Philip Andrew Stephens

Philip Andrew Stephens
Durham University | DU · Biosciences

MSc., PhD

About

138
Publications
59,574
Reads
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8,228
Citations
Additional affiliations
June 2007 - present
Durham University
Position
  • Faculty Member
October 2004 - May 2007
University of Bristol
Position
  • PDRA
October 2002 - September 2004
University of Wyoming
Position
  • PDRA
Education
October 2008 - February 2010
Durham University
Field of study
  • Teaching and Learning in Higher Education
October 1998 - June 2002
University of East Anglia
Field of study
  • Ecology
October 1996 - September 1997
University of Kent
Field of study
  • Conservation Biology

Publications

Publications (138)
Article
Full-text available
Establishing species conservation priorities and recovery goals is often enhanced by extinction risk estimates. The need to set goals, even in data-deficient situations, has prompted researchers to ask whether general guidelines could replace individual estimates of extinction risk. To inform conservation policy, recent studies have revived the con...
Article
Populations of the same species often face different selection pressures and, increasingly, the demography of populations within a species has been shown to be highly variable. Knowledge of such intraspecific differences has implications for substituting demographic data, a practice that is often necessary for population modelling due to missing pa...
Article
Full-text available
Global climate change is a major threat to biodiversity. Large-scale analyses have generally focused on the impacts of climate change on the geographic ranges of species and on phenology, the timing of ecological phenomena. We used long-term monitoring of the abundance of breeding birds across Europe and the United States to produce, for both regio...
Article
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We address two fundamental ecological questions: what are the limits to animal population density and what determines those limits? We develop simple alternative models to predict population limits in relation to body mass. A model assuming that within‐species area use increases with the square of daily travel distance broadly predicts the scaling...
Article
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High numbers of threatened species might be expected to occur where overall species richness is also high; however, this explains only a proportion of the global variation in threatened species richness. Understanding why many areas have more or fewer threatened species than would be expected given their species richness, and whether that is consis...
Article
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Anthropogenic activities, such as outdoor recreation, have the potential to change complex interactions between wildlife and livestock, with further consequences for the management of both animals, the environment, and disease transmission. We present the interaction amongst wildlife, livestock, and outdoor recreationists as a three-way interaction...
Article
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Accurate and precise density estimates are crucial for effective species management and conservation. However, efficient monitoring of mammal densities over large spatial and temporal scales is challenging. In the United Kingdom, published density estimates for many mammals, including species considered to be common, are imprecise. Camera trap dist...
Article
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With increasing levels of outdoor recreation activities, consequences for wildlife through interactions with recreationists are highly variable. Behavioural changes in wildlife are one potential consequence of interactions with outdoor recreationists. In ungulate populations, vigilance and flight responses are well‐known antipredator behaviours, an...
Preprint
Occupancy models are a vital tool for understanding the patterns and drivers of species occurrence, but their use requires a method for model selection – choosing between models with different sets of occupancy and detection covariates. The information-theoretic approach, which employs information criteria such as Akaike’s Information Criterion (AI...
Article
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Ecosystem engineers affect other organisms by creating, maintaining or modifying habitats, potentially supporting species of conservation concern. However, it is important to consider these interactions alongside non-engineering trophic pathways. We investigated the relative importance of trophic and non-trophic effects of an ecosystem engineer, re...
Article
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Context Nomadism is a movement strategy in response to non-seasonal environmental variability. Knowledge of nomadic species movements is poor but is necessary to understand life histories and develop appropriate conservation strategies. Objectives We provide a first quantification of nomadism among Australia’s arid bird community, which is presume...
Article
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The energy used by animals is influenced by intrinsic (e.g. physiological) and extrinsic (e.g. environmental) factors. Accelerometers within biologging devices have proven useful for assessing energy expenditures and their behavioural context in free-ranging animals. However, certain assumptions are frequently made when acceleration is used as a pr...
Article
Citizen science schemes (projects) enable ecological data collection over very large spatial and temporal scales, producing datasets of high value for both pure and applied research. However, the accuracy of citizen science data is often questioned, owing to issues surrounding data quality and verification, the process by which records are checked...
Article
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Background Animal-attached devices can be used on cryptic species to measure their movement and behaviour, enabling unprecedented insights into fundamental aspects of animal ecology and behaviour. However, direct observations of subjects are often still necessary to translate biologging data accurately into meaningful behaviours. As many elusive sp...
Article
Citizen science schemes enable ecological data collection over very large spatial and temporal scales, producing datasets of high value for both pure and applied research. However, the accuracy of citizen science data is often questioned, owing to issues surrounding data quality and verification, the process by which records are checked after submi...
Article
Full-text available
