Dr. Samuel Turvey
Senior Research Fellow
- 2009-present: Royal Society University Research Fellowship, Institute of Zoology.
- 2006-2009: NERC Postdoctoral Research Fellowship, Institute of Zoology.
- 2004-2006: Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship, Institute of Zoology.
- 2002-2003: Royal Society Banks Alecto Postdoctoral Fellowship, University of Canterbury, New Zealand.
- 1998-2002: NERC/CASE D.Phil student, Department of Earth Sciences, University of Oxford.
- 1995-1998: BA (Hons), Biological Sciences, University of Oxford.
My work encompasses both past and present human impacts on biodiversity, from research into the magnitude and dynamics of extinctions during the Late Pleistocene and Holocene, to science-based conservation management of some of the world's most highly threatened species.
I am interested in the history of Late Quaternary human-caused extinctions – their geographic, taxonomic and ecological patterns; their drivers, duration and ecosystem impacts; and the usefulness of this environmental history in developing conservation strategies for today’s threatened species. This research has focused mainly on reconstructing pre-human ecosystems and the chronology, dynamics, and patterns of vulnerability and resilience shown by prehistoric and historical-era vertebrate extinctions in evolutionarily innovative and ecologically fragile island systems, and in poorly-studied continental regions such as eastern Asia which are experiencing high levels of modern-day species loss.
To complement this research into past extinctions, I am interested in investigating the usefulness of novel sources of data - from historical archives to local ecological knowledge - for establishing a robust scientific evidence-base that can be used to inform effective conservation management, in particular for extremely rare species such as river dolphins, saola, and solenodons, that cannot be studied easily or effectively using standard ecological field methods. I am also heavily involved with developing methods for conservation prioritization, and am one of the founders of ZSL’s EDGE of Existence programme, which aims to support conservation projects for evolutionarily distinct and globally endangered species (hence the acronym) – species that represent branches rather than twigs on the Tree of Life – in order to prevent the imminent extinction of disproportionate amounts of biodiversity.
Turvey ST (Ed) (2009) Holocene Extinctions. Oxford University Press (352 pp).
Turvey ST (2008) Witness to Extinction: How We Failed to Save the Yangtze River Dolphin. Oxford University Press (234 pp).
"We passed slowly between soggy mud banks heavy with wet grass and the skeletons of trees … in front of the ship everything faded into a grey void. It was completely silent. We stood vigilantly on deck, peering out into the blankness. Everything felt poised and expectant...
...and then, ahead of us, the end of the side-channel condensed out from the grey air. We had seen nothing."
'At last someone is publicly mourning the tragic extinction of the Yangtze River dolphin. This is a highly authoritative, well written, thought-provoking and timely book'
– Mark Carwardine
Why not buy a copy and read it for yourself?
Publications on Caribbean vertebrate evolution, extinction and conservation:
Turvey ST, Fernández-Secades C, Nuñez-Miño JM, Hart T, Martinez P, Brocca JL, Young RP (2014) Is local ecological knowledge a useful conservation tool for small mammals in a Caribbean multicultural landscape? Biological Conservation 169: 189-197.
Hansford J, Nuñez-Miño JM, Young RP, Brace S, Brocca JL, Turvey ST (2012) Taxonomy-testing and the ‘Goldilocks Hypothesis’: morphometric analysis of species diversity in living and extinct Hispaniolan hutias. Systematics and Biodiversity 10: 491-507.
Dávalos LM, Turvey ST (2012) West Indian mammals: the old, the new, and the recently extinct. In: Patterson BD, Costa LP (Eds) Bones, Clones, and Biomes: The History and Geography of Recent Neotropical Mammals: 157-202. Chicago University Press, Chicago.
Turvey ST, Brace S, Weksler M (2012) A new species of recently extinct rice rat (Megalomys) from Barbados. Mammalian Biology 77: 404-413.
