doc martens style shoes University of Exeter
The modern environment is changing rapidly. Growing populations bring increasing demands for housing, transport and energy; and even apparently areas have changed unimaginably since the 1940s, responding to the need for more and cheaper food. My work investigates the profound effects these changes can have on wildlife and human populations. Working in close partnerships with practitioners, I seek practical solutions that can contribute to a more sustainable future. Recent projects include research to quantify the hazards posed to bats by wind turbines; work on the negative (and sometimes positive) effects of roads and street lighting for wildlife; and assessing the opportunities to improve the control of bovine turberculosis in badgers and cattle through the management of farm landscapes.
Recognising that human health is also inextricably linked to our natural environment, I also conduct epidemiological research, most recently on the impacts of high frequency electromagnetic radiation from mobile phones on reproductive health.
1998 2000 Junior Research Fellow, Wolfson College, Oxford University and Wildlife Conservation Research Unit, Department of Zoology, Oxford University.
1993 1997 Research Assistant, Division of Public Health and Primary Health Care, Oxford UniversityI work on the responses of mammals to modern environmental challenges. In the context of our evolutionary history, there has been a rapid increase in the intensity, nature and range of many exposures since the industrial revolution: human population increases and associated changes in social organisation and nutritional profiles, not only affect the health and well being of people, but also influence the status of wild mammals. In addition, novel exposures, such as the use of mobile telephones or the generation of wind energy, may have unintended consequences. My work integrates epidemiological and ecological approaches to quantify the effects of environmental challenges on individuals and populations, and seeks to find sustainable solutions.
Habitat fragmentation is one of the most widespread challenges faced by wild mammals in the UK. It is likely to affect not only the nutritional status of animals, but their social structure and disease transmission patterns. Applying new techniques to quantify both landscape structure and social interactions is a key component of my work in this field. I have shown that the risk of bovine tuberculosis (bTB) in cattle varies according to habitat structure, with friendly farms with higher hedgerow densities having lower risks. This research continues, with a post doctoral project on the effects of herd and landscape management the risk of not only bTB but also liver fluke an parasite that is currently on the increase in the UK.
Much of my work is on species of conservation concern, where I try to find evidence based sustainable solutions for practical problems. Currently I have major research initiatives which investigate the ecological impacts of wind energy generation on bats, the effects of artificial lighting on biodiversity, and the effectiveness of mitigation for bats. I am currently leading, for the Statutory Nature Conservation Organisations, the first review for 25 years of the conservation and population status of British Mammals with the Mammal Society.
Like wildlife, humans are profoundly affected by their environment. For example, I have demonstrated the link between the diet of mothers before conception and infant gender and shown that male foetuses are much more at risk of stillbirth than females. With Prof Tamara Galloway I am currently working on the relationship between sperm quality and exposures including mobile telephone use, and exploring whether biodiversity can benefit human well being.
Assesment of the effectiveness of mitigation for bats during development (Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management)
Understanding habitat use by greater horseshoe bats Devon Greater Horseshoe Bat Project, Heritage Lottery)
Gender inequalities in early life health outcomes (The Wellcome Trust)
Novel approaches to assessing human sperm quality in relation to environmental exposures (NERC)
Effects of artificial lighting on biodiversity (Defra)
Effect of wind turbines on bat populations in the UK (Defra, Scottish Natural Heritage, Countryside Council for Wales, RenewableUK)
Small wind turbines and bat populations in areas of high bat biodiversity (NERC, Countryside Council for Wales, Devon County Council)
Effects of habitat fragmentation on wild mammals (NERC)
Risks of bovine tuberculosis in cattle in relation to herd and landscape management (Dorothy Jackson Trust and BBSRC)
Prof Richard Shore, CEH Lancaster, Prof Robbie Macdonald, University of Exeter, Prof John Gurnell Queen Mary, University of London. Review of the Conservation and Population Status of British Mammals