Assessments of conservation status are typically based on short-term extinction risk, but the value of indicators that compare the current state of species (e.g., abundance or distribution) to potential baselines is increasingly recognised. The use of baselines in conservation legislation is hindered by ambiguity in how baselines should be determin...
Article
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The spread of invasive species is a threat to ecosystems worldwide. However, we know relatively little about how invasive species affect the behaviour of native animals, even though behaviour plays a vital role in the biotic interactions which are key to understanding the causes and impacts of biological invasions. Here, we explore how invasive pla...
Article
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Rodents and other small mammals cause an increasing number of negative economic and environmental impacts worldwide. In the UK, the non‐native grey squirrel has a significant impact on the forestry industry and has caused the decline of the native red squirrel. Baits are used to deliver biocides and contraceptives to reduce overabundant wildlife po...
Article
Global climate change can affect animal ecology in numerous ways, but researchers usually emphasize undesirable consequences. Temperature increases, for instance, can induce direct physiological costs and indirect effects via mismatches in resource needs and availability. Species living in mountainous regions, however, could experience beneficial e...
Article
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Aim Global declines in the populations of migratory species have been attributed largely to climate change and anthropogenic habitat change. However, the relative contribution of these factors on species’ breeding and non‐breeding ranges is unclear. Here, we present the first large‐scale assessment of the relative importance of climatic conditions...
Article
Full-text available
The avian dawn chorus presents a challenging opportunity to test autonomous recording units (ARUs) and associated recogniser software in the types of complex acoustic environments frequently encountered in the natural world. To date, extracting information from acoustic surveys using readily-available signal recognition tools (‘recognisers’) for us...
Article
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The capital and income breeding concept links energy resources used during reproduction to the timing of their acquisition. During reproduction, capital breeders rely on resources gained previously and accumulated for reproductive investment. By contrast, income breeders use mainly resources collected during the period of reproductive activity. Mos...
Article
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Outdoor recreation is a known source of disturbance to many wildlife populations. We systematically reviewed 126 relevant papers that study the impact of outdoor recreation on wildlife, focusing on terrestrial wildlife (birds excluded) to assess the different methodological approaches adopted by researchers. We characterised the research methods in...
Article
• Animals should adapt their foraging habits, changing their dietary breadth in response to variation in the richness and availability of food resources. Understanding how species modify their dietary breadth according to variation in resource richness would support predictions of their responses to environmental changes that alter prey communities...
Article
Full-text available
Background Tri-axial accelerometers are frequently deployed on terrestrial quadrupedal mammals using collars, because they are easy to fit and are thought to have minimal impact on the subject. Collar-attached devices are not fixed to the body and can move independently of the body. This may result in inaccurate measures of acceleration, reducing t...
Article
Prescribed fire is used throughout fire‐prone landscapes to conserve biodiversity. Current best practice in managing savanna systems advocates methods based on the assumption that increased fire‐mediated landscape heterogeneity (pyrodiversity) will promote biodiversity. However, considerable knowledge gaps remain in our understanding of how savanna...
Article
Full-text available
Camera trapping has become an increasingly reliable and mainstream tool for surveying a diversity of wildlife species. Concurrent with this has been an increasing effort to involve the wider public in the research process, in an approach known as ‘citizen science’. To date, millions of people have contributed to research across a wide variety of di...
Article
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Climate change is a major global threat to biodiversity with widespread impacts on ecological communities. Evidence for beneficial impacts on populations is perceived to be stronger and more plentiful than that for negative impacts, but few studies have investigated this apparent disparity, or how ecological factors affect population responses to c...
Article
Full-text available
Weather variations have the potential to influence species interactions, although effects on competitive interactions between species are poorly known. Both weather and competition can influence foraging behavior and survival of herbivores during nursing/weaning, a critical period in the herbivore life cycle. We evaluated the joint effects of weath...
Article
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Species at risk of extinction are not uniformly distributed in space. Concentrations of threatened species may occur where threatening processes are intense, in refuges from those processes, or in areas of high species diversity. However, there have been few attempts to identify the processes that explain the distribution of at‐risk species. Here,...
Article
An animal's choice of diet plays a large part in determining whether it will find food during a period of searching. This has profound implications for the likelihood of reproductive success or starvation and many other important questions in ecology. An animal's choice of diet plays a large part in determining whether it will find food during a pe...
Article
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Camera trapping is widely used to monitor mammalian wildlife but creates large image datasets that must be classified. In response, there is a trend towards crowdsourcing image classification. For high-profile studies of charismatic faunas, many classifications can be obtained per image, enabling consensus assessments of the image contents. For mor...
Article
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Climate change is predicted to increase migration distances for many migratory species, but the physiological and temporal implications of longer migratory journeys have not been explored. Here, we combine information about species' flight range potential and migratory refuelling requirements to simulate the number of stopovers required and the dur...
