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Rachel Jones

Postgraduate Research Student

 

Overview

My interests lies in how to effectively conserve species under climatic change, particularly those persisting within fragmented habitats, specifically focusing on butterflies. I am currently undertaking a part-time PhD at the University of Exeter researching the effects of habitat management and climatic change on the Lulworth Skipper butterfly.

During my masters studies I was able to research the invertebrate guild associated with the larval foodplant of the Marsh Fritillary butterfly and since my interest in has butterflies grown.  From 2012 I have been fortunate to work for the charity organisation Butterfly Conservation.  Alongside my PhD I continue to work for Butterfly Conservation part time as a Senior Ecologist and undertake a wide variety of work including; species monitoring, delivery of conservation projects, running training events, provision of habitat management advice, collating species-specific data and producing species status reports. 

Broad research specialisms

  • Climate change impacts on biodiversity
  • Landscape-scale conservation
  • Population dynamics

Qualifications

2007: BA Geography, Swansea University

2011: MSc Biodiversity Conservation, Bournemouth University

Research

Research projects

Project Title:

The effects of habitat management and climate change on the Lulworth Skipper butterfly

Supervisors:

Dr Robert Wilson and Dr Ilya Mclean (University of Exeter)

Dr Nigel Bourn and Professor Tom Brereton (Butterfly Conservation)

Funding Body:

NERC Butterfly Conservation as an iCASE partner

Project Description:

There is a need to understand effects of climate change and habitat loss on biodiversity  The Lulworth Skipper is Near Threatened in Europe (van Swaay 2010) and climate change is expected to erode its current European distribution by 30-45% by 2080 (Settele 2008). In Britain, warming is expected to benefit the Lulworth Skipper but evidence is lacking both for A) how climate affects population dynamics, and B) how habitat management could help this species persist and expand its range. To improve our understanding of how climate and habitat management affect Lulworth Skipper, I will be researching four key areas; 1) The effects of climate change on phenology and population dynamics for three congenerics (Lulworth, Small and Essex Skipper); 2) The metapopulation dynamics for the British distribution of Lulworth Skipper using data from three full surveys and a new field survey, to develop a tested tool to simulate future effects on metapopulation of changed habitat and climate, both within the current Lulworth Skipper distribution and in surrounding landscapes. 3) How changes to climate and management affect Lulworth Skipper both directly and indirectly; 4) the simulation of landscape-level dynamics of Lulworth Skipper, modelling spatial variation in turf height and topography in habitat networks to test their role in moderating responses to climate change and variability.

Teaching

Supervision / Group

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