Dr. Andrew Gosler

Dr. Andrew Gosler

Dr. Andrew Gosler in the field


Name: Dr. Andrew Gosler
Position: University Research Lecturer in Ornithology & Conservation Fellow in Human Sciences, Mansfield College
Email: andrew.gosler@zoo.ox.ac.uk


I read Environmental Biology at Aberystwyth (BSc 1979), and then Plant Taxonomy at Reading (MSc 1981) before studying eco-morphology of Great Tits in Wytham (DPhil 1987). My ornithological research is still based largely in Wytham and is broadly concerned with aspects of local adaptation in the tits. Since 2006 I have focused increasingly on ethno-ornithology, with interests in folk-taxonomy, conservation and religion. I provided environmental questions for the first National Survey of Libya in 2011 and gave a keynote lecture in Benghazi on environmental protection in Libya in January 2012. My teaching includes lecturing in Biological Conservation for the Institute of Human Sciences of which I am currently Vice-Chair, and the practical training of bird ringing to graduate students in the EGI. I have chaired the Bird Ringing Committee of the BTO and edited the BTO journal Bird Study (1993-1998) and Ibis for the BOU (1998-2006). I am a Fellow of the International Ornithologists’ Union of the IOC, President of the Oxford Ornithological Society (www.oos.org.uk), and a Visiting Lecturer in Ornithology at Birmingham University, and the University of Jos, Nigeria.

Research Activities

Holding a joint position with the Institute of Human Sciences (Anthropology), the two principal strands of my research fall within Ornithology and Ethno-ornithology, i.e. the study of birds, and the study of human engagement with birds, especially within the broad context of nature conservation.

Within Ornithology my work has mainly fallen within woodland bird ecology. Since 1981 I have conducted research on the Wytham Great Tit population. I use these long-term data to study the finely-tuned adaptations of the birds. This research includes a long-term study of bill size and body condition, which started during my doctoral research, and a long-term study of the functions of eggshell pigmentation. Although Great Tit has conservation status of ‘Least Concern’ my long-term research has delivered general principles that contribute to environmental monitoring and conservation. Hence, for example, principles of winter fattening shown in the Great Tit have been found relevant when applied in studies of declining species, and the discovery that eggshell speckling in the Great Tit is related to eggshell thinning has been found relevant to studies of the effects of pesticides (DDT) causing eggshell thinning in raptor species. I would welcome collaboration to work further with me on these unique long-term datasets.

Within Ethno-ornithology my work focuses on the unique significance of birds in the engagement between humans and nature. Birds feature in the folklore of every human culture (some 7000), a fact which needs to be recognised to a much greater extent than has hitherto been so in order to develop sustainable conservation strategies that support the needs of both humans and wildlife. With my colleague Sonia Tidemann, I was priviledged to co-edit the book Ethno-ornithology: Birds, Indigenous Peoples, Culture and Society, published in 2010 in hardback and in paperback in the following year. The book shows that within the broader context of ethno-biology, ethno-ornithology has hitherto largely concerned relatively localized anthropological studies of the ways in which indigenous people engage (or have engaged) with birds, for example in language, for food, companionship, art and inspiration, in connection with spirituality, and as a significant element of folk-taxonomy and Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK). But practically, ethno-ornithology is now developing as a contributor to grass-roots policy formation in connection with global issues as diverse as nature conservation, human conflict resolution and peace-building.

He is Director of EWA the Ethno-ornithology World Archive.

EWA promotes the engagement of all people in bird conservation by sharing their knowledge and understanding of birds, and helping to safeguard cultural identities.

Selected Publications

Gosler, A.G., Bhagwat, S., Harrop, S., Bonta, M. & Tidemann, S. (2013) Chapter 6: Leadership and listening: inspiration for conservation mission and advocacy. In Macdonald, D. & Willis, K.J. (eds) Key Topics in Conservation Biology 2. J. Wiley & Sons, Ltd., Oxford. In Press.

Awoyemi, S.M., Gosler, A.G., Ho, I., Schaefer, J. & Chong, K.Y. (2012) Mobilizing Religion and Conservation in Asia. Science 338: 1537-1538. [doi: 10.1126/science.338.6114.1537-b]

Briggs, B.D.J., Hill, D.A. & Gosler, A.G. (2012) Habitat selection and waterbody-complex use by wintering Gadwall and Shoveler in South West London: Implications for the designation and management of multi-site protected areas. Journal for Nature Conservation 20: 200-210. [doi: 10.1016/j.jnc.2012.04.002]

Tidemann, S. & Gosler, A.G. (2010) Ethno-ornithology: Birds, Indigenous Peoples, Culture and Society. Routledge (Earthscan), London. 376 pages. ISBN-10: 1844077837

Jagannath, A., Shore, R.F., Walker, L.A., Ferns, P.N. & Gosler, A.G. 2007. Eggshell Pigmentation indicates Pesticide Contamination. J. App. Ecol., doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2664.2007.01386.x

Higham, J.P. & Gosler, A.G. 2006. Speckled eggs: water-loss and incubation behaviour in the great tit Parus major. Oecologia 149, 561-570.

Gosler, A.G., Higham, J.P. & Reynolds, S.J. 2005. Why are birds’ eggs speckled. Ecology Letters 8, 1105-1113.

Gosler, A.G. 2002. Strategy and constraint in the winter fattening of the great tit Parus major. J. Anim. Ecol. 71, 771-779.

For details of further publications see here: Andy Gosler’s Publications