- 2017–Present: PhD Researcher, Royal Holloway, University of London and Institute of Zoology, London
- 2016–2017: MRes in Advanced Biological Science, University of Southampton (Dist.).
- 2015–2016: Ecological Research Internship with University of Southampton and the Hampshire and IoW Wildlife Trust
- 2012–2015: BSc in Zoology, University of Southampton, 1st class (hons).
ResearchGate Lizzie Jones
I am fascinated by the variation in people’s perceptions of nature; how do people perceive ecological change, how consistent are their perceptions with scientific observations and what does nature mean to people in their everyday lives? I believe that understanding the demographic, experiential and socio-economic factors that shape each individual’s perceptions of nature will help to inform impactful conservation policy, drive positive change and more sustainable use of natural resources. Through my MRes research I am also interested in the concept of ecosystem services, especially the analysis and quantification of cultural ecosystem services for implementation into local planning and policy.
In ecological research, a shifted or shifting baseline describes a new basal state which has significantly diverged from the original system state. Shifting Baseline Syndrome (SBS) however, describes a social and psychological phenomenon by which individuals, communities or generations compare change in the ecological system against a single point of reference or 'baseline', often set at the beginning of their life or career. Valuable historical information is therefore lost and individuals are unable to accurately perceive long-term change beyond their own biographical experience.
SBS can be differentiated into two distinct forms of amnesia; so-called for the loss of knowledge that is fundamental to shifting baseline syndrome. Personal amnesia, describes a situation in which individuals cannot perceive ecological change over time, often recalling exaggerated conditions as the recollected ‘normal’. Conversely, generational amnesia, describes phenomena in which the baseline shifts from one generation to the next and whole communities can forget past conditions, often through lack of communication across age groups. Therefore, generational amnesia occurs when each new generation takes the new, degraded state of the ecosystem as their normal baseline upon which they gauge and perceive future change. Daniel Pauly was one of the first to introduce the concept of shifting baseline syndrome in the context of fisheries research and management, when he noticed that fellow academics often compared current ‘normal’ conditions to baselines set within their own career-span.
Through my PhD I aim to use a paired-data approach, comparing public perceptions of garden bird population change to biological datasets to diagnose the key demographic and experience-based factors contributing to the incidence of SBS in the UK and Finland in collaboration with the British Trust for Ornithology and LUOMOS Helsinki Lab of Ornithology. Equipped with this information, I hope to analyse the consequences of SBS on the effectiveness of conservation management and decision-making, with the aim to decipher the most effective methods to combat the effects of SBS for the benefit of ongoing conservation success.
Sarah Papworth, Royal Holloway, University of London
Samuel Turvey, Institute of Zoology
Organising an upcoming ZSL science and conservation event https://www.zsl.org/science/whats-on/indigenous-knowledge-and-conservation-management-challenges-and-opportunities