Stuart Newson


Senior Research Ecologist - Population Ecology and Modelling Research


Survey design and analysis of data from large national surveys of wild bird and mammal populations, particularly relating to population trend and population size estimation. Preparation of manuscripts for publication in scientific journals and articles accessible to the wider public.


BSc (Hons) Zoology, Bristol University, 1993-1996
Ph.D. The colonisation and range expansion of inland breeding great cormorants Phalacrocorax carbo in England. Bristol University,1998-2000.

Research Interests/Responsibilities

Long-term monitoring of the numbers and demography of wild bird and mammals populations
Biology of great cormorants
Other Information
Member of Bird Study editorial board
Member of BTO News editorial board
UK cormorant colour-ringing coordinator
Member of Norwich Bat Group committee
Licensed bird ringer

Selected Publications

Border, J.A., Newson, S.E., White, D.C.J., Gillings, S. 2017. Predicting the likely impact of urbanisation on bat populations using citizen science data, a case study for Norfolk, UK. Landscape & Urban Planning 162: 44–55.
Newson, S.E., Bas, Y., Murray, A., Gillings, S. 2017. Potential for coupling the monitoring of bush-crickets with established large-scale acoustic monitoring of bats. Methods in Ecology and Evolution In press. DOI: 10.1111/2041-210X.12720.

Newson, S.E., Moran, N.J., Musgrove, A.J., Pearce-Higgins, J.W., Gillings, S., Atkinson, P.W., Miller, R., Grantham, M.J. and Baillie, S.R. 2016. Long-term changes in the migration phenology of UK breeding birds detected by large-scale citizen science recording schemes. Ibis 158 (3): 481-495.

Newson, S.E., Evans, H.E. & Gillings, S. 2015.  A novel citizen approach for large-scale standardised monitoring of bat activity and distribution, evaluated in eastern England. Biological Conservation 191: 38-49.

Pocock, M. J. O., Newson, S. E. et al. 2015, Developing and enhancing biodiversity monitoring programmes: a collaborative assessment of priorities. Journal of Applied Ecology. doi: 10.1111/1365-2664.12423.

Sullivan , M.J.P., Newson , S.E., Pearce-Higgins, J.W. 2015. Evidence for the buffer effect operating in multiple species at a national scale. Biology Letters. doi: 10.1098/rsbl.2014.0930.

Sullivan, M.J.P., Newson, S.E., Pearce-Higgins, J.W. 2015. Using habitat-specific population trends to evaluate the consistency of the effect of species traits on bird population change. Biological Conservation 192, 343-352.

Newson, S.E., Oliver, T.H., Gillings, S., Crick, H.Q.P., Morecroft, M.D., Duffield, S.J., Macgregor, N.A., Pearce-Higgins, J.W. 2014. Can site and landscape-scale environmental attributes buffer bird populations against weather events? Ecography, 37,  872–882.

Newson, S.E., Ross-Smith, V., Evans, I., Harold, R., Miller, R. & Barlow, K. 2014. Bat-monitoring: a novel approach. British Wildlife 25, 264-269.

Newson, S.E., Oliver, T.H., Gillings, S., Crick, H.Q.P., Morecroft, M.D., Duffield, S.J., Macgregor, N.A., Pearce-Higgins, J.W. 2014. Can site and landscape-scale environmental attributes buffer bird populations against weather events? Ecography, Early View.

Wright, L.J., Newson, S.E. & Noble, D.G. 2014.  The value of a random sampling design for annual monitoring of national populations of larger British terrestrial mammals.  European Journal of Wildlife Research 60: 213.221.

Johnston, A., Ausden, M., Dodd, A.M., Bradbury, R.B., Chamberlain, D.E., Jiguet, F., Thomas, C.D., Cook, A.S.C.P., Newson, S.E., Ockendon, N., Rehfisch, M.M., Roos, S., Thaxter, C.B., Brown, A., Crick, H.Q.P., Douse, A., McCall, R.A., Pontier, H., Stroud, D.A., Cadiou, B., Crowe, O., Deceuninck, B., Hornman, M. & Pearce-Higgins, J.W. 2013. Observed and predicted effects of climate change on species abundance affirm the future value of a protected area network. Nature Climate Change doi: 10.1038/climate2035.

