Dr. Jennifer Crees
Postgraduate Research Assistant
- 2014: Research assistant, Institute of Zoology, ZSL
- 2014: Consultant, Rewilding Europe
- 2013-2014: Research consultant, WWF International and Institute of Zoology, ZSL
- Jan-April 2012: POST Fellow, Science and Technology Select Committee, House of Commons.
- 2009-2013: PhD Student, Institute of Zoology and Imperial College, London.
- 2008-2009: Policy Assistant, Sustainable Development Commission, Defra.
- 2007-2008: Research Intern, Institute of Zoology, ZSL.
- 2006-2007: MSc Conservation Biology, DICE, University of Kent (Distinction).
- 2003-2006: BA (Hons) Archaeology and Anthropology, University of Oxford.
My broad interests lie in combining ecological and historical approaches to further our understanding of patterns of current day biodiversity and biodiversity loss. In particular I am interested in the nature of historical and prehistoric human impacts on species and ecosystems, and in applying knowledge of past ecosystems to inform the conservation of present day threatened biodiversity.
The Holocene Epoch, from around 11,500 years ago to the present has witnessed large numbers of anthropogenically-driven species extinctions and regional extirpations, yet these processes remain poorly studied in comparison to end-Pleistocene or present day extinctions. In particular, a substantial amount of conservation research has focused on identifying intrinsic and extrinsic correlates of extinction risk among species, yet little is still understood about other fundamental aspects of species decline such as the biogeography of range collapse and extinction, even in otherwise well-studied vertebrate groups. Such studies also tend to be temporally limited, typically containing inherent ‘extinction-filters’ by excluding extinct populations and species.
My project used data from the extensive Holocene record of Europe (comprising zooarchaeological, paleontological and historical records) to model timings, patterns and drivers of range collapse, regional extirpation and extinction among large mammals in the western Palaearctic over the preceding 10,000 years. The results yielded implications for a number of fields of research including macroecology, zooarchaeology and the conservation of threatened extant megafauna, including informing reintroductions and debates on ‘rewilding’.
My PhD was supervised by Prof. Georgina Mace (Imperial College London), Dr. Samuel Turvey (IoZ) and Dr. Chris Carbone (IoZ). I was funded by NERC with IoZ as a CASE partner.
Conservation and policy
I am also interested in how we can use scientific information to best influence policy, and have worked for the UK government and Parliament in sustainable development and science policy. I have also carried out consultancy research for WWF International, investigating factors that influence the success of conservation recovery programmes, and for Rewilding Europe, helping them to develop their flagship policy document on bison rewilding.
Crees, J.J., Turvey, S.T., Freeman, R. and Carbone, C. Human population density predicts mammalian extirpations across Holocene Europe. (In review).
Sommer, R.S. and Crees, J.J. Late Quaternary biogeography of small carnivores in Europe. In: Do Linh San, E., Sato, J., Belant, J.L. & Somers, M. (eds) Small carnivores in space and time: evolution, ecology, behavior and conservation. Blackwell. (In review).
Durant, S. et al. (2014) UK bill could prompt biodiversity loss. Nature, 512: 253. doi:10.1038/512253a.
Verissimo, D., Smith, R.J., MacMillan, D.C., Crees. J. and Davies, Z.G. (2014) Has climate change taken prominence over biodiversity conservation? BioScience, 74 (7), 625-629. doi: 10.1093/biosci/biu079.
Crees, J.J. and Turvey, S.T. (2014) Holocene extinction dynamics of Equus hydruntinus, a late-surviving European megafaunal mammal. Quaternary Science Reviews, 91: 16-29. doi: 10.1016/j.quascirev.2014.03.003.
Policy and consultancy reports:
Bison Rewilding Plan. Rewilding Europe, advised by Zoological Society of London. 2014.
Crees, J.J., Collins, A. and Turvey, S.T. Drivers of extinction: using lessons from past and current mammalian recovery programmes to improve future conservation strategies. Internal report to WWF International (Conservation Strategy and Performance Unit and Global Species Programmes). April 2014.
House of Commons Science and Technology Committee. Building scientific capacity for development. (HC 2012-13, 377).
Sustainable Development Commission (2009) Sustainable Development in Government (SDiG) 2008: Challenges for Government. London.
Sustainable Development Commission (2009) Breakthroughs for the twenty-first century. London.