Species distribution models
Co-existence between wildlife and people
My primary research interest lies within conservation palaeobiology, particularly how fossil records can be better integrated into modern conservation strategies.
This includes how past records can be incorporated into species distribution models to reduce the effects of species-environment truncation and produce more accurate habitat suitability projections. I am also interested in the effectiveness of protected area networks, especially under different climate change scenarios, and human-wildlife conflict.
My PhD project will utilise the Late Quaternary (last 400,000 years) fossil record of the dhole (Cuon alpinus, Pallas 1811) to inform the species’ modern conservation initiatives.
This will include using past records (fossil and historical) to construct species distribution models, under current and future climate change scenarios, and to assess the effectiveness of protected area networks.
The dhole is a medium-sized evolutionary distinct canid, currently distributed across Southeast Asia. Despite being threatened by prey depletion, habitat destruction and competition, very little is known about the dhole’s distribution and ecology. Populations reside mainly in protected areas for other charismatic species, but their adequacy for dhole conservation is undetermined. Species distribution models (SDMs) that relate georeferenced occurrence records to environmental variables could be used to identify suitable dhole conservation strategies.
However, modern dhole distribution data is sparse and heavily influenced by human interactions. Incorporating the dholes Pleistocene fossil record into models could reduce the effects of species-environment truncation and broaden understanding of the dholes’ ecological niche. My PhD project aims to address these issues by:
- Producing a robust and quality assured chronology of the dhole’s distribution from the Middle Pleistocene onwards
- Quantifying the uncertainty in the dholes modern and fossil records using Bayesian approaches
- Assessing the contribution of fossil records to dhole ecology and conservation.
- Dr David Redding (IoZ),
- Professor Simon Blockley (RHUL)
- Professor Danielle Schreve (RHUL)
If you would like more information on my PhD project or to get in touch, please email me.