Studeny, A.C., Buckland, S.T., Harrison, P.J., Illian, J.B., Magurran, A.E., Newson, S.E. 2013. Fine-tuning the assessment of large-scale temporal trends in biodiversity using the examine of British breeding birds. Journal of Applied Ecology 50, 190-198.

Newson, S.E., Marchant, J., Sellers, R., Ekins, G., Hearn, R., & Burton, N. 2013. Colonisation and range expansion of inland-breeding Cormorants in England. British Birds 106, 737-743.

Chamberlain, D.E., Austin, G.E., Newson, S.E., Johnston, A., Burton, N.H.K.  2013. Licensed control does not reduce local cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo population size in winter. Journal of Ornithology 154, 739-750.

Sarda-Palomera, F., Brotons, L., Villero, D., Sierdsema, H., Newson, S.E., Jiguet, F. 2012. Mapping from Heterogenous biodiversity monitoring data sources. Biodiversity & Conservation 21, 2927-2948.

Newson, S.E., Johnston, A., Renwick, A.R., Baillie, S.R. & Fuller, R.J. 2012. Modelling large-scale relationships between changes in woodland deer and bird populations. Journal of Applied Ecology 49: 278-286.

Norman, D., Harris, R.J. & Newson, S.E. 2012. Producing regional estimates of population size for common and widespread breeding birds from national monitoring data. Bird Study. DOI: 10.1080/00063657.2011.623766.

Davey, C.M., Chamberlain, D.E., Newson, S.E., Noble, D.G. & Johnston, A. 2012. Rise of the generalists: evidence for climate driven homogenization in avian communities. Global Ecology and Biogeography. DOI: 10.1111/j.1466-8238.2011.00693.x.

Renwick, A.R., Johnson, A., Joys, A., Newson, S.E., Noble, D.G. & Pearce-Higgins, J.W. 2012. Composite bird indicators robust to variation in species selection and habitat specificity. Ecological Indicators 18: 200-207.

Renwick, A., Massimino, D., Newson, S.E., Chamberlain, D.E., Pearce-Higgins, J.W. & Johnston, A. 2012. Modelling changes in species’ abundance in response to projected climate change. Diversity & Distributions 18: 121-122.

Buckland, S.T., Studeny, A., Magurran, A.E. & Newson, S.E. 2011. Biodiversity monitoring: the relevance of detectability. In: Biological diversity: frontiers in measurement and assessment. Eds. A. Magurran & B. McGill. Oxford University Press.

Newson, S.E., Johnston, A., Parrott, D. & Leech, D.I. 2011. Evaluating the population-level impact of an invasive species, Ring-necked Parakeet Psittacula krameri, on native avifauna. Ibis 113: 509-516.

Baker, P.J., Thomas, R.L., Newson, S.E., Thompson, V. & Paling, N.R.D. 2010. Habitat associations and breeding bird community composition within the city of Bristol, UK. Bird Study 57: 183-196.

Douglas, D.J.T., Newson, S.E., Leech, D.I., Noble, D.G. & Robinson, R.A. 2010. How important are climate-induced changes in host availability for population processes in an obligate brood parasite, the European cuckoo? Oikos 119: 1834-1840.

Newson, S.E., Leech, D.I., Hewson, C.M., Crick, H.Q.P. & Grice, P.V. 2010. Population impact of grey squirrels Sciurus carolinensis on woodland bird populations in England. Journal of Ornithology 151: 211-218.

Newson, S.E., Rexstad, E.A., Baillie, S.R., Buckland, S.T. & Aebischer, N.J. 2010. Population changes of avian predators and grey squirrels in England: is there evidence for an impact on avian prey populations? Journal of Applied Ecology 47: 244- 252.

Evans, K.L., Newson, S.E., & Gaston, K.J. 2009. Habitat influences on urban avian assemblages. Ibis 151: 19-31.