Brace S, Barnes I, Powell A, Pearson R, Woolaver LG, Thomas MG, Turvey ST (2012) Population history of the Hispaniolan hutia Plagiodontia aedium (Rodentia: Capromyidae): testing the model of ancient differentiation on a geotectonically complex Caribbean island. Molecular Ecology 21: 2239-2253.
Cooke S, Rosenberger AL, Turvey ST (2011) An extinct monkey from Haiti and the origins of the Greater Antillean primates. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA 108: 2699-2704.
Turvey ST, Weksler M, Morris EL, Nokkert M (2010) Taxonomy, phylogeny and diversity of the extinct Lesser Antillean rice rats (Sigmodontinae: Oryzomyini), with description of a new genus and species. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 160: 748-772.
Turvey ST (2010) Evolution of non-homologous venom delivery systems in West Indian insectivores? Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 30: 1294-1299.
Turvey ST (2010) A new historical record of macaws on Jamaica. Archives of Natural History 37: 348-351.
Turvey ST, Meredith HMR, Scofield RP (2008) Continued survival of Hispaniolan solenodon (Solenodon paradoxus) in Haiti. Oryx 42: 611-614.
Turvey ST, Oliver JR, Narganes Storde YM, Rye P (2007) Late Holocene extinction of Puerto Rican native land mammals. Biology Letters 3: 193-196.
Turvey ST, Grady FV, Rye P (2006) A new genus and species of ‘giant hutia’ (Tainotherium valei) from the Quaternary of Puerto Rico: an extinct arboreal quadruped? Journal of Zoology 270: 585-594.
Publications on Asian freshwater cetaceans:
Richman NI, Gibbons JM, Turvey ST, Akamatsu T, Ahmed B, Mahabub E, Smith BD, Jones JPG (2014) To see or not to see: investigating detectability of Ganges River dolphins using a combined visual-acoustic survey. PLoS ONE 9(5): e96811.
Zhao X, Wang D, Turvey ST, Taylor B, Akamatsu T (2013) Distribution patterns of Yangtze finless porpoises in the Yangtze River: implications for reserve management. Animal Conservation 16: 509-518.
Turvey ST, Risley CL, Moore JE, Barrett LA, Hao Y, Zhao X, Zhou K, Wang D (2013) Can local ecological knowledge be used to assess status and extinction drivers in a threatened freshwater cetacean? Biological Conservation 157: 352-360.
Mei Z, Huang S, Hao Y, Turvey ST, Gong W, Wang D (2012) Accelerating population decline of the Yangtze finless porpoise (Neophocaena asiaeorientalis asiaeorientalis). Biological Conservation 153: 192-200.
Turvey ST, Risley CL, Barrett LA, Hao Y, Wang D (2012) River dolphins can act as population trend indicators in degraded freshwater systems. PLoS ONE 7(5): e37902.
Huang S, Hao Y, Mei Z, Turvey ST, Wang D (2012) Common pattern of population decline for freshwater cetacean species in deteriorating habitats. Freshwater Ecology 57: 1266-1276.
Turvey ST (2010) Failure of the baiji recovery programme: conservation lessons for other endangered freshwater cetaceans. In: Ruiz M, Shostell JM (Eds) Biology, Evolution and Conservation of River Dolphins within South America and Asia: 377-394. Nova Science Publishers Inc., New York.
Turvey ST, Barrett LA, Hart T, Collen B, Hao Y, Zhang L, Zhang X, Wang X, Huang Y, Zhou K, Wang D (2010) Spatial and temporal extinction dynamics in a freshwater cetacean. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 277: 3139-3147.
Turvey ST, Barrett LA, Hao Y, Zhang L, Zhang X, Wang X, Huang Y, Zhou K, Hart T, Wang D (2010) Rapidly shifting baselines in Yangtze fishing communities and local memory of extinct species. Conservation Biology 24: 778-787.
