Rob Fuller

Rob Fuller


Honorary Research Fellow


Following many years as a Director of Science at the BTO, in November 2014 I moved into a senior position to undertake research of topics mainly relating to forestry, habitat management and conservation strategies.


BSc Zoology (1st Class), Imperial College, London University 1973
PhD University of London (external), ‘Composition and structure of bird communities in Britain’ 1987  

Research Interests/Responsibilities 

  • I have extensive experience of working on responses of biodiversity, especially birds, to land-use change and habitat management, mainly in agricultural and forest systems. Principal or co-investigator on >30 biodiversity projects in the last 20 years, contributing to the evidence base for policy and practice.
  • Factors influencing spatial and temporal variation in temperate woodland and shrubland bird communities have been a long-term and ongoing research interest. Particular interests are effects of vegetation structure, successional dynamics and habitat mosaics. Effects of woodland management (including response to ash dieback) and impacts of increasing deer populations on the ecology of lowland woodland have been the major applied areas of focus. I am currently co-editing a book on Ecology and Conservation of Forest Birds.
  • Conservation strategies in forest environments and the design of ecological networks has become an increasingly important part of my work.
  • I lead a novel project developing an online system for the long-term monitoring of how biodiversity responds to specific habitat interventions within landscape-scale conservation schemes (joint with The Wildlife Trusts).
  • The ecology of breeding waders, especially their habitat selection and responses to land-use change has been an interest for over 30 years. This work has focused on the Outer Hebrides, Scotland.  
  • I supervised Bird Atlas 2007-11: The breeding and wintering birds of Britain and Ireland and have edited a major review on bird-habitat relationships, published by Cambridge University Press in November 2012: Birds and Habitat: Relationships in Changing Landscapes.

Other Information  

Honorary Professor, School of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia
The RSPB Medal fo services to nature conservation, awarded 2014
Godman-Salvin Medal of the British Ornithologists' Union, awarded 2013

