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Personal profile


I am Associate Professor in Ecology and Global Environmental Change with a keen interest in understanding biodiversity responses to anthropogenic change including land use and climate change. My research has been used to identify measures to protect endangered species and make human development more compatible with biodiversity conservation. This involves implementing on the ground conservation actions and identifying priority areas for conservation. Ultimately, humans should be able to thrive on our planet while leaving enough space for all other species and for ecosystems to deliver essential services. 

Research Interests

I am an ecologist with a focus on movement ecology, biogeography and ecological responses to global change.  My research involves identifying effective conservation measures to protect globally endangered species. I work with national and international governmental and non-governmental organisations to promote conservation actions. Some of my science and conservation work, done in collaboration with non-governmental organisations, has been included in the Wildlife comeback in Europe report. Additionally, my research quantified changes in butterfly distributions in response to climate change in the UK, as documented in the Living with Environmental Change report cardMy current research examines the impacts of anthropogenic activities (e.g. land use change and energy infrastructure) on biodiversity and tries to identify measures to minimize detrimental effects.

My fundamental research focuses in understanding the mechanisms and drivers behind individual variability in animal movement strategies, including dispersal and migration. I am interested in rewilding and in identifying conservation strategies for species that move across large geographic areas. My group is involved in developing and testing new animal tracking technologies (GSM, LoRa devices with multiple sensors) 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 fundamental changes in migratory behaviour.

 Research projects

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

- Birds on the Move (2020-2023). Co-I Portuguese Science Foundation funded grant. PI. Dr. Ines Catry. InBio/CIBIO. University of Porto.

- 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://whitestork.org/

We have studied the movement of white 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

Self-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). contact me if you are interested.

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

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

  • Post-graduate Teaching Director, overseeing MSc study at the School of Environmental Sciences
  • Director of the International Master in Applied Ecology at UEA http://www.imae.online/

Research Group or Lab Membership



Charlie Russell
ARIES DTP- PhD student (2023-2027)
Project: Identifying multi-scale exposure of anthropogenic threats to migratory birds


Karolina Zalewska
ARIES DTP- PhD student (2021-2025)
Project: Identifying microclimate refugia opportunities for biodiversity conservation under climate change


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


Past lab members


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. Website: https://martaacacio.com/ 


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


Kate Rogerson
NERC EnvEAST DTP PhD Student (2015-2019)
Project: Mechanisms driving changes in 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


Areas of Expertise

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


2009-present Academic (Lecturer, Senior Lecturer, Reader/Associate Professor) at the school of Environmental Sciences, UEA

2007-2009 Postdoctoral Researcher in animal movement at Washington State University, Oregon, USA

2003-2007 Postdoctoral Resarcher examining species range contractions due to climate change, at the Universities of Leeds and York

2003 - PhD in Ecology, School of Biological Sciences, UEA

1997-1999 - Project Manager, Liga para a Proteccao da Natureza, Portugal

1997 - Environmental Consultant

1997- MSc in Maths Applied to Biological Sciences, University of Lisbon

1995- BSc in Biology with Ecology, University of Lisbon, Portugal

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development 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

Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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