Welcome to my e-portfolio! I’m a final year PhD student in the School of Life Sciences researching in the field of Landscape Ecology. My research involves assessing the interaction between landscape structure and biodiversity, with emphasis on Butterfly distribution within Warwickshire. I am funded by the Warwick Postgraduate Research Scholarship (WPRS), and I have a CASE partnership with the ecological consultancy company Middlemarch Environmental Ltd.
I hold a First Class Masters in Environmental Science (MEnvSci) from the University of Southampton, where I specialised in the area of Biodiversity and Conservation. After completion I worked at Middlemarch as a BREEAM project officer and GIS assistant for 9 months, which led to the development of my current case partnership with Warwick.
Severe declines in UK butterfly species over recent years have been attributed to changes in agricultural practices, increased urbanisation, and possible effects of global warming, which have together changed the structure of our landscapes. Understanding the interaction between landscape structure and butterflies is therefore essential to halt further population declines.
The aim of my research is to assess whether landscape pattern metrics can be used as surrogate measures of butterfly distribution and diversity, and ultimately be used to predict the impact of future changes in landscape structure, facilitating sustainable land management. Initially I identified landscape pattern metrics that discriminated between different landscape structural components at a range of spatial scales. A moving window analysis, applied to the Land Cover Map 2000 and Warwickshire Phase 1 Habitat map, was used to compute selected landscape metrics at a scale relevant to which butterflies perceive their landscape. Spatial assessments of butterflies have been generated from wildlife survey data obtained for Warwickshire and summarized at a scale of 1km2, a standard resolution for wide scale biodiversity monitoring.
Logistic regression analysis based on landscape components were applied to identify potential predictor models of butterfly distribution for all species and species grouped by their ecological attributes. Developed models will be compared between the two landscape data sources to identify the level of precision required for developing relationships with biodiversity. A key outcome of the model development will be the identification of data requirements and assumptions for the application of these models to other species and landscapes.
Supervisor: Mr Andrew Mead