Before joining the University of Oxford in November 2015, I was Professor of Conservation Science at Imperial College London for 15 years, and have held previous positions in Resource Economics and Mathematical Ecology at Oxford, Imperial and Warwick Universities.
My first degree was in Pure and Applied Biology at Oxford, and my PhD at Imperial was on the exploitation of elephants, rhinos and saigas.
I have a particular interest in developing and applying methods for understanding and predicting human behaviour in the context of local resource use in developing countries, and improving the effectiveness of incentive-based mechanisms such as payment for ecosystems services and biodiversity offsetting, in the marine and terrestrial realms.
I also work on the illegal wildlife trade and am interested in designing, monitoring and evaluating conservation interventions in order to improve their effectiveness.
Finally, I am passionate about the conservation ecology of the saiga antelope in Central Asia, and co-founded the Saiga Conservation Alliance in 2006.
My research group is strongly interdisciplinary and has a wide range of research interests within conservation science. Our ethos is to ensure that all the research that we do is addressing issues identified by practitioners, and is carried out collaboratively with end-users.
My group’s research falls within three broad themes:
- Understanding natural resource users;
- Exploring social-ecological systems;
- Managing human-nature interactions.
The first theme addresses the drivers and motivations behind human behaviour towards the environment, the second theme addresses the feedbacks between individual behaviour and the wider social and ecological system within which they are embedded, and the third addresses how best to design, implement and evaluate interventions to alter human behaviour and hence slow the rate of biodiversity loss.
We work in both terrestrial and marine realms, and work closely with the practitioners who are implementing interventions, to ensure that they are designed, carried out and monitored in a way that leads to the desired outcomes from both conservation and social justice perspectives.