International Congress on Conservation Biology (ICCB) 2019

16 September 2019

This past July, Maria Wang and Cindy Cosset gave talks on their PhD research at the International Congress on Conservation Biology (ICCB) in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Head over to the Grantham Centre for Sustainable Futures website to read more about Maria’s account of her experience at ICCB.

Cempedak, a funky tropical fruit you’ve probably never heard of

26 September 2018

A paper on an underutilised tropical fruit tree with potential for increasing food security, authored by Maria Wang, was published in the American Journal of Botany earlier this year.

Read her article to see more photos and to find out more about the stories behind her masters research.

Freshly opened cempedak and its gorgeous fleshy fruits.
Photo credit: Maria Wang

New paper on fragmented species–area relationships published in Ecology Letters

15 May 2018

A paper tackling the classic ecological question of how manyspecies are lost as a forest or other habitat is destroyed is now published in Ecology Letters, with the collaboration of one of our own, Felix Lim.

The team’s method – novelty – derives new formulas to quickly calculate ranges of immediate species loss expected in different landscapes. The formulas simulate different arrangements of habitat loss, from block deforestation to highly fragmented landscapes. Taking fragmentation into account means enabling improved estimates of the impact on species as forests are cleared which then informs better conservation strategies.

The study also found that the pattern of habitat fragmentation can have enormous effects on species loss, especially at large scales: in the Amazon case study estimated species loss varies by a factor of 16 across fragmentation scenarios.

A nice summary of the study on the main author’s lab website

Access the publication

Rebecca Senior publishes in Global Change Biology

2 November 2017

PhD student Rebecca Senior has just published her research about thermal buffering in selectively logged forests in Global Change Biology.

Selectively logged tropical forests harbour much of the world’s terrestrial biodiversity; their ability to do so in the long term will depend in part on the extent to which temperature-sensitive species can respond to climate change in situ.

Using thermal images and temperature dataloggers, Rebecca found that – despite major differences in forest structure – thermal buffering potential in intensively logged forest on Borneo was comparable to that of undisturbed primary forest. Selectively logged forests can therefore play a crucial role in the long-term maintenance of global biodiversity.

Rebecca also gave a short interview on BBC Radio Sheffield about this work and what it means for biodiversity.

Read the full article (open access)

Read the story on the University of Sheffield news page

Welcome Maria, Callum, Tom, and Gianluca

2 November 2017

Welcome Maria Wang (PhD), Callum Nixon and Tom Pearson (MRes), and Gianluca Cerullo (MBiolSci) to the Lab! We’re also delighted that Luke and Patrick (Paddy) are staying on as PhD students.

Edwards Lab does science outreach

17 March 2017

The Edwards Lab got involved with some science outreach last week. We took part in the annual Discovery Night event (10 March) at the University of Sheffield as part of the Sheffield Festival of Science and Engineering. We organised a tropical forest exhibit that included activities for the whole family to learn about the unique features of the tropical rainforest, the extraordinary creatures that live there and the current threats to these beautiful forests.

The Nadeau lab joined us and brought live tropical butterflies to the exhibit too! We got to share our current research on tropical forests and provide tips on what the public can do at home to help save these important habitats. The event was packed full of families interested in what scientists have been up to and thoroughly enjoyed the event. Our first outreach event as a lab was a success and all round a great experience.

All set and ready to go!

Cindy and Beth with their forest layer game.

Tamora ready to talk about the microclimate of a forest.

Joli and Patrick teaching about tropical food webs.

Ileana and Katie doing origami of tropical animals!

Manoela with her recreation of the size of an Amazonian tree base.

Felix with his activity about the palm oil issue.

Emma from the Nadeau Lab with their tropical butterflies!

Lots of good feedback about Discovery Night!

Felix Lim publishes in Conservation Letters

6 February 2017

PhD student Felix Lim has published his work on perverse market consequences of conservation actions in Conservation Letters.

The unintended consequences brought about by market feedback effects are often overlooked, yet perverse market outcomes could result in reduced or even reversed net impacts of conservation efforts.

Felix and co-authors develop an economic framework to describe how the intended impacts of conservation interventions could be compromised due to unanticipated reactions to regulations in the market: policies aimed at restricting supply could potentially result in leakage effects through external or unregulated markets.