MacLeod, C.J., Newson, S.E., Blackwell, G. & Duncan, R.P. 2009. Enhanced niche opportunities: can they explain the success of New Zealand’s introduced bird species? Diversity & Distributions 15: 41-49.

Newson, S.E., Ockendon, N., Joys, A., Noble, D.G. & Baillie, S.R. 2009. Comparison of habitat-specific trends in the abundance of breeding birds in the UK. Bird Study 56: 233-243.

Newson, S.E., Mendes, S., Crick, H.Q.P., Dulvy, N.K., Houghton, J.D.R., Hays, G.C., Hutson, A.M., Macleod, C.D., Pierce, G.J. & Robinson, R.A. 2009. Indicators of the impact of climate change on migratory species. Endangered Species Research 7: 101-113.

Evans, K.L., Newson, S.E., Storch, D., Greenwood, J.J.D. & Gaston, K.J. 2008. Spatial scale, abundance and the species-energy relationship in British birds. Journal of Animal Ecology 77: 395-405.

Freeman, S.N. & Newson, S.E. 2008. On a log-linear approach to detecting ecological interactions in monitored populations. Ibis 150: 250-258.

Newson, S.E. & Noble, D.G. 2008. The Breeding Bird Survey for mapping Britain's birds: A preliminary assessment of performance at two spatial scales. Rivista Catalana d'Ornithologia 24: 107-117.

Newson, S.E., Evans, K.L., Noble, D.G., Greenwood, J.J.D. & Gaston, K.J. 2008. Use of distance sampling to improve estimates of national population sizes for common and widespread breeding birds in the UK. Journal of Applied Ecology 45: 1330-1338.

Newson, S.E., Mitchell, P.I., Parsons, M., O’Brian, S.H., Austin, G.E., Benn, S., Black, J., Blackburn, J., Brodie, B., Humphreys, E., Leech, D., Prior, M. & Webster, M. 2008. Population decline of Leach’s Storm-petrel Oceanodroma Leucorhoa within the largest colony in Britain and Ireland. Seabird 21: 77-84.

Sims, V., Evans, K.L., Newson, S.E., Tratalos, J. & Gaston, K.J. 2008. Avian assemblage structure and domestic cat densities in urban environments. Diversity & Distributions 14: 387-399.

Freeman, S.N., Noble, D.G., Newson, S.E. & Baillie, S.R. 2007. Modelling population changes using data from different surveys: the Common Birds Census and the Breeding Bird Survey. Bird Study 54: 61-72.

Gillings, S. & Newson, S.E. 2007. Breeding populations of Northern Wheatear in Britain. British Birds 100: 179-181.

Jiguet, F., Gadot, A-S., Julliard, R., Newson, S.E. & Couvet, D. 2007. Climate envelope, life-history traits and the resilience of birds facing global change. Global Change Biology 13: 1672-1684.

Newson, S.E., Marchant, J.H., Ekins, G.R. & Sellers, R.M. 2007. The status of inland breeding Great Cormorants Phalacrocorax carbo in England. British Birds 100: 289-299.

Snow, L.C., Newson, S.E., Musgrove, A.J., Cranswick, P.A. & Crick, H.Q.P. 2007. Risk based surveillance for Avian Influenza H5N1 in wild birds in Great Britain. Veterinary Record 161: 775-781.

Tratalos, J., Fuller, R.A. Evans, K.L. Davies, R.G., Newson, S.E., Greenwood, J.J.D. & Gaston, K.J. 2007. Bird densities are associated with household densities. Global Change Biology 13: 1685-1695.

Brotons, L., Sierdsema, H., Newson, S.E., Jiguet, F. & Gregory, R. 2006. Spatial modelling of large-scale bird monitoring data: Towards pan-European quantitative distribution maps. Journal of Ornithology 147: 29, Suppl. 1.

Jiguet, F., Julliard, R., Thomas, C.D., Dehorter, O., Newson, S.E. & Couvet, D. 2006. Thermal range predicts bird population resilience to extreme high temperatures. Ecology Letters 9: 1321-1330.

