Head of Terrestrial Ecology & Principal Ecologist,
British Trust for Ornithology (BTO)
Gavin leads the BTO’s Land-Use Research team, which currently comprises up to 15 analytical and field research staff, conducting and supervising pure and applied research on terrestrial bird ecology.
Research at the BTO has considered migration ecology, cause of decline in woodland birds and methods of population trend analysis, but has focused primarily on farmland birds, contributing directly to government policy on the environment. A major three-year project on the demography of farmland birds (1996-1999), involving detailed analyses of extensive data sets held by the BTO and other organizations, helped to identify causes of decline. Subsequent large-scale projects have tested the hypotheses identified using landscape-scale field experiments and have also considered the likely efficacy of management solutions (2001-2007). More recently, research has focused on testing the agri-environment solutions to farmland bird conservation problems and on measuring the effects of current issues in farmland such as the disappearance of set-aside. A parallel research direction is considering bird-habitat modelling, considering both habitat types per se and habitat heterogeneity. Planned future research directions include further work on heterogeneity and habitat interactions, the ecology of predation and the design and testing of agri-environment solutions to the farmland bird conservation problems that still remain.