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Conservation Research Institute



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. From 2019-2021, I worked in the Conservation Evidence group, where I produced a global synopis of evidence for the effectiveness of butterfly and moth conservation. I now work in the Agroecology Group, where I am working on two projects compiling global information on the threats to insect populations (GLiTRS) and synthesising evidence for interventions which aim to reduce the impact of the food system on biodiversity (Mandala). I am currently a University of Cambridge Borysiewicz Fellow (2022).


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 (such as the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and Wildlife Trust for Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire) and policy-makers (such as Natural England), I use my research to develop and test conservation management strategies which support species’ survival in a changing world.

My current research projects include:

Global Insect Threat-Response Synthesis (GLiTRS): understanding the threats to global insect populations

Mandala Consortium: improving the food system in Birmingham for planetary and human health

Banking on Butterflies: testing conservation actions to conserve butterflies and other insects in the face of climate change


Key publications: 

Bladon AJ, Smith RK & Sutherland WJ (2022) Butterfly and Moth Conservation: Global Evidence for the Effects of Interventions for butterflies and moths. Conservation Evidence Series Synopsis. University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK.

Bladon AJ, Donald PF, Collar NJ, Denge J, Dadacha G, Wondafrash M & Green RE (2021). Climatic change and extinction risk of two globally threatened Ethiopian endemic bird species. PLOS ONE16 (5): e0249633. DOI:

Bladon AJ, Lewis M, Bladon EK, Buckton SJ, Corbett S, Ewing SR, Hayes MP, Hitchcock GE, Knock R, Lucas C, McVeigh A, Menéndez R, Walker JM, Fayle TM & Turner EC (2020). How butterflies keep their cool: physical and ecological traits influence thermoregulatory ability and population trends. Journal of Animal Ecology89 (11), 2440–2450. DOI:

Bladon AJ, Donald PF, Jones SEI, Collar N, Deng J, Dadacha G, Abebe Y & Green RE (2019). Behavioural thermoregulation and climatic range restriction in the globally threatened Ethiopian Bush-crow Zavattariornis stresemanni. Ibis, 161 (3), 546–558. DOI:

Bramer I, Anderson BJ, Bennie J, Bladon AJ, De Frenne P, Hemming D, Hill RA, Kearney MR, Korner C, Korstjens AH, Lenoir J, Maclean IMD, Marsh CD, Morecroft MD, Ohlemuller R, Slater HD, Suggitt AJ, Zellweger F & Gillingham PK (2018). Advances in monitoring and modelling climates at ecologically relevant scales. Advances in Ecological Research, 58, 101–161. DOI:


Other publications: 

Sharps E, Hawkes RW, Bladon AJ, Buckingham DL, Border J, Morris AJ, Grice PV & Peach WJ (2023) Reversing declines in farmland birds: How much agri-environment provision is needed at farm and landscape scales? Journal of Applied Ecology

Sutherland WJ, Robinson JM, Aldridge DC, Alamenciak T, Armes M, Baranduin N, Bladon AJ, Breed MF, Dyas N, Elphick CS, Griffiths RA, Hughes J, Middleton B, Littlewood NA, Mitchell R, Morgan WH, Mosley R, Petrovan SO, Prendergast K, Ritchie EG, Raven H, Smith RK, Watts SH & Thornton A (2022) Creating testable questions in practical conservation: a process and 100 questions. Conservation Evidence Journal, 19, 1–7.

Ashe-Jepson E, Bladon AJ, Herbert G, Hitchcock GE, Knock R, Lucas CB, Luke SH & Turner EC (2022) Oviposition behaviour and emergence through time of the small blue butterfly (Cupido minimus) in a nature reserve in Bedfordshire, UK. Journal of Insect Conservation, 26, 43–58.

Christie AP, White TB, Martin PA, Petrovan SO, Bladon AJ, Bowkett AE, Littlewood NA, Mupepele AC, Rocha R, Sainsbury KA, Smith RK, Taylor NG & Sutherland WJ (2021) Reducing publication delay to improve the efficiency and impact of conservation science. PeerJ, 9:e12245.

Amano T, Berdejo-Espinola V, Christie AP, Willott K, Akasaka M, Báldi A, Berthinussen A, Bertolino S, Bladon AJ, Chen M, Choi C-Y, Bou Dagher Kharrat M, de Oliveira LG, Farhat P, Golivets M, Hidalgo Aranzamendi N, Jantke K, Kajzer-Bonk J, Kemahlı Aytekin MÇ, Khorozyan I, Kito K, Konno K, Lin D-L, Littlewood N, Liu Y, Liu Y, Loretto M-C, Marconi V, Martin PA, Morgan WH, Narváez-Gómez JP, Negret PJ, Nourani E, Ochoa Quintero JM, Ockendon N, Oh RRY, Petrovan SO, Piovezan-Borges AC, Pollet IL, Ramos DL, Reboredo Segovia AL, Rivera-Villanueva AN, Rocha R, Rouyer M-M, Sainsbury KA, Schuster R, Schwab D, Şekercioğlu ÇH, Seo H-M, Shackelford G, Shinoda Y, Smith RK, Tao S-d, Tsai M-s, Tyler EHM, Vajna F, Valdebenito JO, Vozykova S, Waryszak P, Zamora-Gutierrez V, Zenni RD, Zhou W & Sutherland WJ (2021) Tapping into non-English-language science for the conservation of global biodiversity. PLoS Biology, 19:e3001296.

