Evolution, behaviour and environment

Mr Owen Middleton

Post:Doctoral Tutor (Evolution, Behaviour and Environment)
Other posts:Research student (Life Sciences)
Email:O.Middleton@sussex.ac.uk
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Biography

How have past extinctions, and ongoing anthropogenic influences, affected the functioning of ecosystems in the Anthropocene? How does intraspecific variation in species diets vary spatially, and does this influence their ecological functions? Is it possible to promote the rewiring of interactions and ecological networks in the modern world? 

The above are examples of questions that I aim to address during my PhD and following research career. Currently, my research involves investigating the consequences of carnivorous mammal extinctions on ecological processes at the global scale, as well as identifying opportunities for trophic rewilding and ecological rewiring.

In my research, I use techniques from functional ecology, macroecology and paleoecology to primarily: (1) investigate changes in carnivore assemblages before, and following, the arrival of modern humans, as well as (2) quantifying geographical variation in carnivore diets and their ecological functions in the modern world. This has involved the establishment of macroecological datasets through combining existing trait datasets and using sources from the academic literature. Alongside this, I have also been involved in coordinating a citizen science project for The Mammal Society, involving the monitoring of mammals on university campuses by current students to boost their research experiences.

Before accepting a collaborative PhD with the Sandom and Scharlemann Labs, I completed an integrated Masters of Ecology (MEcol) at the University of Southampton in 2017. With an interest in community ecology and carnivore behavioural ecology, the topics of my undergraduate and masters thesis were on the niche differentiation of neo-tropical felids and behavioural overlap with respective prey species, in the Calakmul Biosphere Reserve, Mexico, with Operation Wallacea. This involved working with an international team of scientists, contributing towards a long-term project monitoring felid and ungulate populations through the use of various field survey techniques.

 

 

  

Role

Doctoral Researcher in Biology, University of Sussex

Qualifications

Current            PhD Biology, School of Life Science

2019                 AFHEA, Associate Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy 

2013-2017       MEcol, Master of Science (Integrated) in Ecology, University of Southampton