- 2010-Present: PhD Student, Institute of Zoology and Imperial College London.
- 2009-2010: Consultant, 2010 Biodiversity Indicator Partnership, UNEP-WCMC.
- 2008-2009: MSc Ecology, Evolution & Conservation, Imperial College London.
- 2007-2008: Research Assistant, Dzanga-Sangha Project, Central African Republic.
- 2006-2007: Sampled Red List Index Intern, Institute of Zoology.
- 2003-2006: BA Zoology, University of Cambridge
Given unprecedented global rates of habitat loss and fragmentation, I’m interested in ways of quantifying what we are losing, and how, in terms of biodiversity and ecosystem function. This serves as a natural, and indeed necessary, first step towards finding ways to stop or ameliorate these losses, for example by better placement of conservation set-aside.
Much work has focussed on modelling and predicting global extinctions but, in order to link real world management and conservation decisions to their ecological consequences, we need more information on extinction at the landscape scale. This represents a more complex undertaking, because it involves modelling occurrence and population abundance through time, rather than just presence-absence. Our knowledge of landscape extinction dynamics through time is currently sparse, purely because of the difficulty of conducting large-scale habitat manipulations.
The island of Borneo, with its ever-expanding oil palm estate, forms the context for my PhD research and, specifically, the Bornean mammals, which remain poorly known because of their inherently rare and cryptic nature. I’ll be investigating mammalian community responses to a primary→logged→oil palm gradient of land-use, which is the most common route to forest loss in this part of the world. To do this, I’ll be using a variety of methods, including both camera- and live-trapping, as well as more traditional survey work, and combining these with recent advances in modelling animal occurrence and space-use.
A unique aspect of this study will be the tracking of community changes in time, by sampling immediately before and after a planned conversion of forest to oil palm. This forms part of the Stability of Altered Forest Ecosystems (SAFE) Project: a long-term, large-scale forest fragmentation experiment, which has the potential to become a landmark study in South East Asia, comparable to the Biological Dynamics of Forest Fragments (BDFFP) Project in the New World. The outputs of my PhD will hopefully feed directly into ongoing efforts to ameliorate the biodiversity impacts of oil palm plantations, as well as providing important baseline data for a proposed World Heritage Site, the Maliau Basin Conservation Area.
Dr. Robert Ewers (Imperial College London)
Dr. Chris Carbone (Institute of Zoology)
Dr. Marcus Rowcliffe (Institute of Zoology)
Stability of Altered Forest Ecosystems Project
Royal Society South East Asia Rainforest Research Programme
Yayasan Sabah – Conservation and Environmental Management Division
Universiti Malaysia Sabah - Institute for Tropical Biology & Conservation
Forest Ecology and Conservation Research Group
Wearn OR, Reuman DC, Ewers RM. (2012) Extinction debt and windows of conservation opportunity in the Brazilian Amazon. Science 337: 228-232. http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.1219013
Ewers RM, Marsh CJ, Wearn OR. (2010) Making statistics biologically relevant in fragmented landscapes. Trends Ecol. Evol 25: 699-704. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.tree.2010.09.008