date
01 January 2005
RSPB Authors
Dr Tony Morris, Dr Richard Bradbury, Prof Jeremy Wilson
Authors
Morris, A. J., Wilson, J.D., Whittingham, M.J. & Bradbury, R.B.
Published in
Agriculture Ecosystems & Environment
View publication Details
Yellowhammer England Agriculture Identifying problems UK species

Higher-tier agri-environment scheme enhances breeding densities of some priority farmland birds in England

Agri-environment schemes (AES) are the main policy mechanism available to reverse the widespread losses of farmland biodiversity across Europe. Previous examples of AES enhancing the abundance of farmland birds have been restricted to...

Date
23 January 2015
RSPB Authors
Dr Tony Morris, Dr Rob Field, Dr Leila Walker, Dr Will Peach
Authors
Bright, J.A., Morris, T., Field, R.H., Cooke, A.I., Grice; P.V., Walker, L., Fern, J. & Peach, W.
Published in
Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment 203: 69-79
View publication Details
England Agriculture UK species

Twenty years of local farmland bird conservation: the effects of management on avian abundance at two UK demonstration sites

Capsule: At two demonstration farms, Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust's Loddington Farm in Leicestershire and Royal Society for the Protection of Birds's Hope Farm in Cambridgeshire, targeted management led to much faster increases in avian abundance than in the surrounding regions...

Date
13 October 2015
RSPB Authors
Dr David Gibbons, Dr Tony Morris, Dr Will Peach
Authors
Aebischer, N.J., Bailey, C.M., Gibbons, D., Morris, A.J., Peach, W.J. & Stoate, C.
Published in
Bird Study
View publication Details
UK Agriculture

Testing bespoke management of foraging habitat for European Turtle Doves Streptopelia turtur

Agri-environment schemes (AES) are increasingly being employed to mitigate against biodiversity loss in agricultural environments. The European Turtle Dove Streptopelia turtur is an obligate granivorous bird in rapid decline within both the UK (-96% since 1970) and across...

Date
25 February 2015
RSPB Authors
Dr Jenny Dunn
Authors
Dunn, J.C., Morris, A.J. & Grice, P.V.
View publication Details
Turtle dove International Agriculture