Tasso Leventis Professor of Biodiversity. Department of Zoology, University of Oxford.
Director, Interdisciplinary Centre for Conservation Science (ICCS).
Department of Zoology, University of Oxford. OX1 3PS, UK.
Before joining the University of Oxford in November 2015, I was Professor of Conservation Science at Imperial College London for 15 years, and have held previous positions in Resource Economics and Mathematical Ecology at Oxford, Imperial and Warwick Universities.
My first degree was in Pure and Applied Biology at Oxford, and my PhD at Imperial was on the exploitation of elephants, rhinos and saigas.
I have a particular interest in developing and applying methods for understanding and predicting human behaviour in the context of local resource use in developing countries, and improving the effectiveness of incentive-based mechanisms such as payment for ecosystems services and biodiversity offsetting, in the marine and terrestrial realms.
I also work on the illegal wildlife trade and am interested in designing, monitoring and evaluating conservation interventions in order to improve their effectiveness.
My research group is strongly interdisciplinary and has a wide range of research interests within conservation science. Our ethos is to ensure that all the research that we do is addressing issues identified by practitioners, and is carried out collaboratively with end-users.
My group’s research falls within three broad themes: understanding natural resource users; exploring social-ecological systems; managing human-nature interactions. The first theme addresses the drivers and motivations behind human behaviour towards the environment, the second theme addresses the feedbacks between individual behaviour and the wider social and ecological system within which they are embedded, and the third theme addresses how best to design, implement and evaluate interventions to alter human behaviour and hence slow the rate of biodiversity loss.
We work in both terrestrial and marine realms, and work closely with the practitioners who are implementing interventions, to ensure that they are designed, carried out and monitored in a way that leads to the desired outcomes from both conservation and social justice perspectives.
Additional positions currently held
Fauna and Flora International – Member of Council
Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust – Board of Trustees
Saiga Conservation Alliance – Chair of Trustees.
Technical advisor to the Convention on Migratory Species on saiga antelopes
IUCN Antelope Specialist Group
IUCN Sustainable Use and Livelihoods Specialist Group
ZSL Scientific Awards Committee
Defra Darwin Expert Committee
Student Conference on Conservation Science Organising committee
Whitley Awards expert grant review panel.
Honours and awards
Honorary Doctorate, Hedmark University College, Norway, 2014
British Ecological Society Marsh Award for Ecology, 2011
Imperial College Rector’s Award for Excellence in Research Supervision, 2010
Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit Award, 2008
ZSL Marsh Award for outstanding contributions to conservation science, 2001.
Research grants (current)
- The Nature Conservancy: The Nature Conservancy/Oxford Martin School Climate Partnership. Co-I (with Myles Allen, Yadvinder Mahli) April 2016-March 2019.
- UK Darwin Initiative: Achieving no net loss for communities and biodiversity in Uganda. PI (with IIED, WCS, NEMA, Nature Uganda), April 2016-March 2019.
- UK Darwin Initiative: Can health investments benefit conservation and sustainable development? Research lead (PI: Gladys Kalema Zikusoka, Conservation Through Public Health). May 2016-April 2019.
- UK Natural Environment Research Council: Learning from observational data for environmental management. Co-I (PI: Aidan Keane, Edinburgh university), Jan 2016-Dec 2018.
- NERC Urgency grant: Saiga antelope (Saiga tatarica tatarica) mortality in Kazakhstan 2015: emergency investigation of disease outbreak to improve knowledge of drivers. Co-I (PI: Richard Kock, Royal Veterinary College), July 2015-June 2016.
- Pew Marine Fellowship: Developing innovative bycatch reduction approaches for large pelagic ecosystems. (October 2015- September 2018)
- UK Government Defra: Diversifying Indonesian fisheries to protect elasmobranchs and alleviate poverty. Research advisor. (PI: Tom Clements, Wildlife Conservation Society) April 2015-March 2018.
- UK goverment Defra: Demand reduction for illegal wildlife products. Research partner (with WWF-UK and TRAFFIC). Dec 2014-March 2016.
- UK Government, International Wildlife Trafficking Fund. “Building capacity for pro-poor responses to wildlife crime in Uganda”. Research Lead (PI: Dilys Roe, International Institute for Environment and Development) Apr 2014-March 2017.
Please see my ResearchGate page or Google Scholar for a full list.
Recent media interest in my work
Carrasco et al. (2014) on oil palm: Scientific American podcast, 2/10/14.
Appeared on BBC Radio 4’s Shared Planet, on shifting baselines in conservation, 23rd September 2014.
Trophy hunting and conservation: Appeared on “The Big Questions” with Nicky Campbell, BBC 1, February 2014. (series 7 episode 6)
Davies et al. (2013), on fish aggregating devices for tuna fishing.
Edwards et al. (2013), on sustainable lion hunting: Nature World News 19/12/13 and
Papworth et al (2009), on shifting baselines: Daily Telegraph 14/2/09; BBC Wildlife April ’09, news.mongabay.com.