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Millie Robson

Research Postgraduate (MSc)

Research Postgraduate (MSc) in the Department of Biosciences


My research explores the potential of species reintroductions and conservation translocations on a regional and global scale. As a result of habitat destruction and land degradation, many terrestrial species now only exist in small, fragmented and unviable populations that often lack the ability to disperse into new areas. Conservation translocations are increasingly recognised as an important intervention for reversing biodiversity loss, restoring ecosystem functioning, re-establishing species population, and helping species adapt to climate change.

Using the case study of European Pine Marten (Martes martes), a small mustelid species being considered for reintroduction across the UK, I use a habitat suitability models and individual-based models to explore the suitability and feasibility of potential reintroduction sites in northern England. As native omnivores, pine marten play an important role in the balance of woodland ecosystems, and most notably in the control of invasive grey-squirrel populations. I aim to use this model to explore the likelihood of population persistence for each reintroduction site, and to identify distinct habitat networks within the region. The findings of this research could be used to inform reintroduction decision making for the candidate species.

Another area of my research examines the use of species distribution models (SDMs) to identify current and future climatically suitable areas for almost all global terrestrial birds and mammals. Using these models along with species dispersal data, I aim to simultate the likelihood that species can disperse and track suitable climate and habitat. For those species where suitable climate and habitat is beyond their dispersal capabilities, assisted colonisation may be suggested as a conservation tool.