Can animals foretell the environmental impact of climate change?

A Glasgow researcher has been awarded a prestigious Royal Society of Edinburgh fellowship to examine new environmental monitoring methods.

Dr Ross Macleod, a research associate in the Division of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology will receive 5 years funding to develop research into how the behaviours of individual animals can be used to understand the impacts of environmental change.

The research could help develop new monitoring methods that would allow earlier detection and warning of the impacts that climate and other changes are having on the biodiversity of our natural environments.

Dr Macleod said: “Animals can respond almost immediately to deteriorating environments by altering their behaviour, so studying behaviours can provide early warning of environmental impacts. This can potentially allow time for us to respond to and reduce harmful effects before they become critical. This fellowship is an exciting opportunity for me to develop ecological theory with the potential to help us better understand and predict how the natural world will respond to human driven environmental changes.” 

There are 18 academics based in the Division of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and the award brings the total number of independently funded fellowships to 12.

Details of the other fellows in ecology and evolutionary biology can be accessed here:

Further information:
Martin Shannon, Senior Media Relations Officer
University of Glasgow Tel: 0141 330 8593

First published: 14 July 2010

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