Biome Health – Tracking the response of wildlife across gradients of human pressure

This project is available from the academic year 2021/22 onwards.

Theme: Biodiversity, Ecology & Conservation

Primary Supervisor:

Kate Jones

Genetics, Evolution and Environment, UCL

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Secondary Supervisor:

Chris Carbone

Biodiversity and Macroecology Theme, IOZ

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Project Description:

Declines in the abundance of many wildlife populations are generally well documented and the main drivers of these declines are also known, though correct attribution and estimating the extent of their impact can be difficult. Many studies report observed population changes and infer causal anthropogenic drivers, rather than quantifying the chain of effect from human action through to habitat changes and the subsequent impacts on biodiversity. Most existing data are correlational and not designed to compare across sites or among interventions.

This PhD project will contribute to the wider Biome Health Project (, which was explicitly designed to capture information on pressure, biodiversity status and response to conservation effort. By monitoring biome appropriate metrics of biodiversity (our measure of biome health) across a number of sites with varying levels of human pressure and where conservation efforts are underway, we quantify the relationship between pressure, response and solution for each biome.

The Biome Health Project currently investigates gradients of human influence at sites in Nepal (forest fragmentation), Kenya (livestock), Borneo (deforestation) and Fiji (fishing), and the PhD candidate can select which site they will work in based on their interests.

The wider project uses a number of conservation technologies, that the student will have at their disposal, such as: camera traps, acoustic sensors, diver-operated stereo-video systems, and tools to conduct 3D coral mapping

Policy Impact of Research:

The outcomes of this project will inform the development of targeted conservation practices that work for both people and wildlife and will be included in global indicators such as the WWF Living Planet Index.

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