Simon Gillings

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.

Other Information

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.

Qualifications

BSc (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

Border, J.A. & Gillings, S. 2020. Fine-scale mapping of relative abundance and trends, and extraction of small-area population trends for breeding birds. Research Report no. 720. BTO, Thetford ISBN: 978-1-912642-08-3 28pp
Hill, A., Gillings, S., Berriman, A., Brouwer, A., Breed, A.C., Snow, L., Ashton, A., Byrne, C. & Irvine, R.M. 2019. Quantifying the spatial risk of Avian Influenza introduction into British poultry by wild birds. Scientific Reports 9 View at journal website (DOI: 10.1038/s41598-019-56165-9)
Gili, F., Newson, S.E., Gillings, S., Chamberlain, D.E. & Border, J.A. 2019. Bats in urbanising landscapes: habitat selection and recommendations for a sustainable future. Biological Conservation View at journal website (DOI: 10.1016/j.biocon.2019.108343)
Burgess, M., Gregory, R., Wilson, J., Gillings, S., Evans, A., Chisholm, K., Southern, A. & Eaton, M. 2019. A new framework of spatial targeting for single-species conservation planning. Landscape Ecology View at journal website (DOI: 10.1007/s10980-019-00919-3) 14pp
Gillings, S., Balmer, D.E., Caffrey, B.J., Downie, I.S., Gibbons, D.W., Lack, P.C., Reid, J.B., Sharrock, J.T.R., Swann, R.L. & Fuller, R.J. 2019. Breeding and wintering bird distributions in Britain and Ireland from citizen science bird atlases. Global Ecology and Biogeography View at journal website (DOI: 10.1111/geb.12906)


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