Road Ecology

I completed my Ph.D. in 2020 at the University of Cambridge, looking at the impacts of roads on British bird populations. This project was funded by the Natural Environment Research Council.

Using data from the UK Breeding Bird Survey, I analysed bird counts across Great Britain, in relation to roads. I found that:

  • Detectability of birds in surveys varies around roads.
  • Some bird species are found in relatively low abundance around roads, while others are found in relatively high abundance.
  • Rarer, smaller-bodied, migratory species are more likely to be in lower abundance around roads.
  • Disturbance from roads may affect bird communities across >70% of Britain and >40% of terrestrial protected areas.
  • Roads may be contributing to simplification of bird communities.

I hope that the results of this project will promote better planning and mitigation of the road network in Great Britain and other countries with dense road networks.

Here is a 5-min sum up of one of my Ph.D papers, published in Nature Communications. I also wrote an article accompanying this paper for The Conversation and the paper was covered by The Guardian.

I was also fortunate enough to be interviewed twice for Radio 4’s Inside Science show. If you would like to listen, my parts starts around 20 and 7 minutes in.