Felix reviews how various intervention methods could result in negative feedback impacts on biodiversity, including legal restrictions like protected areas, market-based approaches, and agricultural intensification, and offers suggestions of how to design conservation actions to ensure the risks of perverse market outcomes are detected, if not overcome.

Read the full article (PDF, 243KB)

Welcome Cindy, Emma, Simone and Carlos!

19 October 2016

Three PhD students and an MRes student have joined the lab. Huge welcome to Cindy, Emma, Simone, and Carlos.

Emma gave a great short presentation yesterday at the Annual ACCE Conference.

Masters student, Ed Bashman, publishes in Animal Conservation

3 August 2016

Former masters student Ed Bashman has published his research in Animal Conservation. Congratulations!

Here is a short summary written by co-author Pam:

Amphibian abundance, species richness and threatened species were assessed in cattle pasture, secondary forests (recovering forests) and primary forests in the Tropical Andes. Cattle pasture had the lowest values across all habitats. As secondary forests matured, they recovered to values typically found in primary forests. Also, a positive relationship between carbon stocks and amphibian species richness and abundance suggests that carbon-based funding initiatives can support the regrowth of forests and is likely to conserve threatened biodiversity in the Tropical Andes.

Read the full article online

Photo credit: Ed Bashman

Welcome Manoela, Mike, Felix and Matt

19 November 2015

Four new PhD students have joined the lab, Manoela, Matt, Felix and Mike.

Some of us (PhD and masters students) went to the Tropical Butterfly House near Sheffield to present to undergraduates working on the Tropical Ecology module that David coordinates. The lemurs provided a lot of entertainment!

Farmlands and bird phylogenetic diversity

1 October 2015

How to best protect avian phylogenetic diversity when converting natural habitats to farmland? By integrating wildlife friendly habitats within farmlands or by intensifying farming in some areas to allow the offset of natural reserves?

Edwards et al. (2015) study the effects of these two strategies (land-sharing vs land-sparing) and conclude that small-scale integration of wildlife friendly patches may not be enough for many bird species to persist without the protection of larger natural areas. Thus, a land-sparing strategy is more likely to retain evolutionary distinct bird species while establishing highly productive farmland areas.

Summary of the study in The Guardian

Some great bird pictures by GrrlScientist

Access the Current Biology publication

Photograph by James Gilroy. Female masked trogon, Trogon personatus, an agriculture loser (land-sparing is best).

Lewis, Edwards and Galbraith in Science

24 August 2015

‘Increasing human dominance of tropical forests’, co-authored by Dr Edwards, has just been published in Science. Four chronological phases of human influences on tropical forests are discussed: phase one, hunting and megafauna extinctions; phase two, low-intensity shifting cultivation; and phase three, global integration in which economics drives land-use and climate change.

Finally, the very dreaded phase four may take place in the near future, so-called “global simplification” by which intensive logging and rapid climatic changes would cause worldwide loss of species. The future lies in the hands of humankind...

Read the full article (PDF, 809KB)

Field season in the Amazon begins

3 June 2015

Ileana is now set in Rondonia at the Jamari Concession starting our project in collaboration with the sustainable logging company AMATA Brasil. AMATA has ‘bar-coded’ over 100,000 trees with information on their biomass, species and exact location. This enables them to plan selective logging in detail and provides us with a lot of valuable data to carry out research.

Ileana and Dave have set up sampling plots which we will use for different purposes. Ileana is working on carbon retention and I (Gabriela) will soon be looking at butterfly communities in the area.

Among other creatures, this remarkably large tarantula (a goliath birdeater, we think) was photographed by Dr Edwards. Happy days!

Rubber threatens tropical forests

30 April 2015

New research suggests that soaring demand for natural rubber threatens large expanses of tropical forests in Southeast Asia. Natural rubber – used primarily in car tyres – is replacing forest with big costs for biodiversity. We urgently need an industry sustainability initiative to prevent the loss of forests and uptake from the largest tyre manufacturers.

Read more on BBC News

Read the full article in Conservation Letters (PDF, 629KB)