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.
- 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