My research aims to explore the impacts of warming springs on the phenology (timing of breeding) and productivity of a common hole nesting passerine in the UK, the blue tit (Cyanistes caeruleus).
I am investigating whether the recent advancement in breeding phenology is consistent across habitats, as previous research has almost exclusively investigated this in oak dominated habitats. I also aim to see whether this has any subsequent effect on breeding productivity. I aim to do this by studying the, now common, three tier system of tree-caterpillar-bird, and looking into the phenology of each level to investigate mismatch. I also use molecular techniques to identify nestling diets, to help build a more complete picture of the resources birds are reliant upon during the breeding season, and to further understand the risks they face in the future.
Prior to my studies here in Durham I have undertaken a number of research projects, both abroad in and in the UK. This has included investigating factors which influence nest site selection and breeding success in the european roller (Coracias garrulus) in the south of France.
In my spare time I am an active bird ringer with the Tees Ringing Group.
Position: PhD Student in the Department of Biosciences
Supervised by: Prof. Stephen G. Willis, Dr. Philip Stephens, Prof. Mark Whittingham, Dr. Albert Phillimore, and Dr. Dave Leech
Membership: Behaviour, Ecology and Evolution Research (BEER) Centre,
British Ecological Society (BES),
British Ornothologists' Union (BOU)
Contact Details: Department of Biosciences,
Durham University, South Road, Durham, DH1 3LE.
2014-present PhD Biology, Durham University & British Trust for Ornithology
2013-2014 MSc Applied Ecology and Conservation, University of East Anglia
2010-2013 BSc (Hons) Biological Sciences, Queen Mary, University of London
Finch, T., Branston, C. J., Clewlow, H., Dunning, J., Franco, A. M. A., Racinskis, E., Schwartz, T. & Butler, S. J. (2018) Context-dependent conservation of the cavity-nesting European Roller. Ibis (DOI: 10.1111/ibi.12650)
Burgess, M. D., Smith, K. W., Evans, K. L., Pearce-Higgins, J. W., Branston, C. J., Briggs, K., Clark, J. R., du Feu, C. R., Lewthwaite, K., Nager, R., Sheldon, B. C., Smith, J. A., Whytock, R. C., Willis, S. G. & Phillimore, A. B. (2018) Tritrophic phenological match-mismatch in space and time. Nature Ecology and Evolution (DOI: 10.1038/s41559-018-0543-1)
Small grant from Peter Evans Memorial Trust, 2018
IAPETUS NERC Doctoral Training Scholarship with BTO CASE partnership, 2014
2014 - present BTO trainee bird ringer with Tees Ringing Group