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Space matters: Great tits match breeding time to phenology of oaks in their immediate environment, ensuring food supply for their nestlings

A paper published in the American Naturalist by Amy Hinks, Ella Cole, Ben Sheldon and colleagues uses a 45-year dataset to show that measures of vegetation phenology at very local scales are the most important predictors of within-year variation in timing of breeding in great tits, suggesting that birds can fine-tune their phenology to that of other trophic levels.

Congratulations to David Macdonald

Congratulations to David Macdonald who has been ranked number 3 in a 'power list' of 'Conservation heroes' by BBC Wildlife magazine. Several other biologists trained in this department make the top 50.

http://www.ox.ac.uk/news/2015-05-13-oxford-scientist-named-british-conservation-hero

Decline of large wild herbivores may lead to an 'empty landscape'

Led by William Ripple of Oregon State University, an international team of 15 scientists including Professor David Macdonald and Dr Chris Sandom of Oxford University's Wildlife Conservation Research Unit (WildCRU), conducted a comprehensive analysis of data on the world’s largest herbivores (of adult body mass over 100 kilograms on average), including endangerment status, key threats and ecological consequences of population decline. The researchers publish their observations in Science Advances.

Secret life of penguins revealed for World Penguin Day

Launched in 2014, Penguin Watch, led by Oxford University scientists, including Dr Tom Hart from the Department of Zoology, with input from the Australian Antarctic Division, asks the public to go online and count penguins in images taken by remote cameras monitoring nearly 100 colonies in Antarctica. The results will help scientists to discover what penguins get up to over the winter, how climate change and human activity impact on how they breed and feed, and why some colonies and species are declining whilst others thrive.