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Department of Zoology



I studied at the University of St Andrews for my BSc Hons in Marine Biology from 2013-2017. During my time I trained and helped conduct research on seals at the SMRU/SOI, cetaceans in Turkey with DMAD, and studied abroad at James Cook University, Australia, undertaking research on coral reefs with Dr Maria Dornelas and Professor Sean Connelly. I was also lucky enough to study polar ecology, including a field course to the Western Antarctic Peninsula in March 2017. I then applied for a PhD project advertised through the Cambridge ESS DTP and I'm happy to be joining the Conservation Evidence group here in the UCCRI.

I am very interested in communicating science and conservation issues to the public and particularly interested in becoming a wildlife television presenter. In my spare time I am also an amateur wildlife photographer, love getting outdoors and playing all sorts of sports when I can.


"The most damaging phrase in the language is ‘We’ve always done it this way’.” - Rear Admiral Grace Hooper


Determining the biases and consistencies in the evidence for conservation

My research aims to answer how we can rate the quality, geographical applicability and effectiveness of conservation interventions so that species and ecosystems are conserved using more evidence-based approaches. Not all studies are created equal, with differences in sample size, effort and methodological design most likely influencing effect sizes in conservation intervention research. One of my first challenges is to disentangle how this occurs and how we can come up with an objective scoring method to judge studies' reliability (i.e. quality). I am also interested in spatial and taxonomic patterns in the usage of these designs. From this I hope to be able to provide recommendations to those who monitor and test conservation interventions about the most cost-effective and reliable experimental designs to use for particular taxa and habitats.

The end goal of the PhD is to contribute to the development of an online tool that would allow conservationists and practitioners in the field to find the best supported conservation intervention for them to use in their local patch for a given issue. I hope this will contribute to the automation of evidence synthesis and assessment as part of the ambitious Conservation Evidence project.


Key publications: 


Christie, A.P., Abecasis, D., Adjeroud, M. et al. (2020). Quantifying and addressing the prevalence and bias of study designs in the environmental and social sciences. Nature Communications, 11, 6377.

Downey, H. et al. (In Press). Training future generations to deliver evidence-based conservation and ecosystem management. Ecological Solutions and Evidence.

Spake, R., Mori, A.S., Beckmann, M., Martin, P.A., Christie, A.P., Duguid, M.C. and Doncaster, C.P. (2020), Implications of scale dependence for cross‐study syntheses of biodiversity differences. Ecology Letters.

Christie, A.P., Amano, T., Martin, P.A., Petrovan, S.O., Shackelford, G.E., Simmons, B.I., Smith, R.K., Williams, D.R., Wordley, C.F.R. and Sutherland, W.J. (2020), The challenge of biased evidence in conservation. Conservation Biology.

Christie, A.P., Amano, T., Martin, P. A., Petrovan, S. O., Shackelford, G. E., Simmons, B. I., ... Sutherland, W. J. (2020). Poor availability of context-specific evidence hampers decision-making in conservation. Biological Conservation, 248, 108666.

Junker, J., Petrovan, S.O., Arroyo-Rodriguez, V., Boonratana, R., Byler, D., Chapman, C.A., Chetry, D., Cheyne, S.M., Christie, A.P., et al. (2020). Severe Lack of Evidence Limits Effective Conservation of the World’s Primates. Bioscience. Accepted author manuscript.

Geldmann, J., Alves-Pinto, H., Amano, T., Barlett, H., Christie, A.P., et al. (2020). Insights from two decades of the Student Conference on Conservation Science. Biological Conservation, 243, 108478.

Christie, A.P., Amano, T., Martin, P.A., Shackelford, G.E., Simmons, B.I., Sutherland, W.J. (2019). Simple study designs in ecology produce inaccurate estimates of biodiversity responses. Journal of Applied Ecology, 56, 2742-2754.

Sutherland, W.J., Taylor, N.G., MacFarlane, D., Amano, T., Christie, A.P., Dicks, L.V., … Wordley, C.F.R. (2019). Building a tool to overcome barriers in research‐implementation spaces: The conservation evidence database. Biological Conservation, 238, 108199.

Simmons, B.I., Balmford, A., Bladon, A.J., Christie A.P., et al. (2019). Worldwide insect declines: An important message, but interpret with caution. Ecology and Evolution, 9, 3678– 3680.

House J.E., Brambilla V., Bidaut L.M., Christie A.P., Pizarro O., Madin J.S., Dornelas M. (2018). Moving to 3D: relationships between coral planar area, surface area and volume. PeerJ, 6,e4280


Other publications: 


Shackelford, G.E., Martin, P.A., Hood, A.S.C., Christie, A.P., Kulinskaya, E., Sutherland, W.J. (In review at BMC Biology). Dynamic meta-analysis: a method of using global evidence for local decision making. BioRxiv

Campaign for Nature. 2020. A Key Sector Forgotten in the Stimulus Debate: the Nature-Based Economy. Available from: (

Sutherland, W.J., Taylor, N.G., Aldridge, D.C., Martin, P., Rhodes, C., Shackelford, G., Beard, S., Belfield, H., Bladon, A.J., Brick, C., Burgman, M., Christie, A.P., et al. (In review at Public Health in Practice). A solution scan of societal options to reduce SARS-CoV-2 transmission and spread.

Kehoe, L., Reis, T., Virah-Sawmy, M., Balmford, A., Kuemmerle, T., Knohl, A., et al. (2019). Make EU trade with Brazil sustainable. Science, 364, 6438.


Blog posts:


Museum of Zoology:

Applied Ecologist blog:研究デザインは重要


Youtube videos:

Evidence Champions series:

Zoocast series:

PhD student

Contact Details

Room 3.01 David Attenborough Building
Pembroke Street


Person keywords: 
impact evaluation
experimental design
study design
evidence-based conservation
evidence synthesis