PhD: Understanding how habitat quality, insect abundance and aquatic subsidies impact population change in a rapidly declining bird
Location: Lancaster University
I studied biology at the University of Manchester from 2016-2020 where I focussed on ecology and conservation modules. I spent a year as a placement student with the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust where I gained knowledge of current conservation issues, particularly avian conservation, and carried out a research project on moorhen population dynamics. I then moved on to complete an MRes in Ecology and Environmental Biology with the University of Glasgow, where I utilised a bird ringing and nest box monitoring dataset to study the impacts of urbanisation on blue tit population dynamics.
My project aims to understand the decline in spotted flycatcher populations, with a focus on insect abundance and habitat quality. I hope to utilise a combination of mark-recapture data, spatial data, and nest monitoring data to understand the drivers of flycatcher population change. In addition, I will monitor a local population of breeding flycatchers to gain a more in depth understanding of what is driving the population. I hope that this research will inform conservation actions for spotted flycatchers, but also have wider reaching implications for other African migrants and insectivorous species.