Science has always been a fundamental pillar of WWT’s approach to conservation and the Trust has a long history of research innovation. We believe that conservation decision-making – whether by reserve managers or national governments - needs to be based on evidence. We therefore employ 18 scientific staff, and have eight PhD students, who provide the scientific underpinning of WWT’s conservation work.
WWT science is wide-ranging. We have long-standing strengths in the autecology of threatened bird species, with active research programmes on Bewick’s swan, Greenland white-fronted goose, common scoter and Madagascar pochard. More recently, wetland science work has expanded, and we are investigating the add-on benefits of Natural Flood Management for biodiversity and water quality, and the way in which farm wetlands can ‘subsidise’ terrestrial wildlife in the surrounding area. We are also increasingly involved in social science, for example examining hunter attitudes in the Russian tundra, and the human health and wellbeing benefits of access to wetland nature.
Our staff are specialists in a variety of cutting-edge techniques, including palaeolimnology, water quality assessment, avian demography, wildlife telemetry, and remote-sensing. We collaborate widely, with current partnerships involving several UK universities, other NGOs and governments. Above all we seek to link evidence to public engagement and policy advocacy so that we can deliver science with impact.
Clark, N.A., Anderson, G.Q.A., Li, J., Syroechkovskiy, E.E., Tomkovich, P.S., Zockler, C., Lee, R. & Green, R.E. (2018) First formal estimate of the world population of the Critically Endangered spoon-billed sandpiper Calidris pygmaea. Oryx, 52, 137–146.
Gaston, K.J., Cox, D.T.C., Canavelli, S.B., Garcia, D., Hughes, B., Maas, B., Martinez, D., Ogada, D. & Inger, R. (2018) Population Abundance and Ecosystem Service Provision: The Case of Birds. Bioscience, 68, 264–272.
Reeder, R.H., Bacon, E.T.G., Caiden, M.J., Bullock, R.J. & Gonzalez-Moreno, P. (2018) Effect of population density of the Azolla weevil (Stenopelmus rufinasus) on the surface cover of the water fern (Azolla filiculoides) in the UK. Biocontrol, 63, 185–192.
O’Hare, M.T., Aguiar, F.C., Asaeda, T., Bakker, E.S., Chambers, P.A., Clayton, J.S., Elger, A., Ferreira, T.M., Gross, E.M., Gunn, I.D.M., Gurnell, A.M., Hellsten, S., Hofstra, D.E., Li, W., Mohr, S., Puijalon, S., Szoszkiewicz, K., Willby, N.J. & Wood, K.A. (2018) Plants in aquatic ecosystems: current trends and future directions. Hydrobiologia, 812, 1–11.
Hansen, R., Brown, I., Brookes, S., Welchman, D. & Cromie, R. (2018) Current status of avian influenza in Europe and the UK. Veterinary Record, 182, 54–55.
Harrison, A.L., Petkov, N., Mitev, D., Popgeorgiev, G., Gove, B. & Hilton, G.M. (2018) Scale-dependent habitat selection by wintering geese: implications for landscape management. Biodiversity and Conservation, 27, 167–188.
Wood, K.A., Nuijten, R.J.M.M., Newth, J.L., Haitjema, T., Vangeluwe, D., Ioannidis, P., Harrison, A.L., Mackenzie, C., Hilton, G.M., Nolet, B.A., Rees, E.C., (2018) Apparent survival of an Arctic-breeding migratory bird over 44 years of fluctuating population size. Ibis, 160, 413–430.
Wood, K.A., Stillman, R.A., Clarke, R.T., Daunt, F. & O’Hare, M.T. (2018) Water velocity limits the temporal extent of herbivore effects on aquatic plants in a lowland river. Hydrobiologia, 812, 45–55.
Wood, K.A., Stillman, R.A. & Hilton, G.M. (2018) Conservation in a changing world needs predictive models. Animal Conservation, 21, 87–88.
Bamford, A.J., Razafindrajao, F., Young, R.P. & Hilton, G.M. (2017) Profound and pervasive degradation of Madagascar’s freshwater wetlands and links with biodiversity. PLoS ONE, 12, 1–15.
