Head & Principal Ecologist
Simon leads a dynamic team of seven research ecologists tackling applied questions using a combination of intensively collected field data and large-scale datasets collected by BTO citizen scientists.
Interests & Responsibilities
Simon's main interests concern the factors shaping bird distributions and what causes them to change through time. Simon was lead analyst for the recently published Bird Atlas 2007-11 and is now actively engaged in research to understand what has driven the significant range changes that were documented. This work includes consideration of urbanisation, management of agricultural land, upland issues and climate change. Simon oversees related work via the research programme of the Breeding Bird Survey. He has a long-standing interest in the ecology and foraging behaviour of shorebirds, including Lapwings and Golden Plovers.
Simon is a keen birder and avid user of BirdTrack. As such he is always keen to see the use of birdwatchers' records for research and conservation through appropriate analytical design and novel data visualisation. A recent example is the production of data-driven calendar wheels and novel seasonal abundance maps for the Collins-BTO Guide to British Birds.
QualificationsBSc (Hons) Ecology, University of East Anglia, 1992-1995 PhD Diurnal and nocturnal ecology of Golden Plovers Pluvialis apricaria and Lapwings Vanellus vanellus wintering on arable farmland, University of East Anglia, 1999-2003
Recent BTO Publications
Content Related to Simon Gillings
Bird responses to housing development in intensively managed agricultural landscapes
Like in many countries, Britain faces the challenge of housing a growing population, but urban expansion to address this can lead to locally high rates of biodiversity loss, along with fragmentation of natural and sem
Spare or share to benefit biodiversity?
Agriculture is necessary to meet the food demands of an increasing human population, but it is also a leading threat to biodiversity, both because natural habitats are destroyed when land is converted to agricultural...