Dr Kate Ashbrook

dr-kate-ashbrook

Senior Lecturer in Animal Biology

Biological Sciences

Contact Details

email: k.ashbrook@worc.ac.uk
tel: 01905 542372

Dr Kate Ashbrook joined the University of Worcester in January 2015 after four years of post-doctoral studies at the University of Bath. Her research interests focus on using modelling to understand the dynamics of ecological systems and inform conservation management. She works with conservation partners, such as the Bumblebee Conservation Trust (BBCT), to develop evidence-based conservation management strategies and monitoring protocols. Her research interests also include promoting biodiversity in managed systems and she works with Dr Duncan Westbury on projects relating to enhancing ecosystem services in agricultural landscapes.

Whilst at the University of Bath,Kate worked with the RSPB, Natural England and the Great Bustard Group in a trial reintroduction of a globally-threatened bird, the Great Bustard, to the UK. Her research during this time ranged from the development of improved captive-rearing and release strategies, to using species distribution modelling with remote sensing to inform targeted habitat management.

Her first degree was in Zoology, followed by a period as a field researcher for the Canadian Wildlife Service where she contributed to long-term monitoring of a seabird colony in Nunavut, Canada. Afterwards, she worked for the Department of Psychology at the University of Newcastle as a researcher, investigating learning of foraging cues in birds. For her PhD and in collaboration with the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, Kate studied changes in the social interactions and population dynamics of colonial seabird in response to recent declines in food availability.

Kate is also interested in developing links between the scientific community and the general public and takes part in a variety of biological recording events nationwide, helping to promote education and enjoyment of wildlife for families and children.

Qualifications

News Items

Teaching & Research

Teaching

Undergraduate Modules

1st Year Undergraduates
BIOS 1200 Animal Diversity
BIOS 1210 Comparative Animal Physiology

2nd Year Undergraduates
BIOS 2200 Project & Career Development
BIOS 2302 Invertebrate Biology

3rd Year Undergraduates
BIOS3112 Parasitology

ResearchA picture of a Great Bustard chick

My research interests focus on understanding the impacts of habitat change, climate change and species interactions on ecological systems.

Key research areas include:

  • Conservation of threatened species in the UK, particularly invertebrates and birds
  • Invasive alien species
  • Enhancing ecosystem services in agricultural landscapes
  • Impacts of social behaviour on population dynamics under changing environmental conditions

A picture of a bird flapping its wings

 

Post-graduate research

PhD Studentships available at the University of Worcester are advertised on FindAPhD.com. I also welcome any approach from self-funded high achieving graduates that would like to study for a PhD in Behavioural Ecology at the University of Worcester. Topics of particular interest would focus on conservation management of invertebrates, habitat management and the delivery of ecosystem services.

Current PhD Students

Zeus Fierro: Sustainable production of sweet cherry: maximizing benefits from ecosystem services

Alice Mockford: Enhancing pest regulation by natural enemies in Spanish orange groves

Completed MRes Students

Chris Clarke: Evaluation of potential release sites for Great Bustard (Otis tarda) around Salisbury Plain

Publications

Mateos-Fierro, Z., Garratt, M., Fountain, M.T., Ashbrook, K. and Westbury, D.B. (2018) Wildflower strip establishment for the delivery of ecosystem services in sweet cherry orchards. Aspects of Applied Biology: Ecosystem and Habitat Management: Research, Policy, Practice, 139. 179-186

Comont, R.F. & Ashbrook, K. (2016). Evaluating promotional approaches for citizen science biological recording: bumblebees as a group versus Harmonia axyridis as a flagship for ladybirds. Biocontrol

Ashbrook, K., Taylor, A., Jane, L., Carter, I. & Székely, T. (2015). Impacts of survival and reproductive success on long-term population viability of reintroduced great bustardsOryx. 50 (4): 583-592    

Gooch, S., Ashbrook, K., Taylor, A. & Székely, T. (2015). Using dietary analysis and habitat selection to inform conservation management of reintroduced Great Bustards Otis tarda in an agricultural landscape. Bird Study. 62:298 - 302

Ashbrook, K. & Székely, T. (2014). Using evidence-based conservation and public engagement in the reintroduction of Great Bustard into the UK. Research Excellence Framework Impact Case Study. Department of Biology & Biochemistry, University of Bath

Williams, T., Taylor, A. Ashbrook, K., Rose, H. & Waters, D. (2013). LIFE+ Project “Reintroducing the Great Bustard Otis tarda to Southern England (LIFE09/NAT/UK/020): Year 3 Summary

Williams, T., Taylor, A. Ashbrook, K., Rose, H. & Waters, D. (2012). LIFE+ Project “Reintroducing the Great Bustard Otis tarda to Southern England (LIFE09/NAT/UK/020): Year 2 Summary

Williams, T., Taylor, A. Ashbrook, K., Rose, H. & Waters, D. (2011). LIFE+ Project “Reintroducing the Great Bustard Otis tarda to Southern England (LIFE09/NAT/UK/020): Year 1 Summary

Ashbrook, K., Wanless, S., Harris, M.P., & Hamer, K.C. (2011). Kleptoparasitism in Common Guillemots Uria aalge at two colonies during a period of poor food availabilitySeabird 24: 83-89

Ashbrook, K., Wanless, S., Harris, M.P., & Hamer, K.C. (2010). Impacts of poor food availability on positive density-dependence in a highly colonial seabird. Proceedings of the Royal Society Biological Sciences: B 277: 2355-2360

Ashbrook, K., Wanless, S., Harris, M.P., & Hamer, K.C. (2008). Hitting the buffers: conspecific aggression undermines benefits of colonial breeding under adverse conditions. Biology Letters 4: 630-633