Before starting my PhD in 2013 I studied a BSc in Zoology at Cardiff University, graduating in 2012. My final year project was part-funded by Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, and investigated the genetic outcome of an emergency translocation of the Mauritian orange-tailed skink Gongylomorphus fontenayi from Flat Island to Gunner’s Quoin following arrival of an invasive shrew. Following graduation I worked as a research assistant to a PhD student at Cardiff, studying magnetoreception in pigeons.
- Conservation Science Group:
- PhD Candidate
I am interested in understanding species’ responses to changing environments and how this can be applied to conservation planning. Specifically, my PhD is investigating the effects of habitat availability, quality and connectivity on the distributions of the Dartford warbler Sylvia undata and the Cetti's warbler Cettia cetti in Britain and Spain under future climate change. Climate envelope models (CEMs) of these species’ distributions project range expansion in Britain and range retraction in Spain; however CEMs assume there are no limitations from poor dispersal ability or habitat suitability. The Dartford warbler and Cetti's warbler occupy heathland and wetland habitat respectively, and in Britain both these habitats are restricted and highly fragmented. In addition, both are resident species and as such are particularly vulnerable to severe winter weather.
In order to develop informed management plans for these species it is necessary to assess the interacting effects of habitat availability, patch quality, overwinter survival and climate change on population processes. The purpose of this project is to create a spatially-explicit metapopulation model of the Dartford warbler and Cetti's warbler, integrating the projected future distribution from CEMs with the limiting effects of availability and quality of heathland and wetland habitat respectively.
My PhD is funded by the Miriam Rothschild Scholarship Programme via the University of Cambridge and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB). My supervisors are Professor Rhys Green at Cambridge and Dr Richard Bradbury at the RSPB.
Murray, H. J., Green, E. J., Williams, D. R., Burfield, I. J., & Brooke, M. de L. (2015). Is research effort associated with the conservation status of European bird species? Endangered Species Research, 27, 193-206