Successful conservation actions are social and human-centered, but must operate within the rules set by biology and ecology. That’s why the research that’s done by me and the students I supervise is (almost) always about using the best ecological and computational techniques to provide decision support for human activities – what works, what doesn’t, and why? Current lab members are looking at the role of biodiversity in human wellbeing; using optimality theory to help design effective seed banks; simulating the ecological consequences of large mammal reintroductions; and seeing how much of a shock to the global practice of conservation will be caused both by REDD+ and by a new complete vertebrate biogeography. My current DPhil students are working on mapping the poorly known mountain vegetation of Oman, a new climate-change aware management plan for an African national park, finding out why computer-aided conservation strategies fail or succeed, how the cultural value of species is constructed, and learning about adaptation to environmental change from traditional ecological knowledge. We are global in scope (the map is the last four years of student research locations) and methodological omnivores: we use everything from ethnography and content analysis to mathematical programming and multivariate statistical modelling.
conservation, biodiversity, computing, mapping, biogeography, evolution