Conservation

I do not identify myself as working in conservation but what I do has relevance to conservation and I have supervised a number of students who have had explicitly conservation orientated projects.

Most recently, Jan Stipala graduated with a University of Exeter PhD on Chameleon Diversity in East Africa. He investigated the distribution, ecology, molecular and morphological variation in the chameleon fauna from the highlands of East and Central Africa. He documented the presence of undescribed (cryptic) species and highlighted potential areas of endemism and conservation interest. He also assessed the impact of anthropogenic change on the distribution of chameleons, particularly as many species are range restricted and linked to specific habitats and climatic zones.

Charlie Ellis (http://biosciences.exeter.ac.uk/cec/staff/postgradresearch/index.php?web_id=Charlie_Ellis)  started his PhD work in 2012 looking at the sustainability of the Cornish lobster fishery, funded by ESF.

Mhairi McFarlane studied the ecology of the Cape Sugarbird, endemic to Cape Province South Africa and we demonstrated that it has an amazingly high rate of extra-pair young. About 75% of all offspring are fathered by a male other than the social mate of their mother.

Cats are fast becoming the UK’s commonest pet. They do, however, have a huge impact on the local fauna. In her PhD Mairead MacLean showed the impact of cat predation on local bird and small mammal populations in rural Scotland. In the right conditions cat predation could be substantial with cats killing about 7 times more prey than they return to their owners house.

Stipala, J. Lutzmann, N., Malonza, PK., Borghesio, L., Wilkinson, P., Godley, B., Evans, M.R. (2011). A new species of chameleon (Sauria: Chamaeleonidae) from the highlands of northwest Kenya. Zootaxa 3002: 1-16

McFarlane M.L., Cherry M.I. & Evans M.R. (2010) Female Cape sugarbirds (Promerops caffer) modify egg investment both for extra-pair males and male tail length. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 23: 1998-2003. doi: 10.1111/j.1420-9101.2010.02067.x

McFarlane, M., Evans, M.R. Feldheim, K., Preault, M., Bowie, R., & Cherry, M.I. (2010) Long tails matter – positively for extra-pair, negatively for within-pair fertilization success. Behavioral Ecology 21: 26-32. doi: 10.1093/beheco/arp147

Shaw, L.M., Chamberlain, D. & Evans, M.R. (2008) The house sparrow Passer domesticus in urban areas: reviewing a possible link between post-decline distribution and human socioeconomic status. Journal of Ornithology 149, 293-299. doi:10.1007/s10336-008-0285-y

MacLean, M.M., Carslake, D.J., Evans, M.R., Townley, S. & Hodgson, D.J. (2008) The usefulness of sensitivity analysis for predicting the effects of cat predation on the population dynamics of their avian prey. Ibis 150: 100-113. doi:10.1111/j.1474-919X.2008.00864.x

House sparrows were once so common that they were left out of the common bird census returns. They are now causing substantial conservation concern. Lorna Shaw demonstrated that in urban areas house sparrow declines were related to the socio-economic status of the neighbourhoods in which they lived. We believe that this is due to the refurbishment of housing stock and the loss of green spaces due to infill development and off-street parking in more affluent areas.


© Matthew Evans 2015