Newson, S. & Noble, D. 2006. Predicting abundance of UK bird populations. Journal of Ornithology 147: 122, Suppl. 1.

Sierdsema, J., Brotons, L. Newson, S.E., Jiguet, F. & Gregory, R. 2006. The next step in population alerts: Assessing changes in distribution and abundance from count survey data. Journal of Ornithology 147: 30. Suppl. 1.

Toms, M.P. & Newson, S.E. 2006. Volunteer surveys as a means for detected trends in garden mammal populations. Mammal Review 36: 309-317.

Clarke, R., Lauder, A., Field, R. & Newson, S.E. 2005. Current colour-ringing projects on cormorants in the UK. Cormorant Research Group Bulletin 6: 58-60.

Gillings, S., Newson, S.E., Noble, D.G. & Vickery, J.A. 2005. Winter availability of cereal stubbles attracts declining farmland birds and positively influences breeding population trends. Proceedings of the Royal Society, Series B Biological Sciences 272: 733-739.

Newson, S.E. & Hughes, B. 2005. Delayed breeding during harsh weather events in the Great Cormorant. Cormorant Research Group Bulletin 6: 11-13.

Newson, S.E., Ekins, G.R., Russell, I.C. & Sellers, R.M. 2005. Separation of North Atlantic and Continental Cormorants. Birding World 219: 107-111.

Newson, S.E., Hughes, B., Hearn, R. & Bregnballe, T. 2005. Breeding performance and timing of breeding of inland and coastal breeding Cormorants Phalacrocorax carbo in England and Wales. Bird Study 52: 10-17.

Newson, S.E., Woodburn, R., Noble, D.G., Baillie, S.R. & Gregory, R.D. 2005. Evaluating the Breeding Bird Survey for producing national population size and density estimates. Bird Study 52: 42-54.

Newson, S.E., Hughes, B., Russell, I.C., Ekins, G.R. & Sellers, R.M. 2004. Sub-specific differentiation and distribution of Great Cormorants Phalacrocorax carbo in Europe. Ardea 93: 3-10.

Musgrove, A., Newson, S.E., Fairney, N., Sanderson, B. & Whitehead, S. 2003. Marine Monitoring Project: Ground and Aerial Monitoring Protocols for In Shore Special Protection Areas. Common Scoter Surveys in Carmarthen Bay During the Winter of 2002-03. 91pp. BTO Research Report No. 336.

Newson, S.E. & Bregnballe, T. 2003. Estimating reproductive success of Great Cormorants Phalacrocorax carbo: reliability and limitations of current methodology. Vogelwelt 124: Suppl., 143-148.

Newson, S.E., Noble, D.G. & Marchant, J.H. 2003. Analysis of population trends for waterways birds. BTO Research Report No. 337. British Trust for Ornithology.

Russell, I., Bearhop, S., Newson, S.E., Winney, B., Allchin, C.R. & Kirk, R.S. 2003. Multi-disciplinary analysis of cormorant carcases. Vogelwelt 124: Suppl., 157-166.

Thomas, R.J., Székely, T., Cuthill, I.C., Harper, D.G.C., Newson, S.E., Frayling, T.D. & Wallis, P.D. 2002. Eye size in birds and the timing of song at dawn. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London Series B Biological Sciences 1493: 831-838.

Hughes, B., Bruce, J., Ekins, G.R. & Newson, S.E. 1999. Movements and distribution of inland breeding Cormorants in England. WWT Wetlands Advisory Service report to English Nature. 83pp.

Newson, S.E. & Hughes, B. 1999. Diurnal activity budgets of Goosander Mergus merganser wintering on Chew Valley Lake, North Somerset: Influence of time of day and sex. Wildfowl 49: 173-180.

Newson, S.E., Hughes, B. & Sellers, R.M. 1997. Status and breeding success of Cormorants Phalacrocorax carbo in Wales in 1997. CCW Sea Empress Contract Report No. 288. CCW, Bangor. 10pp.

 Contact Details

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