Jonathan Lewis

Jonathan Lewis

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Jonathan Lewis

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Start Year

2015 (Cohort 2)

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PhD Project
PhD Title

The contribution of managed ponds to avian diversity and abundance on farms in lowland England

Research Theme

Biodiversity and Ecology

Primary Supervisor
Primary Institution


Secondary Supervisor
Secondary Institution


CASE Partner

Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust (WWT)

CASE Supervisor


British farmland bird populations have declined by 54% since 1970. Intensification of agriculture and associated declines of habitat heterogeneity have been linked to the depletion of the three main requirements of birds: availability of nesting habitat, invertebrate abundance over the breeding season and seed abundance throughout winter. Agri-environment schemes have been unsuccessful in reversing overall bird population declines. This is largely due to a mismatch between conservation measures adopted and local biodiversity requirements. Currently, a majority of the UK’s agricultural ponds have not been managed for several decades and as a result are highly terrestrialised. Research has shown that managed ponds support higher levels of invertebrate, plant and amphibian diversity and abundance. However, the role traditionally managed farmland ponds potentially play in supporting farmland bird populations remains largely unexplored. This project will investigate the year-round contribution of a complex of managed and unmanaged farmland ponds in North Norfolk towards supporting avian diversity and abundance, invertebrate abundance and seed abundance. Furthermore, a set of unmanaged ponds will be managed and the response of avian communities will be monitored over a two-year period.

Policy Impact
Background Reading



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