This is the question we will discuss at our upcoming ZSL meeting in London (22nd-23rd of November). The most immediate response of animals to environmental change is behavioural. This can have profound repercussions at the population and community level and is therefore of crucial relevance to conservation. Our symposium will bring together leading experts in behavioural ecology and conservation to explore how behavioural ecologists can make a difference in support of conservation by relating their research to ecosystem processes. The meeting will critically assess the role of the behavioural ecology in addressing conservation priorities and aims to inspire future conservation-oriented research.
The talks cover a range of conservation issues such as habitat loss, human-wildlife conflict, disease transmission, but will also address the question how best to establish a link between the behavioural ecological and the conservation community. If you are interested in these topics please register at ZSL (where you can also find a complete list of topics and speakers). We are also happy to receive poster proposals!
We are happy to see that our new paper "Multiple adaptive and non-adaptive processes determine responsiveness to heterospecific alarm calls in African savannah herbivores" received so much attention on Twitter. This study is the first step in understanding how communication between species may affect the formation of mixed species groups.
More behavioural ecological data on the Mara herbivores were collected during a field trip to the Mara in May, where Jakob Bro-Jorgensen witnessed firsthand the challenges of fieldwork during this unusually wet year. Jakob also continued promoting conservation research in talks to various audiences, from school children in the Mara region to university students from the US.
In September 2017, we organized a workshop to identify research priorities to support the conservation management of the Masai Mara National Reserve and the adjoining conservancies. The invited participants included researchers and managers from the management of the Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya Wildlife Service, Enonkishu Conservancy, Maasai Mara Wildlife Conservancies Association, Kenya Wildlife Trust, Mara Predator Project, Peregrine Fund, Hyena Project, and of course the Mara Herbivore Project. After a day of brainstorming and intense discussion, we voted on the importance and urgency of 35 research questions raised within three main categories: (i) habitat and species management, (ii) management of tourism and exploitation and (iii) livestock management & human wildlife conflict. Ranked highest by all participants was the question how habitat fragmentation due to increased fencing of private land and human settlements effects wildlife populations in the Masai Mara region. Further details on the workshop can be found in the new SWARA edition.
Registration for our ZSL-workshop "Linking behaviour to populations and communities: how can behavioural ecology inform conservation?" is open!
Here is a list of the confirmed speakers:
Jakob Bro-Jørgensen, University of Liverpool
Daniel Blumstein, University of California - Los Angeles (UCLA)
Oded Berger-Tal, Ben Gurion University
Ulrika Candolin, Helsinki University
Tim Caro, University of California - Davis
Isabelle Côté, Simon Fraser University
Sarah Durant, Zoological Society of London
Sam Ellis, Exeter University
John Ewen, Zoological Society of London
Jennifer Gill, University of East Anglia
James Herrera, Duke University
Kay Holekamp, Michigan State University
Kavita Isvaran, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore
Kristine Meise, University of Liverpool
E.J. Milner-Gulland, University of Oxford
Daniel Sol, CREAF, Spain
Colleen St Cassidy, University of Alberta
Joseph Tobias, Imperial College London
George Wittemyer, Colorado State University
We've been working hard to finish our first paper on the alarm response to heterospecific alarm calls. Hopefully we can present you the first results at the beginning of the new year!
The next field season is approaching and we are looking forward to our workshop at the end of September. Several researchers and conservation managers from the Mara and adjacent conservancies will be meeting to discuss the "Future research priorities for the conservation management of the Mara".
A new book on "Mixed species groups of animals" has recently been published by Eben Goodale, Guy Beauchamp and Graeme D. Ruxton. It gives an interesting overview of the main theories that have been postulated to explain the existence and function of mixed species groups.
Giraffes are facing what has been called a 'silent' extinction. In many populations, numbers have been constantly decreasing over the last 30 years. Although being one of the most iconic African species, this decline received little attention over the past decades. But recently, giraffes have been classified as vulnerable and conservation efforts are increasing.
We are happy to announce our NERC/ZSL symposium "Linking behaviour to populations and communities: how can behavioural ecology inform conservation?" which will take place in NOvember 2018.
Here the abstract: The most immediate response of animals to human-induced environmental change is behavioural. This can have profound repercussions at the population and community level and is therefore of crucial relevance to conservation. This symposium will bring together leading experts in behavioural ecology and conservation to explore how behavioural ecologists can make a difference in support of conservation by relating their research to ecosystem processes. The meeting will critically assess the role of the behavioural ecological community in addressing conservation priorities so far and aims to inspire future conservation-oriented research and action with real impact. Now is a highly promising time for progress in this direction because of the emergence of strong analytical tools and conceptual advances in behavioural ecology in recent years, developments which have yet to find their way fully into the conservation arena.
We hope to see many of you there!!
During the course of the project, we will update the blog with field reports and photos, the latest research news and updates relating to our investigation of mixed species groups in the Masai Mara .