Selected Publications

  • Calladine, J., Pakeman, R.J, Humphreys, E., Huband, S. & Fuller, R.J. In press. Changes in breeding wader assemblages, vegetation and land use within machair environments over three decades. Bird Study.
  • Gillings, S., Balmer, D.E. & Fuller, R.J. In press. Directionality of recent bird distribution shifts and climate change in Great Britain. Global Change Biology.
  • Holt, C.A., Fuller, R.J. & Dolman, P.M. 2014. Exclusion of deer affects responses of birds to woodland regeneration in winter and summer. Ibis157, 116-131.
  • Holt, C.A. & Fuller, R.J. 2013. An experimental assessment of the effect of deer on use of young coppiced woodland by Eurasian Woodcocks Scolopax rusticola in winter.Wader Study Group Bull. 120, 124–127.
  • Fuller, R.J. 2013. Searching for biodiversity gains through woodfuel and forest management. Journal of Applied Ecology50, 1295-1300.  doi.10.1111/1365-2664.12152.
  • Holt, C.A., Fuller, R.J. & Dolman, P.M. 2013. Deer reduce habitat quality for a woodland songbird:  evidence from settlement patterns, demographic parameters, and body condition.  Auk, 130, 13-20.
  • Fuller, R.J. & Rothery, P. 2013. Temporal consistency in fine-scale habitat relationships of woodland birds during a period of habitat deterioration.  Forest Ecology & Management, 289, 164-174.
  • Fuller, R.J., Gillings, S., Lauder, A.W. & Crowe, O. 2013. Pattern and change in the British and Irish avifaunas over a 40 year period. In Bird Atlas 2007-11: The Breeding and Wintering Birds of Britain and Ireland (D.E. Balmer, S. Gillings, B.J. Caffrey, R.L. Swann, I.S. Downie & R.J. Fuller), pp 115-146. BTO Books, Thetford.
  • Fuller, R.J. 2012. The bird and its habitat: an overview of concepts.  In: Birds and Habitat: Relationships in Changing Landscapes, ed. R.J. Fuller, pp.4-36.  Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Fuller, R.J. 2012. Habitat quality and habitat occupancy by birds in variable environments. In: Birds and Habitat: Relationships in Changing Landscapes, ed. R.J. Fuller, pp. 37-62. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Fuller, R.J. 2012. Avian responses to transitional habitats in temperate cultural landscapes: woodland edges and young-growth.  In: Birds and Habitat: Relationships in Changing Landscapes, ed. R.J. Fuller, pp. 125-149.  Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Fuller, R.J., Smith, K.W. & Hinsley, S.A. 2012. Temperate western European woodland as a dynamic environment for birds: a resource-based view.  In: Birds and Habitat: Relationships in Changing Landscapes, ed. R.J. Fuller, pp. 352-380. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Wesolowski, T. & Fuller, R.J. (2012) Spatial variation and temporal shifts in habitat use by birds at the European scale.   In: Birds and Habitat: Relationships in Changing Landscapes, ed. R.J. Fuller, pp. 63-92..  Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Eglington, S.M, Noble, D.G. & Fuller, R.J. 2012. A meta-analysis of spatial relationships in species richness across taxa: Birds as indicators of wider biodiversity in temperate regions.  Journal for Nature Conservation, 20, 301-309.
  • Oliver, T.H, Gillings, S., Girardello, M., Rapacciuolo, G., Brereton, T.M., Siriwardena, G.M., Roy, D.B., Pywell, R & Fuller, R.J. 2012). Population density but not stability can be predicted from species distribution models.  Journal of Applied Ecology, 49,581-590
  • Holt, C.A., Hewson, C.M. & Fuller, R.J. 2012. The Nightingale in Britain: status, ecology and conservation needs.  British Birds, 105, 172-187.
  • Newson, S.E., Johnston, A., Renwick, A.R., Baillie, S.R. & Fuller, R.J. 2011. Modelling large-scale relationships between changes in woodland deer and bird populations.  Journal of Applied Ecology, 49, 278-286.
  • Holt, C.A., Fuller, R.J. & Dolman, P.M. 2011. Breeding and post-breeding responses of woodland birds to modification of habitat structure by deer.  Biological Conservation, 144, 2151-2162.
  • Fahrig, L,. Baudry, J., Brotons, L., Burel, F.G.,  Crist, T.O., Fuller, R.J., Sirami, C., Siriwardena, G.M. & Martin, J.-L. 2011. Functional landscape heterogeneity and  animal biodiversity in agricultural landscapes.  Ecology Letters, 14, 101-112.
  • Hewson, C.M., Austin, G.E., Gough, S.J. & Fuller, R.J. 2011. Species-specific responses of woodland birds to stand-level habitat characteristics: the dual importance of forest structure and floristics.  Forest Ecology & Management, 261, 1224-1240.
  • Holt, C.A., Atkinson, P.W., Vickery, J.A. & Fuller, R.J. 2010. Do field margin characteristics influence songbird nest-site selection in adjacent hedgerows?  Bird Study, 57, 392-395.
  • Amar, A., Smith, K.W., Butler, S., Lindsell, J.A., Hewson, C.M., Fuller, R.J. & Charman, E.C. 2010. Recent patterns of change in vegetation structure and tree composition of British broadleaved woodland: evidence from large-scale surveys.  Forestry, 83, 345-356.
  • Holt, C.A., Fuller, R.J. & Dolman, P.M. 2010. Experimental evidence that deer browsing reduces habitat suitability for breeding Common Nightingales Luscinia megarhynchosIbis, 152, 335-346.
  • Fuller, R.J., Humphreys, E.M., Wilson, J.D., Hoccom, D.G. & Calladine, J. 2010. Changes in the breeding wader population of the machair of the Western isles, Scotland, between 2000 and 2007.  Bird Study, 57, 121-124.

Contact Details 

Email: rob.fuller [at]
Telephone: 01842 750050
Fax: 01842 750030
Postal address: British Trust for Ornithology, The Nunnery, Thetford, IP24 2PU, UK.