Booy, O.,…Bullock, R., et al. (2017) Risk management to prioritise the eradication of new and emerging invasive non-native species. Biological Invasions, 19, 2401–2417.
Brides, K., Wood, K.A., Hearn, R.D. & Fijen, T.P.M. (2017) Changes in the sex ratio of the Common Pochard Aythya ferina in Europe and North Africa. Wildfowl, 67, 100–112.
Buchanan, G.M., Bond, A.L., Crockford, N.J., Kamp, J., Pearce-Higgins, J.W. & Hilton, G.M. (2017) The potential breeding range of Slender-billed Curlew Numenius tenuirostris identified from stable-isotope analysis. Bird Conservation International, 1–10.
Dillon, M.J., Bowkett, A.E., Bungard, M.J., Beckman, K.M., O’Brien, M.F., Bates, K., Fisher, M.C., Stevens, J.R. & Thornton, C.R. (2017) Tracking the amphibian pathogens Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis and Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans using a highly specific monoclonal antibody and lateral-flow technology. MICROBIAL BIOTECHNOLOGY, 10, 381–394.
Duff, P., Neale, S., Cromie, R., Kerr, M. & Irvine, R. (2017) Suspected avian botulism outbreaks in wild waterbirds. Veterinary Record, 181.
Guillemain, M., Calenge, C., Champagnon, J. & Hearn, R. (2017) Determining the boundaries of migratory bird flyways: a Bayesian model for Eurasian teal Anas crecca in western Europe. Journal of Avian Biology, 48, 1331–1341.
Guillemain, M. & Hearn, R. (2017) Ready for climate change? Geographic trends in the protection status of critical sites for Western Palearctic ducks. Biodiversity and Conservation, 26, 2347–2360.
Hulbert, A.J., Hunt, K.A. & Rose, P.E. (2017) A multi-zoo investigation of nutrient provision for captive red-crested turacos. Zoo Biology, 36, 152–160.
Justice, W.S.M., O ’Brien, M.F., Szyszka, O., Shotton, J., Gilmour, J.E.M., Riordan, P. & Wolfensohn, S. (2017) Paper Adaptation of the animal welfare assessment grid (AWAG) for monitoring animal welfare in zoological collections. Veterinary Record, 181.
McInnes, R.J., Simpson, M., Lopez, B., Hawkins, R. & Shore, R. (2017) Wetland Ecosystem Services and the Ramsar Convention: an Assessment of Needs. Wetlands, 37, 123–134.
Mitchell, C.R., Griffin, L., MacIver, A. & Minshull, B. (2017) Scotland’s Bean Geese and the spring 2017 migration. Scottish Birds, 37, 221–224.
O’Brien, M.F., Beckmann, K.M., Jarrett, N.S., Hilton, G.M., Carmichael, N.G. & Cromie, R.L. (2017) Blood biochemistry and haematology values of juvenile Eurasian cranes (Grus grus) raised in captivity for reintroduction. Journal of Zoo and Aquarium Research, 5, 38–47.
O’Brien, M.F., Justice, W.S.M., Beckmann, K.M., Denk, D., Pocknell, A.M. & Stidworthy, M.F. (2017) Four cases of neoplasia in amphibians at two zoological institutions: Alpine newt Ichthyosaura alpestris, Red-eyed tree frog Agalychnis callidryas, Common frog Rana temporaria and Puerto Rican crested toad Peltophryne lemur. International Zoo Yearbook, 51, 1–9.
Peng, H.-B., Anderson, G.Q.A., Chang, Q., Choi, C.-Y., Chowdhury, S.U., Clark, N.A., Gan, X., Hearn, R.D., Li, J., Lappo, E.G., Liu, W., Ma, Z., Melville, D.S., Phillips, J.F., Syroechkovskiy, E.E., Tong, M., Wang, S., Zhang, L. & Zockler, C. (2017) The intertidal wetlands of southern Jiangsu Province, China - globally important for Spoon-billed Sandpipers and other threatened waterbirds, but facing multiple serious threats. Bird Conservation International, 27, 305–322.