Reeves RR, Brownell RL Jr, Gulland F, Smith BD, Turvey ST, Wang D (2009) Assessment of mortality of Irrawaddy dolphins in the Mekong River and recommendations for a population recovery plan. IUCN Cetacean Specialist Group Report. <downloadable from http://www.iucn-csg.org/?page_id=23>
Zhao X, Barlow J, Taylor BL, Pitman RL, Wang K, Wei Z, Stewart BS, Turvey ST, Akamatsu T, Reeves RR, Wang D (2008) Abundance and conservation status of the Yangtze finless porpoise in the Yangtze River, China. Biological Conservation 141: 3006-3018.
Li S, Akamatsu T, Wang D, Wang K, Dong S, Zhao X, Wei Z, Zhang X, Taylor B, Barrett LA, Turvey ST, Reeves RR, Stewart BS, Richlen M, Brandon JR (2008) Indirect evidence of boat avoidance behaviour of Yangtze finless porpoises. Bioacoustics 17: 174-176.
Turvey ST, Pitman RL, Taylor BL, Barlow J, Akamatsu T, Barrett LA, Zhao X, Reeves RR, Stewart BS, Pusser LT, Wang K, Wei Z, Zhang X, Richlen M, Brandon JR, Wang D (2007) First human-caused extinction of a cetacean species? Biology Letters 3: 537-540.
Turvey ST, Barrett LA, Braulik GT, Wang D (2006) Implementing the recovery programme for the Yangtze River dolphin. Oryx 40: 257-258.
Turvey ST, Barrett LA, Wang D, Reeves RR (2006) Conservation of the Yangtze River dolphin: emergency implementation meeting. Final report. Unpublished report. Download PDF (402.84 KB)
Other publications on conservation in eastern and southeast Asia:
Cunningham AA, Turvey ST, Zhou F, Meredith HMR, Guan W, Liu X, Sun C, Wang Z, Wu M (2015) Development of the Chinese giant salamander Andrias davidianus farming industry in Shaanxi Province, China: conservation threats and opportunities. Oryx doi: 10.1017/S0030605314000842
Pan Y, Wei G, Cunningham AA, Li S, Chen S, Milner-Gulland EJ, Turvey ST (2015) Using local ecological knowledge to assess the status of the Critically Endangered Chinese giant salamander Andrias davidianus in Guizhou Province, China. Oryx doi: 10.1017/S0030605314000830
Turvey ST, Trung CT, Quyet VD, Nhu HV, Thoai DV, Tuan VCA, Hoa DT, Kacha K, Sysomphone T, Wallate S, Hai CTT, Thanh NV, Wilkinson NM (2014) Interview-based sighting histories can inform regional conservation prioritization for highly threatened cryptic species. Journal of Applied Ecology doi: 10.1111/1365-2664.12382
Turvey ST, Pettorelli N (2014) Spatial congruence in language and species richness but not threat in the world’s top linguistic hotspot. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 218: 20141644.
Baillie JEM, Turvey ST, Waterman C (2009) Survival of Attenborough’s long-beaked echidna (Zaglossus attenboroughi) in New Guinea. Oryx 43: 146-148.
Other publications on Quaternary faunas and extinctions:
Brace S, Barnes I, Kitchener AC, Serjeantson D, Turvey ST (2014) Late Holocene range collapse in a former British seabird species. Journal of Biogeography 41: 1583-1589.
Crees JJ, Turvey ST (2014) Holocene extinction dynamics of Equus hydruntinus, a late-surviving European megafaunal mammal. Quaternary Science Reviews 91: 16-29.
Turvey ST, Tong H, Stuart AJ, Lister AM (2013) Holocene survival of Late Pleistocene megafauna in China: a critical review of the evidence. Quaternary Science Reviews 76: 156-166.
Randau M, Carbone C, Turvey ST (2013) Canine evolution in sabretoothed carnivores: natural selection or sexual selection? PLoS ONE 8(8): e72868.
Leonard SA, Risley CL, Turvey ST (2013) Could brown bears (Ursus arctos) have survived in Ireland during the Last Glacial Maximum? Biology Letters 9: 20130281.
Olson VA, Turvey ST (2013) The evolution of sexual dimorphism in New Zealand giant moa (Dinornis) and other ratites. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 280: 20130401.