Article
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Rewilding, here defined as “the reorganisation of biota and ecosystem processes to set an identified social–ecological system on a preferred trajectory, leading to the self-sustaining provision of ecosystem services with minimal ongoing management,” is increasingly considered as an environmental management option, with potential for enhancing both...
Article
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The range-shifts of many species are lagging behind climate change, meaning that those species are likely to experience increases in average ambient temperature. Heat-sensitive species may experience increasingly precarious trade-offs between investment in ther-moregulation versus other key processes as the climate warms. We investigated the potent...
Article
The conservation value of sites is often based on species richness (SR). However, metrics of phylogenetic diversity (PD) reflect a community's evolutionary potential and reveal the potential for additional conservation value above that based purely on SR. Although PD is typically correlated with SR, localized differences in this relationship have b...
Article
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Research on climate change impacts has focused on projecting changes in the geographic ranges of species, with less emphasis on the vital rates giving rise to species distributions. Managing ungulate populations under future climate change will require an understanding of how their vital rates are affected by direct climatic effects and the indirec...
Article
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Taxonomic bias in organismal research and conservation is well recognized, with focus disproportionately directed toward birds and mammals (1). Among mammals, carnivores often receive excessive attention and large carnivores are particularly well studied (2). Although papers reporting the population trends of a single species do not usually result...
Article
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In recent decades, many ungulate populations have changed dramatically in abundance, resulting in cascading effects across ecosystems. However, studies of such effects are often limited in their spatial and temporal scope. Here, we contrast multi-species composite population trends of deer-sensitive and deer-tolerant woodland birds at a national sc...
Article
Climate and land use can have important effects on the local abundances of species, but few studies have investigated the relative impacts of these factors. Here, we quantify the relative importance of climate, land use and surrounding population size in determining the abundances of birds across a continent. Europe. We used species abundance model...
Article
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International legislation forms a cornerstone of conservation, yet its efficacy is rarely quantified. We assess whether species listed on Annex I of the European Union (EU) Birds Directive, for which EU Member States are obliged to implement special conservation measures, differ systematically in their short-term (2001-2012) or long-term (1980-2012...
Article
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Journal of Applied Ecology encourages contributions that can influence environmental management, policy or both, with evidence based on the most robust science possible. Natural resource management is often contentious, and any perceived weaknesses in the underpinning science are easily exploited by interest groups to undermine the wider endeavour...
Article
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Understanding the relationship between disease transmission and host density is essential for predicting disease spread and control. Using long-term data on sarcoptic mange in a red fox Vulpes vulpes population, we tested long-held assumptions of density- and frequency-dependent direct disease transmission. We also assessed the role of indirect tra...
Article
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Climate and environmental change have driven widespread changes in body size, particularly declines, across a range of taxonomic groups in recent decades. Size declines could substantially impact on the functioning of ecosystems. To date, most studies suggest that temporal trends in size have resulted indirectly from climate change modifying resour...
Article
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The altitudinal shifts of many montane populations are lagging behind climate change. Understanding habitual, daily behavioural rhythms, and their climatic and environmental influences, could shed light on the constraints on long-term upslope range-shifts. In addition, behavioural rhythms can be affected by interspecific interactions, which can ame...
Article
An aspect of life history that has seen increasing attention in recent years is that of strategies for financing the costs of offspring production. These strategies are often described by a continuum ranging from capital breeding, in which costs are met purely from endogenous reserves, to income breeding, in which costs are met purely from concurre...
Article
Species distribution models (SDMs) are important tools for forecasting the potential impacts of future environmental changes but debate remains over the most robust modelling approaches for making projections. Suggested improvements in SDMs vary from algorithmic development through to more mechanistic modelling approaches. Here, we focus on the imp...
Article
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The term exaptation was introduced to encourage biologists to consider alternatives to adaptation to explain the origins of traits. Here, we discuss why exaptation has proved more successful in technological than biological contexts, and propose a revised definition of exaptation applicable to both genetic and cultural evolution.
Article
Full-text available
Background Individual variation in both survival and reproduction has the potential to influence extinction risk. Especially for rare or threatened species, reliable population models should adequately incorporate demographic uncertainty. Here, we focus on an important form of demographic stochasticity: variation in litter sizes. We use terrestrial...
Data
Results of the Fisher Exact test goodness-of-fit of probability distributions to empirical carnivore litter size frequencies. (DOC)
Data
Testing for intraspecific variation in litter size distributions, using the red fox Vulpes vulpes as an example. (DOC)