UCL Division of Biosciences


Charlie Outhwaite

Biodiversity Status, Drivers and Indicators from Biological Records

Charlie Outhwaite

Monitoring biodiversity changes over time is a requirement for measuring the degree of accomplishment for environmental targets, for example those set out by the Convention on Biological Diversity.  However, the quantity and quality of data available to monitor this broad-scale theme varies.  The most appropriate data type for monitoring changes in biodiversity over time is high quality, abundance data from standardised monitoring schemes. This is not often available and such schemes require a great deal of cost and effort to set up. An alternative to measuring abundance is to look at changes in the distribution of a species over time.  Species distribution data is a lot easier and cheaper to collect than abundance data and its collection is often carried out through citizen science projects.  Although this source of data is much coarser, models are being developed that can reduce the levels of bias associated with it in order to generate robust indicators of biodiversity.

During this project I aim to develop robust biodiversity indicators using biological records data.  I will be looking into the kinds of models that can be used to create such indicators using UK species distribution records.  I also hope to look into the drivers behind any trends; characterising the traits of declining and increasing species and looking at spatial models of species decline to determine the importance of factors such as land-use and climate change. 

This project is an industrial NERC CASE studentship between UCL, the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology and the RSPB.