Dr. Jessica Bryant
- 2014 – Present: Postdoctoral Researcher, Hainan gibbon Conservation Programme, Institute of Zoology (ZSL), London, UK
- 2013 – Present: Member, Section on Small Apes (SSA) Primate Specialist Group, IUCN Species Survival Commission
- 2010 – 2014: PhD Candidate, University College London and Institute of Zoology, London, UK
- 2009 – 2010: Research Officer, Fire Ecology Unit, Department of Environment & Climate Change (DECC), Sydney, Australia
- 2006 –2007: Research Officer, Vertebrate Ecology Unit, DECC, Sydney, Australia
- 2008: Visiting Researcher, Laboratoire d'Ecophysiologie Végétale Agronomie, Université de Caen, Caen, France
- 2008: Research Assistant, Department of Animal & Plant Sciences, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, UK
- 2006 – 2008: Executive Officer DECC Animal Ethics Committee, DECC, Sydney, Australia
- 2002 – 2005: Bachelor of Science, Honours: 1st Class (Biological Ecology), University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia
My interest lies in how we can inform and improve the conservation management of species of extreme rarity -species that are not just Critically Endangered, but persist in single, geographically restricted populations reduced to only a handful of individuals, and constitute those species on the very brink of extinction. For such species, delays in decision-making can mean the difference between extinction and recovery.
The number of this type of species is set to increase as human pressures on global ecosystems continue to intensify, and more and more species continue to decline. Therefore, it is vital to develop methods that enable identification of appropriate and/or necessary conservation management actions for such species if we hope to save them.
Although evidence-based conservation planning is crucial for informing timely, effective management decisions for threatened species, unfortunately their very rarity makes them inherently difficult to study, and collection of robust data can be extremely challenging. So, as more species decline, we need to know which conventional tools we can use and the extent to which standard scientific approaches can inform conservation planning for species of extreme rarity.
My doctoral research at the Institute of Zoology (ZSL) and University College London focused on developing a more robust scientific evidence base for the Critically Endangered Hainan gibbon (Nomascus hainanus). The Hainan gibbon is the world’s rarest ape, rarest primate and one of the world’s rarest mammals, with a single population of an estimated 25 individuals surviving a small patch (c.15 km2) of suboptimal forest within Bawangling National Nature Reserve, on Hainan Island, China. Through my research, I derived comprehensive new baseline data on Hainan gibbon ecology, behaviour and genetics to clarify the species’ biology and population status, and inform urgently required conservation management for the species.
My current postdoctoral work builds upon this by aiming to conduct and co-ordinate top-priority research activities required to inform targeted conservation management of the surviving population of Hainan gibbons, in line with the recommendations of the 2014 International Conservation Planning Workshop for the Hainan Gibbon, coordinated by our ZSL Hainnan gibbon conservation team and held in Bo’ao, Hainan, in March 2014. Key goals include developing novel monitoring technologies for the surviving gibbon population, and exploring appropriate methods to reconnect the fragmented Bawangling forest landscape and allow wider gibbon movement and dispersal.
I am also currently involved in conservation research and planning for the Critically Endangered Cao Vit gibbon (Nomascus nasutus), in collaboration with Fauna and Flora International-Vietnam and Vietnam National University, and hope to expand my focus to include other mammals of extreme rarity in Asia in the near future.
Turvey S.T., Traylor-Holzer K., Wong M.H.G., Bryant J.V., Zeng Xingyuan, Hong Xiaojiang, Long Yongcheng (eds.) (2015) International Conservation Planning Workshop for the Hainan Gibbon: Final Report. Zoological Society of London, London / IUCN SSC Conservation Breeding Specialist Group, Apple Valley, MN.International (PDF available at: http://www.cbsg.org and www.zsl.org).
Bryant, J.V., Gottelli, D., Zeng, X., Hong, X., Chan, B.P.L., Fellowes, J.R., Zhang, Y., Luo, J., Durrant, C., Geissmann, T., Chatterjee, H.J., & Turvey, S.T. (Submitted) Assessing current genetic status of the Hainan gibbon using historical and demographic baselines: implications for conservation management of species of extreme rarity. Molecular Ecology.
Bryant, J.V., Olson, V., Chatterjee, H.J., & Turvey, S.T. (Submitted) Comparative analysis of intrinsic versus extrinsic correlates of gibbon ranging behaviour and social organisation. BMC Evolutionary Biology.
Bryant, J.V., Zeng, X., Hong, X., Chatterjee, H.J., & Turvey, S.T. (in prep.) The spatiotemporal requirements of the Hainan gibbon (Nomascus hainanus): an examination of the extent to which home range may constrain the recovery of the world’s rarest ape.
Bryant J.V. (2014) Developing a Conservation Evidence-Base for the Critically Endangered Hainan Gibbon (Nomascus hainanus). PhD thesis, University College London.
Crowther, M.S., McAlpine, C.A., Lunney, D., Shannon, I. & Bryant, J.V. (2009) Using broad-scale, community survey data to compare species’ conservation strategies across regions: A case study of the koala in adjacent catchments. Ecological Management & Restoration 10 (S1), S88-S96.
Lunney, D., Crowther, M.S., Bryant, J.V. & Shannon, I. (2009) Combining a map-based public survey with an estimation of site occupancy to determine the recent and changing distribution of the koala in New South Wales. Wildlife Research 36, 262–273.
Banks, P.B. & Bryant, J.V. (2007) Four-legged friend or foe? Dog walking displaces birds from natural areas. Biology Letters 3, 611-613.
2014: Arcus Foundation, US $200,000; “Building a future for the Hainan gibbon: implementing priority recovery actions from the 2014 Conservation Planning Workshop”
2010 –2013: UCL Overseas Research Scholarship and UCL Department of Genetics, Evolution & Environment Harold and Olga Fox Studentship Fund (3 years)
2013: Arcus Foundation, GB £75,348; “Developing a long-term recovery programme for the Hainan gibbon (Nomascus hainanus), the world’s rarest ape”
2011: Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund, US $15,000; “Conserving the Hainan gibbon: developing a detailed evidence-base”
2010: Ocean Park Conservation Foundation Hong Kong, HK $150,000; “An investigation of the ecological and behavioural constraints on the recovery of the world's rarest ape, the Hainan Gibbon (Nomascus hainanus): a conservation case-study”