Adham Aston-Butt, British Trust for Ornithology
James Gilroy, School of Environmental Sciences
Phil Atkinson, British Trust for Ornithology
Biodiversity is rapidly declining in response to human induced global environmental change. Migratory birds are particularly at risk having experienced large population declines in recent decades(1). The identification of areas where migratory birds have increased mortality risks is key to inform conservation strategies and to develop appropriate mitigation measures(2). This project will collect new data for Greater Spotted Eagle (Aquila clanga) and will combine new and existing GPS tracking data, for a wide range of taxa(5), with environmental change threat layers, obtained from remote sensing datasets(4), to identify threat hotspots across migratory pathways. The results will be used to identify priority areas for conservation and to recommend mitigation measures that will reduce migratory birds’ exposure to anthropogenic threats.
The project will use existing GPS tracking datasets for 28 migratory species (from Movebank.org) and gather new data for a focal model species (Greater Spotted Eagle), to examine exposure to anthropogenic threats(4) across breeding, non-breeding areas and migratory routes in the Afro-Palearctic region. This project will quantify the time birds, with different levels of vulnerability, are exposed to a variety of threats and will examine links to population trends from European wide count data (EBBA2). For select species, it will be possible to examine if breeding success metrics, overall body acceleration information and other migration energy expenditure metrics are influenced by exposure to threats.
The project will use theoretical and practical ecological skills. With the supervisors, in the field, you will be trapping, manipulating and deploying tracking devices on wild animals and will then analyse the animal movement data obtained. You will explore datasets using R, and investigate which threat layers, obtained from remote sensing datasets, most contribute to the decline of migratory species. Together with BTO co-supervisors, you will be identifying and designing practical mitigation actions to reduce threat exposure and to protect migratory species.
You should have a good degree in the life sciences, relevant research experience, and be keen to advance scientific understanding of our natural environment. This project is available to highly numerate candidates. Contact supervisor Aldina Franco for further details: firstname.lastname@example.org