Petkov, N., Harrison, A.L., Stamenov, A. & Hilton, G.M. (2017) The impact of wintering geese on crop yields in Bulgarian Dobrudzha: implications for agri-environment schemes. European Journal of Wildlife Research, 63, 66.
Rose, P.E. & Croft, D.P. (2017) Social bonds in a flock bird: Species differences and seasonality in social structure in captive flamingo flocks over a 12-month period. Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 193, 87–97.
Roy, H.E.,... Beckmann, K.M., et al. (2017) Alien Pathogens on the Horizon: Opportunities for Predicting their Threat to Wildlife. Conservation Letters, 10, 477–484.
Sellers, G.S., Griffin, L.R., Haenfling, B. & Gomez, A. (2017) A new molecular diagnostic tool for surveying and monitoring Triops cancriformis populations. PEERJ, 5.
Stefanoudis, P. V, Sayer, C.D., Greaves, H.M., Davidson, T.A., Robson, H., Almeida, D. & Smith, E. (2017) Consequences of fish for cladoceran, water beetle and macrophyte communities in a farmland pond landscape: implications for conservation. Fundamental and Applied Limnology / Archiv für Hydrobiologie, 190, 141–156.
Tolpinrud, A., O ’Brien, M.F., Justice, W.S.M., Barrows, M., Steele, O., Gent, S. & Meredith, A.L. (2017) Infrared thermography as a diagnostic tool for pododermatitis in captive greater flamingos ( Phoenicopterus roseus). Journal of Zoo and Aquarium Research, 5, 48–55.
Weegman, M.D., Bearhop, S., Hilton, G.M., Walsh, A.J., Griffin, L., Resheff, Y.S., Nathan, R. & Fox, A.D. (2017a) Using accelerometry to compare costs of extended migration in an arctic herbivore. Current Zoology, 63, 667–674.
Weegman, M.D., Fox, A.D., Hilton, G.M., Hodgson, D.J., Walsh, A.J., Griffin, L.R. & Bearhop, S. (2017b) Diagnosing the decline of the Greenland White-fronted Goose Anser albifrons flavirostris using population and individual level techniques. Wildfowl, 67, 3–18.
Wijedasa, L.S., …Blackham, G. et al. (2017) Denial of long-term issues with agriculture on tropical peatlands will have devastating consequences. Global Change Biology, 23, 977–982.
Wood, K.A., Hayes, R.B., England, J. & Grey, J. (2017) Invasive crayfish impacts on native fish diet and growth vary with fish life stage. Aquatic Sciences, 79, 113–125.
Wood, K.A., O’Hare, M.T., McDonald, C., Searle, K.R., Daunt, F. & Stillman, R.A. (2017b) Herbivore regulation of plant abundance in aquatic ecosystems. Biological Reviews, 92, 1128–1141.
Wood, K.A., Ponting, J., D’Costa, N., Newth, J.L., Rose, P.E., Glazov, P. & Rees, E.C. (2017) Understanding intrinsic and extrinsic drivers of aggressive behaviour in waterbird assemblages: a meta-analysis. Animal Behaviour, 126, 209–216.
Arnemo, J.M., Andersen, O., Stokke, S., Thomas, V.G., Krone, O., Pain, D.J. & Mateo, R. (2016) Health and Environmental Risks from Lead-based Ammunition: Science Versus Socio-Politics. Ecohealth, 13, 618–622.
Bakker, E.S., Wood, K.A., Pagès, J.F., Veen, G.F.C., Christianen, M.J.A., Santamaría, L., Nolet, B.A. & Hilt, S. (2016) Herbivory on freshwater and marine macrophytes: a review and perspective. Aquatic Botany, 135, 18–36.
Chapman, J.R., Hellgren, O., Helin, A.S., Kraus, R.H.S., Cromie, R.L. & Waldenstrom, J. (2016) The Evolution of Innate Immune Genes: Purifying and Balancing Selection on beta-Defensins in Waterfowl. Molecular Ecology and Evolution, 33, 3075–3087.
Green, R.E. & Pain, D.J. (2016) Possible effects of ingested lead gunshot on populations of ducks wintering in the UK. Ibis, 158, 699–710.