Sutherland WJ, Taylor NG, Aldridge DC, Martin P, Rhodes C, Shackelford G, Beard S, Belfield H, Bladon AJ, Brick C, Burgman M, Christie AP, Dicks LV, Dobson AP, Downey H, Hood ASC, Hua F, Hughes AC, Jarvis RM, MacFarlane D, Morgan WH, Mupepele AC, Marciniak SJ, Nelson C, O'hEigeartaigh S, Rios-Rojas C, Savolainen R, Sainsbury KA, Smith RK, Sundaram LS, Tankard H, Thornton A, Watkins J, White TB, Willott K & Petrovan SO (2021) A solution scan of societal options to reduce transmission and spread of respiratory viruses: SARS-CoV-2 as a case study. Journal of Biosafety and Biosecurity, 3 (2): 84–90.

Petrovan SO, Aldridge DC, Bartlett H, Bladon AJ, Booth H, Broad S, Broom DM, Burgess ND, Cleaveland S, Cunningham AA, Ferri M, Hinsley A, Hua F, Hughes AC, Jones K, Kelly M, Mayes G, Radakovic M, Ugwu CA, Uddin N, Verissimo D, Walzer C, White TB, Wood JL & Sutherland WJ (2021). Post COVID-19: a solution scan of options for preventing future zoonotic epidemics. Biological Reviews, 96 (6): 2694–2715.

Hayes MP, Ashe-Jepson E, Hitchcock GE, Knock RI, Lucas CBH, Bladon AJ & Turner EC (2021) Consistent oviposition preferences of the Duke of Burgundy butterfly over 14 years on a chalk grassland reserve in Bedfordshire, UK. Journal of Insect Conservation, 25, 611–628.

Littlewood NA, Rocha R, Smith RK, Martin PA, Lockhart SL, Schoonover RF, Wilman E, Bladon AJ, Sainsbury KA, Pimm S & Sutherland WJ (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.

Bladon AJ & Smith RK (2019). Effects of conservation interventions on terrestrial and freshwater invertebrates: a protocol for subject-wide evidence synthesis.

Simmons BI, Balmford AP, Bladon AJ, Christie AP, De Palma A, Dicks LV, Gallego-Zamorano J, Johnston A, Martin PA, Purvis A, Rocha R, Wauchope HS, Wordley CFR, Worthington TA, Finch T (2019). Worldwide insect declines: an important message, but interpret with caution. Ecology and Evolution9 (7), 3678-3680. DOI:

Bladon AJ, Morris AJ, Siriwardena G & Peach WJ (2018). Evaluating the farm-scale responses of birds to Higher Level Stewardship (HLS) 2008–2017. Natural England Report, LM0467.

Bladon AJ, Morris AJ, Grice PV, Phillips J & Peach WJ (2018). Selective use of bespoke habitat management areas by target farmland bird species. Aspects of Applied Biology, 139, Ecosystem and Habitat Management: Research, Policy, Practice, 3–14.

Jones SEI, Bladon AJ, Collar NJ, Dadacha G, Denge J & Donald PF (2018). Varied diet and opportunistic foraging in the Ethiopian Bush-crow Zavattariornis stresemanni: an Endangered generalist. Ostrich, 89 (1): 41–46. DOI:

Bladon AJ, Chown D, Peach WJ & Morris AJ (2017). Assessing the effectiveness of HLS agreements deploying the Farmland Bird Package 2011–2016. Natural England Report, LM0463.

Bladon AJ, Jones SEI, Collar NJ, Dellelegn Y, Donald PF, Gedeon K, Green RE, Spottiswoode CN, Töpfer T & Wondafrash M (2016). Further notes on the natural history of the Ethiopian Bush-crow Zavattariornis stresemanni. Bulletin of the African Bird Club, 23 (1): 27-45.

Bladon AJ, Töpfer T, Collar NJ, Gedeon K, Donald PF, Dellelegn Y, Wondafrash M, Denge J, Dadacha G, Adula M & Green RE (2015). Notes on the behaviour, plumage and distribution of the White-tailed Swallow Hirundo megaensis. Bulletin of the African Bird Club, 22 (2): 148-161.

Kirby WB, Bellamy PE, Stanbury AJ, Bladon AJ, Grice PV & Gillings S (2015). Breeding season habitat associations and population declines of British Hawfinches Coccothraustes coccothraustes. Bird Study, 62 (3): 348–357. DOI:

Teaching and Supervisions

Research supervision: 

I am currently co-supervising two PhD projects with Dr Ed Turner, and have previously supervised a range of undergraduate and Masters research projects.

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., 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 (

I have been interviewed about my research on both TV (BBC Countryfile and BBC Look East) and radio (BBC Inside Science, BBC Cambridgeshire, BBC Three Counties, The Naked Scientists

I regularly write blogs about my research both online (,, and in local wildlife and society magazines, and my research has been featured in University research articles (, and films (

Geographical region

East Africa
Postdoctoral Research Associate