I am currently studying for a Ph.D. at the University of Cambridge, looking at the impacts of roads on British bird populations. This project is funded by the Natural Environment Research Council.
In the last forty years many common bird species have suffered severe declines across Great Britain, thought to be largely a result of agricultural intensification. However, there is also a strong correlation between these declines and increases in road traffic levels. Many studies have identified negative effects of roads on birds, via mechanisms such as noise and light pollution and mortality from collisions yet, to date, no island-wide quantification of impacts on populations has been attempted for Great Britain.
For my Ph.D. I am using a series of statistical models to estimate the proportion of bird population declines, over the last forty years, that have been caused by increased traffic flow in Britain. I plan also to use these models to identify species that are especially sensitive to roads and estimate the impact of planned new roads and future changes in traffic levels.
The results of this project will hopefully allow better planning and mitigation of the road network in Great Britain and other countries with dense road networks, and contribute to existing and planned conservation projects that are situated near to roads.