Welcome to Individual Ecology
This site summarises 25 years of research designed to predict how environmental change affects wildlife. Underpinning research enhances understanding of animal behaviour and how individuals are affected by, and respond to change. This understanding is processed by computer models to predict how change affects wildlife populations as a whole. The predictions improve the evidence required to better balance the needs of wildlife and people.
Ecological systems are under increasing pressure from environmental change, including climate change, habitat loss and fragmentation, and increasing human populations. To understand the consequences of environmental change, to minimize adverse impacts, and to prioritize actions, conservation managers and policy-makers need to know how ecological systems will be affected. Despite this need, predicting the consequences of environmental change for biodiversity has remained a challenge for ecologists. Our research is designed to directly address this challenge and aims to understand individuals, predict the link between individuals and ecology, and support environmental decision-making.
Our underpinning research improves understanding of the factors that determine the survival, body condition and reproduction of individual animals. These include feeding behaviour, decision-making, interactions with competitors, and energetics.
Predicting feeding rates
Understanding decision rules
Measuring the food supply
Linking individuals to ecology
We use models to integrate research on individual animals to predict the consequences of environmental change for whole populations. These models represent the behaviour and physiology of individual animals, and predict the population-level consequences of change from the behaviour and fates of individuals.
Testing the accuracy of models
Supporting environmental decision-making
Our models have been used to predict the effect on animal populations of many types of environmental change, including in-combination effects of more than one type of change. Models can be used to test the relative impact of different management or site-development options, to determine which has the minimum effect on wildlife.