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Department of Zoology

Person setting a camera trap in a wooded area in Brazil

Conservation science applies methods from a wide range of scientific disciplines to the challenge of maintaining and restoring global biodiversity and ecosystem services. It aims to understand patterns of biodiversity and ecosystem change, pressures that are driving loss or degradation, and to identify the most effective and efficient responses, at every scale from local land management to international convention.

Human demands on the planet are still growing rapidly, generating large-scale land-use change, climate change, and degradation of ecosystems. We are witnessing rapid losses of biodiversity, with consequences for humanity that are not fully understood. We work in many parts of the world, and at global scale, to understand these patterns of change and their consequences, and to devise and test solutions. For example, we are testing methods to reduce the costs and maximise the benefits of high-yield farming for biodiversity and ecosystem function, in the UK, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, West Africa, and Brazil; we are monitoring impacts of freshwater invasive species in the UK, China, and Bangladesh; we are studying effects of environmental change on rare and declining species of insect, mollusc, mammal, bird, amphibian and reptile, and investigating how people in a wide range of societal contexts can work together to avoid or mitigate these impacts.

Our Research Groups

Conservation Science

Andrew Balmford, Rhys Green, Bill Sutherland - What are the key threats to wild nature? What are the most promising actions for reversing its decline?

Insect Ecology

Ed Turner - Ecology of insects in their natural habitats, the impacts of human-induced habitat change on insect biodiversity and communities

Aquatic Ecology

David Aldridge - Ecology of aquatic ecosystems, in particular invasive species and the role of bivalve molluscs


Lynn Dicks - Ecological processes and functions, conservation of wildlife and sustainability in agricultural ecosystems.