Kate Plummer

Kate Plummer

Job Description

Research Ecologist


Kate's principle role is to conduct research into avian responses to environmental change, particularly urbanisation. Kate uses BTO’s large-scale citizen science datasets and novel field surveys to address important questions about urban wildlife.

Kate is currently undertaking a one-year fellowship, investigating the role of garden bird feeding in shaping British bird communities.


2011 PhD Behavioural Ecology, University of Exeter
2007 MSc Evolutionary and Behavioural Ecology, University of Exeter
2006 BSc Biology, University of Nottingham

Interests & Responsibilities

Kate's research interests lie in the relationships between people and wildlife. She studies how species and communities respond to human-induced environmental change, as well as how people might benefit from the wildlife they experience in urban areas. Kate does this by combining aspects of avian, urban and behavioural ecology. She works closely with the Garden BirdWatch (GBW) team to develop and address research questions concerning the wildlife in our gardens.

Key areas of interest:

  • Understanding how gardens and their resources influence wild bird populations
  • The implications of garden bird feeding
  • Investigating how birds can affect human well-being
  • The effects of urbanisation on bird species distributions and trends
  • The consequences of street lighting on British moths communities

Other Information

Kate is based at the University of Exeter's Centre for Ecology and Conservation, where she has an honorary position as a Visiting Researcher.

Recent BTO Publications

Metcalfe, K., Collins, T., Abernethy, K. E., Boumba, R., Dengui, J.-C., Miyalou, R., Parnell, R. J., Plummer, K. E., Russell, D. J.F., Safou, G. K., Tilley, D., Turner, R. A., VanLeeuwe, H., Witt, M. J. & Godley, B. J. 2017. Addressing Uncertainty in Marine Resource Management; Combining Community Engagement and Tracking Technology to Characterize Human Behavior. Conservation Letters 10 : 460-469 Link to publication View at journal website (DOI: 10.1111/conl.12293)
Grafius, D.R., Corstanje, R., Siriwardena, G.M., Plummer, K.E. & Harris, J.A. 2017. A bird's eye view: using circuit theory to study urban landscape connectivity for birds. Landscape Ecology 32 : 1 771-1 787 Link to publication View at journal website (DOI: 10.1007/s10980-017-0548-1) 17pp PDF icon Download Report (7.26 MB)
Cox, D.T.C., Shanahan, D.F., Hudson, H.L., Plummer, K.E., Siriwardena, G.M., Fuller, R.A., Anderson, K., Hancock, S. & Gaston, K.J. 2017. Doses of neighborhood nature: the benefits for mental health of living with nature. BioScience 67 (part 2) : 147-155 View at journal website (DOI: 10.1093/biosci/biw173)
Plummer, K.E., Hale, J.D., O’Callaghan, M.J., Sadler, J.P. & Siriwardena, G.M. 2016. Investigating the impact of street lighting changes on garden moth communities. Journal of Urban Ecology 2 (part 1) View at journal website (DOI: 10.1093/jue/juw004)
Clewley, G.D., Plummer, K.E., Robinson, R.A., Simm, C.H. & Toms, M.P. 2015. The effect of artificial lighting on the arrival time of birds using garden feeding stations in winter: A missed opportunity?. Urban Ecosystems 19 : 535-546 View at journal website (DOI: 10.1007%2Fs11252-015-0516-y)
Plummer, K.E., Siriwardena, G.M., Conway, G.J., Risely, K. & Toms, M.P. 2015. Is supplementary feeding in gardens a driver of evolutionary change in a migratory bird species?. Global Change Biology 21 : 4 353-4 363 Link to publication View at journal website (DOI: 10.1111/gcb.13070)

Other publications

Mainwaring, M., Hartley, I., Bearhop, S., Brulez, K., du Feu, C., Murphy, G., Plummer, K.E., Webber, S., Reynolds, J.S. & Deeming, C.D.  2012. Latitudinal variation in blue tit and great tit nest characteristics indicates environmental adjustment.  Journal of Biogeography 39 1669-1677. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1365-2699.2012.02724.x/full