Hall, C., Crowe, O., McElwaine, G., Einarsson, Ó., Calbrade, N. & Rees, E.C. (2016) Population size and breeding success of Icelandic Whooper Swans Cygnus cygnus: results of the 2015 international census. Wildfowl, 66, 75–97.
Hancock, M.H., Robson, H.J., Smith, T.D. & Douse, A. (2016) Correlates of lake use by breeding common scoters in Scotland. Aquatic Conservation: marine and freshwater ecosystems, 26, 749–760.
Mitchell, C., Griffin, L., Maciver, A., Minshull, B. & Makan, N. (2016) Use of GPS tags to describe the home ranges, migration routes, stop-over locations and breeding area of Taiga Bean Geese Anser fabalis fabalis wintering in central Scotland. Bird Study, 63, 437–446.
Newth, J.L., Rees, E.C., Cromie, R.L., McDonald, R.A., Bearhop, S., Pain, D.J., Norton, G.J., Deacon, C. & Hilton, G.M. (2016) Widespread exposure to lead affects the body condition of free-living whooper swans Cygnus cygnus wintering in Britain. Environmental Pollution, 209, 60–67.
O’Brien, M.F., Lee, R., Cromie, R. & Brown, M.J. (2016) Assessment of the rates of injury and mortality in wildfowl captured with five methods of capture and techniques for minimizing risks. Journal of Wildlife Diseases, 52, S86–S95.
Roberts, B.E.I., Harris, W.E., Hilton, G.M. & Marsden, S.J. (2016) Taxonomic and Geographic Bias in Conservation Biology Research: A Systematic Review of Wildfowl Demography Studies. PLoS ONE, 11, e0153908.
Shariati-Najafabadi, M., Darvishzadeh, R., Skidmore, A.K., Kölzsch, A., Exo, K.M., Nolet, B.A., Griffin, L., Stahl, J., Havinga, P.J.M., Meratnia, N. & Toxopeus, A.G. (2016) Environmental parameters linked to the last migratory stage of barnacle geese en route to their breeding sites. Animal Behaviour, 118, 81–95.
Soriano-Redondo, A., Bearhop, S., Cleasby, I.R., Lock, L., Votier, S.C. & Hilton, G.M. (2016) Ecological responses to extreme flooding events: a case study with a reintroduced bird. Scientific Reports, 6, 28595.
Soriano-Redondo, A., Bearhop, S., Lock, L., Votier, S.C. & Hilton, G.M. (2016) Internet-based monitoring of public perception of conservation. Biological Conservation, 206, 304–309.
Stillman, R.A., Wood, K.A. & Goss-Custard, J.D. (2016) Deriving simple predictions from complex models to support environmental decision-making. Ecological Modelling, 326, 134–141.
Tschirhart, C., Mistry, J., Berardi, A., Bignante, E., Simpson, M., Haynes, L., Benjamin, R., Albert, G., Xavier, R., Robertson, B., Davis, O., Verwer, C., de Ville, G. & Jafferally, D. (2016) Learning from one another: evaluating the impact of horizontal knowledge exchange for environmental management and governance. Ecology and Society, 21.
Weegman, M.D., Bearhop, S., Fox, A.D., Hilton, G.M., Walsh, A.J., McDonald, J.L. & Hodgson, D.J. (2016) Integrated population modelling reveals a perceived source to be a cryptic sink. Journal of Animal Ecology, 85, 467–475.
Weegman, M.D., Bearhop, S.J., Hilton, G.M., Walsh, A. & Fox, A.D. (2016) Conditions during adulthood affect cohort-specific reproductive success in an Arctic-nesting goose population. PeerJ, 4, e2044.
Williamson, L.D., Brookes, K.L., Scott, B.E., Graham, I.M., Bradbury, G., Hammond, P.S. & Thompson, P.M. (2016) Echolocation detections and digital video surveys provide reliable estimates of the relative density of harbour porpoises. Methods in Ecology and Evolution, 7, 762–769.
Wood, K.A., Newth, J.L., Hilton, G.M., Nolet, B.A. & Rees, E.C. (2016) Inter-annual variability and long-term trends in breeding success in a declining population of migratory swans. Journal of Avian Biology, 47, 597–609.