Ailidh Barnes

Research Ecologist

Ailidh is in the Monitoring Research team and works on a wide range of projects related to understanding change in populations of birds and other taxa, and the effectiveness of protected areas. Her work encompasses analyses of abundance and distribution data from the BTO's major volunteer recording schemes (e.g. BBS and BirdTrack) and comprehensive literature searches on particular issues such as the impact of invertebrate declines, the importance of habitat recording and non-native species.

Interests & Responsibilities

Ailidh's PhD consisted of collating and analysing bird survey data, habitat data through vegetation surveys and vegetation structural data from remotely sensed LiDAR data to investigate bird-habitat relationships at a landscape scale.  This encompassed not only measures of diversity and species richness but also measures of declining species, conservation priority species and rarity from bird trend data and population estimates in two contrasting landscapes.  As a result Ailidh gained expertise in GIS, R statistical software, bird song ID and statistical modelling.

Other information

Ailidh is a C Permit Bird Ringer, Ex-Officio Committee Member of the Tay Ringing Group and Committee Member on the BOU's Engagement Committee. In 2019 she also contributed to the collection of Blue Tit and Great Tit data in Wytham Woods with the University of Oxford and from 2011-2014 she was Senior Research Assistant and Treasurer on the University of Dundee's Rainforest Conservation Expedition to Trinidad.


2020 - PhD "Modelling how to mitigate bird population declines in the UK through landscape-scale environmental management", Bournemouth University
2012 - MRes Environmental Biology, University of St Andrews
2011 - BSc (Hons) Biology, University of Dundee

Recent BTO Publications

Brighton, C.H., Massimino, D., Boersch-Supan, P., Barnes, A.E., Martay, B., Bowler, D.E., Hoskins, H.M.J. & Pearce-Higgins, J.W. 2024. The benefits of protected areas for bird population trends may depend on their condition. Biological Conservation 292 View at journal website (DOI: 10.1016/j.biocon.2024.110553)
Noble, D.G. & Barnes, A.E. 2023. Development of an Upland Bird Indicator for the UK and for England. Research Report no. 757. British Trust for Ornithology, Thetford, UK ISBN: 978-1-912642-52-6 23pp
Barnes, A.E., Robinson, R.A. & Pearce-Higgins, J.W. 2023. Collation of a century of soil invertebrate abundance data suggests long-term declines in earthworms but not tipulids. PLOS ONE View at journal website (DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0282069)
Barnes, A.E., Davies, J.G., Martay, B., Boersch-Supan, P. H., Harris, S.J., Noble, D.G., Pearce-Higgins, J.W. & Robinson, R.A. 2022. Rare and declining bird species benefit most from designating protected areas for conservation in the UK. Nature Ecology & Evolution View at journal website (DOI: 10.1038/s41559-022-01927-4)
Barnes, A., Noble D., Austin, G. & Atkinson, P.W. 2022. A review of the capacity of current avian monitoring schemes in Guernsey to assess the population status of breeding and wintering bird species.. Research Report no. 742. British Trust for Ornithology, Thetford, Norfolk ISBN: 978-1-912642-33-5 109pp

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