Marcus Rowcliffe

Institute of Zoology

Zoological Society of London

Regent's Park




My research is focussed on population processes, using a range of different approaches. A central interest of mine is in the implications individual behavioural decisions for population-level outcomes. My early research examined this in relation to foraging distributions of brent geese, building depletion models to predict the implications of foraging behaviour for patterns of movement in the geese. Developing this idea further, I have worked on game-theoretic, individual-based modelling approaches to explore the implications of dominance and competition for foraging performance and distribution in barnacle geese flocks. More recently, I have begun contributing to a project to extend this approach to baboons, in which more complex social constraints are likely to influence forager decisions. I also use more traditional population modelling tools to address applied questions, for example in a series of population viability analyses for goose populations in Scotland.


More recently I have begun to focus this area of research on exploited species, working on theoretical explorations of hunting impacts and supervising an applied field study of chameleon harvesting impacts in Madagascar. This study includes an element of socio-economic research, and I am also developing this interdisciplinary approach to look at the issue of bushmeat exploitation in West and Central Africa. This work is currently focussing the construction of bioeconomic models which can be used to provide simple sustainability indicators for the field and explore the effectiveness of policy tools.


  • 1998-present: Research Fellow, Institute of Zoology.
  • 1994-1998: Senior research officer, Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust, Slimbridge.
  • 1991-1995: PhD, School of Biology, University of East Anglia.


Cope, D.R., Vickery, J.A., & Rowcliffe, J.M. (in press). From conflict to coexistence: a case study of geese and agriculture in Scotland. In People and Wildlife, Conflict or Coexistence? (eds R. Woodroffe, S. Thirgood & A. Rabinowitz). Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

Rowcliffe, J.M. and Carbone, C. (2008) Surveys using camera traps: are we looking to a brighter future? Animal Conservation 11: 185-186. DOI: 10.1111/j.1469-1795.2008.00180.x

Rowcliffe, J.M., Field, J., Turvey, S.T. and Carbone, C. (2008) Estimating animal density using camera traps without the need for individual recognition. Journal of Applied Ecology. DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2664.2008.01473.x

Rands, S.A., Cowlishaw, G., Pettifor, R.A., Rowcliffe, J.M. and Johnstone, R.A. (2008) The emergence of leaders and followers in foraging pairs when the qualities of individuals differ. BMC Evolutionary Biology 8: 51. DOI: 10.1186/1471-2148-8-51

Anderson, J., Cowlishaw, G. and Rowcliffe, J.M. (2007) Effects of forest fragmentation on the abundance of Colobus angolensis palliatus in Kenya's coastal forests.International Journal of Primatalogy 28: 637-655. DOI: 10.1007/s10764-007-9143-7

Carbone, C., Rowcliffe, J.M., Cowlishaw, G. and Isaac, N.J.B. (2007) The scaling of abundance in consumers and their resources: implications for the energy equivalence rule. American Naturalist 170(3): 479-484. DOI: 10.1086/519858

de Merode, E., Hillman-Smith, K., Homewood, K., Pettifor, R.A., Rowcliffe, J.M. and Cowlishaw, G. (2007) The impact of armed conflict on protected area efficacy in Central Africa. Biology Letters 3: 299-301.

Anderson, J., Rowcliffe, J.M. and Cowlishaw, G. (2007) The Angola black-and-white colobus (Colobus angolensis palliatus) in Kenya: historical range contraction and current conservation status. American Journal of Primatology 69: 664-680.

Carbone, C., Teacher, A. and Rowcliffe, J.M. (2007) The costs of carnivory. PLoS Biology 5(2): e22.

Bennett, E.L., Blencowe, E., Brandon, K., Brown, D., Burn, R.W., Cowlishaw, G., Davies, G., Dublin, H., Fa, J.E., Milner-Gulland, E.J., Robinson, J.G., Rowcliffe, J.M., Underwood, F.M. and Wilkie, D.S. (2006) Hunting for consensus: reconciling bushmeat harvest, conservation and development policy in west and central Africa.Conservation Biology 21: 884-887.

Rands, S.A., Pettifor, R.A., Rowcliffe, J.M. and Cowlishaw, G. (2006) Social foraging and dominance relationships: the effects of socially mediated interference. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 60(4): 572-581.

East, T., Kumpel, N.F., Milner-Gulland, E.J. and Rowcliffe, J.M. (2005) Determinants of urban bushmeat consumption in Rio Muni, Equatorial Guinea. Biological Conservation 126, 206-215.

Rowcliffe, J.M., Milner-Gulland, E.J., & Cowlishaw, G. (2005) Do bushmeat consumers have other fish to fry? Trends in Ecology & Evolution20, 274-276.

Cowlishaw, G., Mendelson, S., & Rowcliffe, J.M. (2005) Evidence for post-depletion sustainability in a mature bushmeat market. Journal of Applied Ecology 42, 460-468.

Cowlishaw, G., Mendelson, S., & Rowcliffe, J.M. (2005) Structure and operation of a bushmeat commodity chain in southwestern Ghana. Conservation Biology19, 139-149.

Cope, D.R., Loonen, M.J.J.E., Rowcliffe, J.M., & Pettifor, R.A. (2005) Larger barnacle geese (Branta leucopsis) are more efficient feeders: a possible mechanism for observed body size - fitness relationships. Journal of Zoology265, 37-42.

Carpenter, A.I., Robson, O., Rowcliffe, J.M., & Watkinson, A.R. (2005) The impacts of international and national governance changes on a traded resource: a case study of Madagascar and its chameleon trade. Biological Conservation123, 279–287.