Chatterjee HJ, Tse JSY, Turvey ST (2012) Using Ecological Niche Modelling to predict spatial and temporal distribution patterns in Chinese gibbons: lessons from the present and the past. Folia Primatologica 83: 85-99.
Turvey ST, Fritz SA (2011) The ghosts of mammals past: biological and geographical patterns of global mammalian extinction across the Holocene. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B 366: 2564-2576.
Turvey ST, Blackburn TM (2011) Determinants of species abundance in the Quaternary vertebrate fossil record. Paleobiology 37: 537-546.
Turvey ST, Cheke AS (2008) Dead as a dodo: the fortuitous rise to fame of an extinction icon. Historical Biology 20: 149-163.
Turvey ST, Risley CL (2006) Modelling the extinction of Steller's sea cow. Biology Letters 2: 94-97.
Turvey ST, Green OR, Holdaway RN (2005) Cortical growth marks reveal extended juvenile development in New Zealand moa. Nature 435: 940-943.
Turvey ST, Holdaway RN (2005) Postnatal ontogeny, population structure and extinction of the giant moa Dinornis. Journal of Morphology 265: 70-86.
Publications on conservation prioritization:
Nunes LA, Turvey ST, Rosindell J (2015) The price of conserving avian phylogenetic diversity: a global prioritization approach. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B 370: 20140004.
Collen B, Turvey ST, Waterman C, Meredith HMR, Kuhn TS, Baillie JEM, Isaac NJB (2011) Investing in evolutionary history: implementing a phylogenetic approach for mammal conservation. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B 366: 2611-2622.
Isaac NJB, Turvey ST, Collen B, Waterman C, Baillie JEM (2007) Mammals on the EDGE: conservation priorities based on threat and phylogeny. PLoS ONE 2(3): e296.
Other recent papers:
Carbone C, Turvey ST, Bielby J (2011) Intra-guild competition and its implications for one of the biggest terrestrial predators, Tyrannosaurus rex. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 278: 2682-2690.
Rowcliffe JM, Field J, Turvey ST, Carbone C (2008) Estimating animal density using camera traps without the need for individual recognition. Journal of Applied Ecology 45: 1228-1236.
Co-supervised PhD students:
- Ben Garrod (2010–). Primates of the Caribbean: using historical-era introductions of monkeys in the Lesser Antilles to understand rates of island evolution. University College London.
- Helen Meredith (2011–). Improving the impact of amphibian conservation programmes. Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology, University of Kent.
- Helen Nash (2013–). Distribution and conservation of the Chinese pangolin (Manis pentadactyla). National University of Singapore.
- Dominic Bennett (2013–). The evolutionary potential of living fossils. Imperial College London.
- James Hansford (2013–). The biology and extinction of the elephant birds. University of Southampton.
- Roseina Woods (2013–). Using ancient DNA to explore the evolution of Caribbean island mammals. Royal Holloway University of London.
- Paul Barnes (2015–). Cultural change and subsistence hunting in New Guinea: impacts on long-beaked echidnas and other large vertebrates. University College London.
- Lisa Mogensen (2015–). Identifying conservation solutions in data-poor environments: the Yangtze finless porpoise as a conservation case study. University College London.
Former PhD students:
- Selina Brace (2007–2010). Investigating the impact of Late Quaternary environmental changes using ancient DNA from small mammals. Royal Holloway University of London.
- Jennifer Crees (2009–2013). Dynamics of large mammal range collapse and extinction: evidence from the Holocene record of Europe. Imperial College, London.
- Jessica Bryant (2010–2014). Ecological and behavioural constraints on recovery of small populations: the Hainan gibbon as a conservation case study. University College London.
- Nadia Richman (2010–2014). River dolphins, fish and fisheries in Bangladesh: evaluating trends in mortality and indicator status. University of Bangor.
- Ros Kennerley (2010–2014). The ecology of the Hispaniolan solenodon and Hispaniolan hutia in agricultural and native forest systems in the Dominican Republic. University of Reading.