Senior Research Ecologist
Kate's principal 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.
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
Kate is based at the University of Exeter's Centre for Ecology and Conservation, where she has an honorary position as a Visiting Researcher.
Qualifications2011 PhD Behavioural Ecology, University of Exeter
2007 MSc Evolutionary and Behavioural Ecology, University of Exeter
2006 BSc Biology, University of Nottingham
Recent BTO Publications2021. A global horizon scan of the future impacts of robotics and autonomous systems on urban ecosystems. Nature Ecology & Evolution View at journal website (DOI: 10.1038/s41559-020-01358-z) 21pp 2020. Evaluating the potential for bird‐habitat models to support biodiversity‐friendly urban planning. Journal of Applied Ecology 57 : 1 902-1 914 View at journal website (DOI: 10.1111/1365-2664.13703) 2019. Using GIS-linked Bayesian Belief Networks as a tool for modelling urban biodiversity . Landscape and Urban Planning 189 : 382-395 View at journal website (DOI: 10.1016/j.landurbplan.2019.05.012) 14pp 2019. The composition of British bird communities is associated with long-term garden bird feeding. Nature Communications View at journal website (DOI: 10.1038/s41467-019-10111-5) 2018. Effects of supplementary feeding on interspecific dominance hierarchies in garden birds. PLOS ONE 13 (part 9) View at journal website (DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0202152) 2018. Effects of winter food provisioning on the phenotypes of breeding blue tits. Ecology and Evolution View at journal website (DOI: 10.1002/ece3.4048)
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
Content Related to Kate Plummer
What we can learn from 25 years of watching gardens
Exploring the value of a complete quarter-century of weekly garden bird observations from BTO's Garden BirdWatch covering the length and breadth of the country.
Garden birds: to feed or not to feed?
Almost half of the households in the UK feed their garden birds. But should we? Dr Kate Plummer explores the effects of feeding on bird populations.