Ben Darvill

Head of Development and Engagement

Ben is responsible for developing and supporting BTO volunteer efforts in Scotland.

Interests & Responsibilities

Scotland is a large and diverse country with challenging physical and human geography. The remote and rugged nature of many areas is part of the appeal for those of us that choose to live here, but these characteristics also present unique challenges for the BTO. A major part of Ben's role involves trying to improve survey coverage in the more inaccessible areas of Scotland. He co-ordinates BTO's network of voluntary Regional Representatives throughout the country, upon which it so heavily depends.

In addition, Ben's diverse role includes other aspects of BTO's public-facing work, both at a strategic level throughout the UK and 'on the ground' in Scotland. This includes organising conferences, giving talks and running training courses for volunteers. Ben always looks forward to opportunities to speak directly with BTO's fantastic volunteers and to understand more about what motivates them to participate in its various schemes and surveys. He is also involved in project development, fundraising and media communications.

Ben is a conservationist at heart, but also a field naturalist and scientist. BTO is uniquely placed to co-ordinate the activities of many thousands of volunteers in order to provide the unbiased and impartial evidence that underpins good conservation decision-making. Ben is pleased to be involved in this cycle of support, encouraging people to help make a difference through their birdwatching, and then communicating the results and impacts back to them.

Other Information

Outside of work Ben is a keen birder, including as a volunteer for the Scottish Raptor Monitoring Scheme and of course for BTO! Ben is always happy outdoors, whether it's birds, badgers, otters, moths or reptiles. He enjoys a range of other outdoor activities including rock climbing, sea-kayaking, fishing and cycling - though always with one eye on the wildlife.


BSc (Hons) Zoology - University of Southampton (2000 - 2003)
PhD Conservation Genetics - University of Southampton (2003-2007) 
Ben acquired most of the skills that he uses in this role while setting up and running The Bumblebee Conservation Trust from its launch in 2006 until joining BTO in 2012.

Recent BTO Publications

Darvill, B., Harris, S.J., Martay, B., Wilson, M. & Gillings, S. 2020. Delivering robust population trends for Scotland's widespread breeding birds. Scottish Birds 40 (part 4) : 297-304 8pp
Graystock, P., Yates, K., Evison, S.E.F., Darvill, B., Goulson, D. & Hughes, W.O.H. 2013. The Trojan hives: pollinator pathogens, imported and distributed in bumblebee colonies. Journal of Applied Ecology Link to publication View at journal website (DOI: 10.1111/1365-2664.12134)

Other Publications

Hudson, L.N., Newbold, T., Contu, S. et al. 2017. The database of the PREDICTS (Projecting Responses of Ecological Diversity In Changing Terrestrial Systems) project. Ecology and Evolution 7: (Issue 1): 145-188

van der Wal, R., Anderson, H., Robinson, A. et al. 2015. Mapping species distributions: A comparison of skilled naturalist and lay citizen science recording. Ambio 44: (SI Supplement 4): S584-S600.

Hudson, L.N., Newbold, T., Contu, S. et al.  2014. The PREDICTS database: a global database of how local terrestrial biodiversity responds to human impacts. Ecology and Evolution 4 (Issue 24): 4701-4735.

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