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Personal profile


I am Associate Professor/Reader in Ecology at the School of Environmental Sciences and the Director of the International Masters in Applied Ecology at UEA. I co-ordinate the Movetech Telemetry project aiming to develop new animal tracking technologies to understand wildlife responses to environmental change. My teaching is research led and I like to involve undergraduate and postgraduate students in my research. Before joining UEA, I was a Post-doctoral researcher at Washington State University studying the movement strategies of butterflies in Oregon, US. Prior to this I was a Postdoctoral researcher at the Universities of Leeds and York and examined the influence of climate change at the range boundaries of insect species in the UK. I have a PhD from UEA, a MSc in Applied Maths from the The University of Lisbon and my original BSc training was in Biology with Ecology also at the University of Lisbon. Prior to the PhD, I coordinated an EU LIFE Nature conservation project for a Portuguese Environmental NGO and worked for the Portuguese Environmental Agency as a consultant.


Research Interests

I am a conservation ecologist interested in movement ecology, biogeography and ecological responses to global change.  My early work identified measures to protect a globally endangered species and by working alongside non-governmental organisations we implemented effective conservation actions. This work was included in the Wildlife comeback in Europe report. 

At present, I am interested in understanding global patterns of distribution of biodiversity and the drivers and determinants underlying species range limits, at different spatial scales. The outputs and and models can be used to predict the effects of global environmental change and to inform the design of priority areas for conservation. My group is involved in developing and testing new animal tracking technologies aiming to investigate recent changes in animal movement strategies, for example, the establishment of non-migratory populations in previously wholly migratory species. Ultimately we are interested in the identifying the drivers and determinants underlying these recent changes in the migratory behaviour of animals.


 Research projects

I am involved in a several research projects as Principal Investigator (PI) and co-Investigator (co-I).

- Understanding heatwave damage through reproduction in insect systems (2020-2023). Co-I NERC standard grant. PI: Prof. Matt Gage UEA.

- SENSUM: Smart SENSing of landscapes Undergoing hazardous hydrogeological Movement (2020-2022). Co-I NERC Digital Environment. PI: Dr. Georgina Bennett, University of Exeter.

- BOULDER: Accounting for BOUlders in Landslide-flood Disaster Evaluation and Resilience. co-I NERC SHEAR catalyst. PI: Dr. Georgie Bennett, University of Exeter.

- Refugial Populations at Trailing-Edge Range Margins: Attributes, Survival and Conservation. Co-I NERC standard grant (2015-2018) PI: Prof. Chris Thomas, University of York

- Migratory decisions in a changing world: mechanisms and drivers of changing migratory behaviour (2013-16). PI NERC standard grant.

- Understanding the migratory behaviour of long-lived species and responses to global environmental change using state-of-the-art GPS/GSM loggers (2016). PI NERC, ELSA and NRP funded.

     Website: http://www.bto.org/science/migration/tracking-studies/stork-tracking

We have studied the movement of  Aldina Francowhite storks and quantified how important landfill resources are for the resident birds. We have shown that resident birds use their nests all year round and that storks nesting near landfill have smaller home ranges than storks breeding further away: http://movementecologyjournal.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s40462-016-0070-0

- Understanding causes and consequences of the extreme thermal sensitivity of male fertility using a model insect (2013-16). Co-I NERC standard grant. PI: Prof. Matt Gage, UEA

- The role of dispersal in species' ability to respond to climate change (2010-2013). PI NERC standard grant.

Development of animal tracking devices

I coordinate the Movetech Telemetry project at UEA, this is a collaboration with BTO and University of Porto, Portugal. We develop state-of-the-art tracking devices for wildlife that include multiple sensors (e.g. barometer, accelerometer).

NERC Proof-of-Concept (2016-2017) Long range wireless devices for high-resolution monitoring of animal movement. Co-Is JP Silva (UL e UP), P Atkinson (BTO)

Norwich Research Park Innovation Fund (2016) MoveTech – State-of-the art loggers for tracking animal movement. Co-Is JP Silva (UL e UP), P Atkinson (BTO)

 UEA Proof-of-Concept fund (2015) Development of light weight GPS/GSM loggers. Co-Is JP Silva, (UL e UP), P Atkinson (BTO)


 PhD and postdoctoral positions

Fully-funded PhD projects:

Designing protected areas networks that incorporate animal movement and habitat connectivity

Supervisors: Aldina Franco (UEA), Rachel Carmenta (DEV, UEA), Trevor Torhurst (ENV,UEA) and Carlos David Santos (Universidade Federal do Para', Brazil).

I am happy to accept PhD students and postdocs and to help develop funding applications (e.g Marie Curie, FCT studentships, SwB). My group has an international focus, I am fluent in Portuguese and Spanish.  

Click here for current PhD opportunities in the School of Environmental Sciences. However, feel free to email me to discuss projects outside these areas and alternative sources of funding.


