Conservation Science Department, Royal Botanic Gardens
Caption: (a) The number of Myrcia species assigned to each conservation category by preliminary assessment based on calculations of extent of occurrence with locality data for each species from 2007 and 2017 (*, significant change) and (b) changes in preliminary assessment results based on locality data from 2007 and 2017 (CR, critically endangered; EN, endangered; VU, vulnerable; NT, near threatened; LC, least concern; DD, data deficient). Changes are significant if 0 is outside the 95% CI of the change (calculated by Bayesian parameter estimation). DOI: 10.1111/cobi.13289
Plants and fungi can play an important role in tackling ongoing global environmental challenges. Understanding current and projected threats to plants and fungi is necessary to manage and mitigate risks, while addressing gaps and bias in current assessment coverage is essential to adequately prioritize conservation efforts. The student will be part of a large and active research group which is evaluating extinction risk for the world’s plants (especially tropical species of economic and/or ecological importance), quantifying trends in plant extinction risk, exploring correlates of extinction risk and developing new approaches to estimate the threat status of the hundreds of thousands of plant species which still lack formal extinction risk assessments. The scope of any DPhil project will be defined in conversation with the student and prospective co-supervisors, but is likely to include machine learning approaches to identifying taxa or areas where extinction risk has likely been under-estimated. Complementary field and/or lab work will validate and refine results of desk-based analyses, so that they can support effective conservation action e.g. designation of Important Plant Areas or Key Biodiversity Areas. Potential areas for fieldwork include Brazil, Cameroon, Guinea, Indonesia and Madagascar.
Qualifications and Experience
BA in Natural Sciences (Moderatorship in Botany) Trinity College Dublin, PhD Univ St Andrews.
Personal Research Keywords
Global Plant Diversity, Biodiversity Assessment, Correlates of Extinction Risk, Conservation Prioritisation, Evolution, Biogeography