Gavin Siriwardena

Head & Principal Ecologist

Gavin leads the BTO’s Terrestrial Ecology team, which currently comprises up to 15 analytical and field research staff, conducting and supervising pure and applied research on terrestrial bird ecology.

Interests & Responsibilities

Terrestrial bird ecology at a range of spatial scales, from territories to landscapes, via field experiments and analyses of large-scale, long-term datasets. 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.

Other Information

Member of the Editorial Board of Bird Study. Member of the British Ornithologists’ Union’s council.

Qualifications

BA Natural Sciences (Zoology), University of Cambridge 1990 PhD Aspects of Vocal Communication in the Carrion Crow, University of Leicester 1995

Recent BTO Publications

Maskell, L., Alison, J., Forbes, N., Jarvis, S., Robinson, D., Siriwardena, G., Wood, C. & Smart, S. 2023. Inconsistent relationships between area, heterogeneity and plant species richness in temperate farmed landscapes. Oikos View at journal website (DOI: 10.1111/oik.09720) 13pp
Hunt, M.L., Blackburn, G.A., Siriwardena, G.M., Carrasco, L. & Rowland, C.S. 2022. Using satellite data to assess spatial drivers of bird diversity. Remote Sensing in Ecology and Conservation View at journal website (DOI: 10.1002/rse2.322) 17pp
Hanmer, H.J., Dadam, D. & Siriwardena, G.M. 2022. Evidence that rural wintering populations supplement suburban breeding populations. Bird Study Link to publication View at journal website (DOI: 10.1080/00063657.2022.2139814)
Hanmer, H.J., Cunningham, A.A., John, S.K., Magregor, S.K., Robinson, R.A., Seilern-Moy, K., Siriwardena, G.M. & Lawson, B. 2022. Habitat-use influences severe disease-mediated population declines in two of the most common garden bird species in Great Britain. Scientific Reports 12 View at journal website (DOI: 10.1038/s41598-022-18880-8)
Ward, C.V., Heydon, M., Lakin, I., Sullivan, A.J. & Siriwardena, G.M. 2022. Breeding bird population trends during 2013–2019 inside and outside of European Badger control areas in England. Journal of Zoology Link to publication View at journal website (DOI: 10.1111/jzo.13010)
Redhead, J.W., Hinsley, S.A., Botham, M.S., Broughton, R.K., Freeman, S.N., Bellamy, P.E., Siriwardena, G., Randle, Z., Nowakowski, M., Heard, M.S. & Pywell, R.F. 2022. The effects of a decade of agri-environment intervention in a lowland farm landscape on population trends of birds and butterflies. Journal of Applied Ecology View at journal website (DOI: 10.1111/1365-2664.14246)


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