Key Research Interests and Expertise

My research group works in four core research areas:

  • Unravelling the mechanisms underlying changes in dispersal capacity and migratory behaviour and their links to global environmental change
  • Development of niche theory and envelop models for native and non-native species
  • Conservation of endangered species
  • Selection of priority areas for conservation

These research areas come together to understand the mechanisms underlying species range changes, this information is essential to identify appropriate conservation measures for endangered species and biodiversity in a changing world.

The work of my research group and collaborators has shown that the southern range margin of northern butterfly species is retracting and this has been associated with recent temperature increases. Dispersal abilities vary dramatically between species and we have demonstrated that small scale movement parameters of species can help us understand species movement capacity in fragmented and heterogeneous landscapes.  

Native and non-native species distributions are changing presenting interesting challenges for the conservation of biodiversity and the establishment of effective protected areas. Some of the applications of my work include the identification of priority areas for conservation that account for species capacity to respond to environmental change. this is particularly interesting and challenging for migratory species that move across continents and have suffered sharp population declines in recent decades.

We interact with several Environmental NGOs (BTO, Birdlife International, Audubon Society, SEO, LPN, SPEA) based in the UK, Spain, Portugal and US, and aim to produce scientific evidence that can be used to design effective conservation measures aiming to protect endangered species and conserve biodiversity.

My group is dynamic and international.  I will be happy to establish new collaborations and supervise PhD students in the areas mentioned above.

Publications: EPrints Digital Repository

Key Responsibilities

  • Director of the International Master in Applied Ecology at UEA http://www.imae.online/ 

Research Group Membership


Rita Ramos
FCT- Portugal PhD student (2020-2024)
Project: Movement, behaviour and microclimate habitat requirements of endangered grassland birds in a warming world


Bruno Herlander
FCT- Portugal PhD student (2020-2024)

Project: Ecological and evolutionary implications of anthropogenic food subsidies on wildlife: the White-stork as a case study


Joao Gameiro
FCT- Portugal PhD student (2018-2022)

Project: Population and environmental drivers of long-term persistence of conservation reliant species


Jethro Gauld
NERC EnvEast DTP PhD student (2018-2022)

Project: Improving detection and estimation of birds’ collision risk with energy infrastructure


Ines Catry
Post-doctoral Research Fellow (2018-2023)

FCT Project: Effects of climate on the breeding biology, habitat quality and population dynamics of steppe birds http://www.isa.utl.pt/ceabn/membro/1/48/ines-catry   


Marta Acacio
NERC CDT NEXUSS PhD Student (2018-2021)
Project: The influence of environmental variables on the migratory behaviour of white storks


Claire Buchan
NERC Env EAST DPT PhD Student (2017-2021)
Project: Demographic consequences of different migratory strategies in a partially migratory species


Past lab members


Kate Rogerson
NERC EnvEAST DTP PhD student (2015-2019)
Project: Mechanisms driving changes in the migratory behaviour of long-lived birds in response to global environmental change


Marta Acacio - Research assistant (2013-2017)
NERC Proof-of-concept: Long-range wireless devices for high-resolution monitoring of animal movement https://www.uea.ac.uk/movetech/home 


Phil Saunders
NERC Case PhD student (2012-2016)
Project: The role of habitat and climate change in recent declines in Eastern and Western populations of European rollers (Coracias garrulus)


Osgur McDermott Long
PhD student (2013-2017)
Project: Response of Biodiversity to Climate Variability and Climate Change


James Gilroy
Post-doctoral Research Fellow (2014-2016)

NERC Project: Migratory decisions in a changing world: mechanisms and drivers of changing migratory behaviour -http://www.uea.ac.uk/lesser-kestrel-migration/ 


Nathalie Gilbert
NERC PhD student CASE project with BTO (2011-2015)

Project: The role of climate and habitat changes in changing species migratory decisions and population dynamics


Ricardo Correia
FCT  PhD student (2010-2014)

Project: Climate change effects on land use and bird communities of Iberian Peninsula extensive agricultural systems: a conservation approach (with J. Palmeirim, University of Lisbon)


Martin Sullivan
NERC PhD student (2010-2013)
Project: Environmental and climatic factors that influence current and future distributions of non-native breeding bird species in Southern Europe


Audrey Zannese
Post-doctoral Research Fellow (PDRA) (2010-2013)

NERC project: The role of dispersal on species’ ability to respond to climate change


Eveliina Kallioniemi
UEA PhD student (2009-2013)
Project: The role of dispersal on species ability to track climate change


Climate change effects on biodiversity; agri-environmental policies and its effects on biodiversity; conservation of endangered species; selection of priority areas for conservation; habitat fragmentation, dispersal and movement of species.

Teaching Interests

My core teaching is research lead.  I teach ecology to undergraduate and postgraduate students and my teaching includes several links to my research on ecological responses to environmental change.

  • ENV-4001A Global Environmental Challenges
  • ENV-5014A Population Ecology and Management
  • ENV-MA13 GIS and its Applications for Modelling Ecological and Environmental Change

Administrative Posts

Director of Postgraduate Taught Programmes at the School of Environmental Sciences

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Devlopment Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 13 - Climate Action
  • SDG 15 - Life on Land


Recent external collaboration on country/territory level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots or