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Conservation Research Institute

 

Biography

I completed my PhD (2012-2016) in the Conservation Science Group in Cambridge, studying the impacts of temperature on the behaviour and distribution of two range-restricted endemic birds, the Ethiopian Bush-crow and White-tailed Swallow. Since then, I have worked for the RSPB Centre for Conservation Science, leading two projects assessing the effectiveness of Higher Level Stewardship agri-environment schemes in delivering population recovery of threatened farmland bird species (2016-2018). I returned to the Zoology Department in April 2018 as a Research Associate in the Insect Ecology Group, investigating how a community of British butterflies respond to fine-scale changes in temperature. In July 2019, I joined the Conservation Evidence group, where I am writing the synopsis of interventions for butterfly and moth conservation.

Research

I am a conservation ecologist interested in the impacts of climate and habitat change on species’ distribution and abundance, and passionate about testing conservation interventions to reverse species’ declines. My research cuts across traditional ecological disciplines, to understand how fine-scale temperature and habitat variation influence the behaviour of individual organisms, and the mechanisms by which these behavioural responses have broad-scale, population-level impacts. Working with practical conservation organisations and policy-makers, I use my research to develop and test conservation management strategies which support species’ survival in a changing world.

Publications

Key publications: 

Bladon AJ et al. (2020) How butterflies keep their cool: physical and ecological traits influence thermoregulatory ability and population trends. J. Anim. Ecol., DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1365-2656.13319

Littlewood NA, … Bladon AJ et al. (2020) Terrestrial Mammal Conservation: Global Evidence for the Effects of Interventions for terrestrial mammals excluding bats and primates. Synopses of Conservation Evidence Series. University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK. https://www.conservationevidence.com/synopsis/pdf/20

Bladon AJ & Smith RK (2019). Effects of conservation interventions on terrestrial and freshwater invertebrates: a protocol for subject-wide evidence synthesis. https://www.conservationevidence.com/protocol/pdf/28

Bladon AJ et al. (2019). Behavioural thermoregulation and climatic range restriction in the globally threatened Ethiopian Bush-crow Zavattariornis stresemanni. Ibis, 161, 546-558. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/ibi.12660

Simmons BI, Balmford AP, Bladon AJ et al. (2019). Worldwide insect declines: an important message, but interpret with caution. Ecol. Evol., 9, 3678–3680. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1002/ece3.5153

Bladon AJ et al. (2018). Evaluating the farm-scale responses of birds to Higher Level Stewardship (HLS) 2008–2017. Natural England Report, LM0467.

Bladon AJ et al. (2018). Selective use of bespoke habitat management areas by target farmland bird species. Asp. App. Biol., 139, Ecosystem and Habitat Management: Research, Policy, Practice, 3–14. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/330011358_Selective_use_of_bespoke_habitat_management_areas_by_target_farmland_bird_species

Bramer I, … Bladon AJ et al. (2018). Advances in monitoring and modelling climates at ecologically relevant scales. Adv. Ecol. Res., 58, 101–161.  DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/bs.aecr.2017.12.005

Jones SEI, Bladon AJ et al. (2018). Varied diet and opportunistic foraging in the Ethiopian Bush-crow Zavattariornis stresemanni: an Endangered generalist. Ostrich, 89 (1): 41–46. DOI: https://doi.org/10.2989/00306525.2017.1373309

Bladon AJ et al. (2017). Assessing the effectiveness of HLS agreements deploying the Farmland Bird Package 2011–2016. Natural England Report, LM0463.

Bladon AJ et al. (2016) Further notes on the natural history of the Ethiopian Bush-crow Zavattariornis stresemanni. Bull. ABC, 23 (1): 27-45. https://www.repository.cam.ac.uk/handle/1810/253053

Bladon AJ et al. (2015) Notes on the behaviour, plumage and distribution of the White-tailed Swallow. Bull. ABC, 22 (2): 148-161. https://www.repository.cam.ac.uk/handle/1810/253054

Kirby WB, … Bladon AJ et al. (2015). Breeding season habitat associations and population declines of British Hawfinches Coccothraustes coccothraustes. Bird Study, 62 (3): 348–357. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/00063657.2015.1046368

Teaching and Supervisions

Teaching: 

I am currently co-supervising one PhD and two MPhil projects. I have supervised seven undergraduate research projects, worked as a demonstrator on two undergraduate field courses, and supervised over 50 undergraduates for three different taught modules. In 2019, I gave an invited lecture online to undergraduates at Cornell University, and in 2016 I delivered a course on Conservation Science at the Institute of Continuing Education.

Other Professional Activities

I am passionate about using my science to engage people in the wonders of the natural world. I regularly participate in events at the Museum of Zoology, including Zoology Live! (e.g. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=baPeTyC4v1M&feature=youtu.be), Cambridge Bioblitz, the Cambridge Science Festival and the Discovery talks and Meet the Experts programmes. I am also keen on giving talks outside of Cambridge, for example to local Wildlife Trust groups, natural history groups and the WI. I have led Wildlife Training Workshops for the local Wildlife Trust (https://www.wildlifebcn.org/get-involved/training-workshops).

I have been interviewed about my research on both TV (BBC Countryfile and BBC Look East) and radio (BBC Inside Science, BBC Cambridgeshire https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/p08rds4g, BBC Three Counties, The Naked Scientists https://www.thenakedscientists.com/podcasts/naked-scientists-podcast/gardens-plants-and-climate-change).

I regularly write blogs about my research both online (https://animalecologyinfocus.com/2020/10/07/how-butterflies-keep-their-cool-taking-butterfly-temperatures-to-understand-the-impacts-of-climate-change/, https://www.bou.org.uk/blog-bladon-ethiopian-bush-crow/, https://www.wildlifebcn.org/node/2454) and in local wildlife and society magazines, and my research has been featured in University research articles (https://www.cam.ac.uk/stories/butterflies, https://www.cam.ac.uk/butterfliesarecoming) and films (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nBlmeOr3tvw&list=PLoEBu2Q8ia_PLdT9Oa1LhJh5vlVMzXL4C&index=8).

Geographical region

East Africa
Europe
Postdoctoral Research Associate