Carbone, C., Frame, L., Frame, H., Malcolm, J., Fanshawe, J., FitzGibbon, C., Schaller,G., Kruuk, H., Gordon, I., Rowcliffe, J.M and DuToit, J. (2005) Feeding success of African wild dogs (Lycaon pictus) in the Serengeti: the effects of group size and kleptoparasitism. Journal of Zoology 266: 153-161.

Carbone, C., Cowlishaw, G., Isaac, N.J.B., & Rowcliffe, J.M. (2005) How far do animals go? Determinants of day range in mammals. American Naturalist165, 290-297.

Rowcliffe, J.M., Pettifor, R.A., & Carbone, C. (2004) Foraging inequalities in large groups: quantifying depletion experienced by individuals in goose flocks. Journal of Animal Ecology73, 97-108.

Rowcliffe, J.M., de Merode, E., & Cowlishaw, G. (2004) Do wildlife laws work? Species protection and the application of a prey choice model to poaching decisions.Proceedings of the Royal Society of London Series B-Biological Sciences271, 2631-2636.

Rands, S.A., Pettifor, R.A., Rowcliffe, J.M., & Cowlishaw, G. (2004) State-dependent foraging rules for social animals in selfish herds. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London Series B-Biological Sciences271, 2613-2620.

Cowlishaw, G., Mendelson, S., & Rowcliffe, J.M. (2004). The Bushmeat Commodity Chain: patterns of trade and sustainability in a mature urban market in West Africa, Rep. No. 7. Overseas Development Institute, London.

Carpenter, A.I., Rowcliffe, J.M., & Watkinson, A.R. (2004) The dynamics of the global trade in chameleons. Biological Conservation120, 291-301.

Rowcliffe, J.M., Cowlishaw, G., & Long, J. (2003) A model of human hunting impacts in multi-prey communities. Journal of Applied Ecology40, 872-889.

Rands, S.A., Cowlishaw, G., Pettifor, R.A., Rowcliffe, J.M., & Johnstone, R.A. (2003) Spontaneous emergence of leaders and followers in foraging pairs. Nature423, 432-434.

Milner-Gulland, E.J., Bennett, E.L., & the SCB 2002 Annual Meeting Wild Meat Group (2003) Wild meat: the bigger picture. Trends in Ecology & Evolution18, 351-357.

Mendelson, S., Cowlishaw, G., & Rowcliffe, J.M. (2003) Anatomy of a bushmeat commodity chain (Takoradi, Ghana). Journal of Peasant Studies31, 73-100.

Cowlishaw, G., Lawes, M.J., Lightbody, M., Martin, A., Pettifor, R.A., & Rowcliffe, J.M. (2003) A simple rule for costs of vigilance: empirical evidence from a social forager. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London Series B-Biological Sciences, *27*1, 27-33.

Cope, D.R., Rowcliffe, J.M., & Pettifor, R.A. (2003) Sward height, structure and leaf extension rate of Lolium perenne pastures when grazed by overwintering barnacle geese. Grass and Forage Science58, 70-76.

Cope, D.R., Pettifor, R.A., Griffin, L.R., & Rowcliffe, J.M. (2003) Integrating farming and wildlife conservation: the Barnacle Goose Management Scheme. Biological Conservation110, 113-122.

Carbone, C., Thompson, W.A., Zadorina, L., & Rowcliffe, J.M. (2003) Competition, predation risk and patterns of flock expansion in barnacle geese (Branta leucopsis).Journal of Zoology259, 301-308.

Rowcliffe, J.M. (2002) Bushmeat and the biology of conservation. Oryx36, 331.

Rowcliffe, J.M., Watkinson, A.R., Sutherland, W.J., & Vickery, J.A. (2001) The depletion of algal beds by geese: a predictive model and test. Oecologia127, 361-371.

Pettifor, R.A., Norris, K.N., & Rowcliffe, J.M. (2000). Incorporating behaviour in predictive models for conservation. In Behaviour and Conservation. (eds L.M. Gosling & W.J. Sutherland), pp. 198-220. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

Pettifor, R.A., Caldow, R.W.G., Rowcliffe, J.M., Goss-Custard, J.D., Black, J.M., Hodder, K.H., Houston, A.I., Lang, A., & Webb, J. (2000) Spatially explicit, individual-based, behavioural models of the annual cycle of two migratory goose populations.Journal of Applied Ecology37, 103-135.

Vickery, J.A., Rowcliffe, J.M., Cresswell, W., Jones, P., & Holt, S. (1999) Habitat selection of whitethroats Sylvia communis during spring passage in the Sahel zone of Northern Nigeria. Bird Study46, 347-355.

Rowcliffe, J.M., Sutherland, W.J., & Watkinson, A.R. (1999) The functional and aggregative responses of a herbivore: underlying mechanisms and the spatial implications for plant depletion. Journal of Animal Ecology68, 853-868.

Jenkins, R.K.B., Brady, L.D., Huston, K., Kauffmann, J.L.D., Rabearivony, J., Raveloson, G., & Rowcliffe, J.M. (1999) The population status of chameleons within Ranomafana National Park, Madagascar, and recommendations for future monitoring.Oryx33, 38-46.

Hughes, B., Kirby, J., & Rowcliffe, J.M. (1999) Waterbird conflicts in Britain and Ireland: ruddy ducks Oxyura jamaicensis, canada geese Branta candensis, and cormorants Phalacorocorax carboWildfowl50, 77-99.

Ebbinge, B.S., Berrevoets, C., Clausen, P., Ganter, B., Günther, K., Koffijberg, K., Mahéo, R., Rowcliffe, J.M., St. Joseph, A.K.M., Südbeck, P., & Syroechkovski jnr., E.E. (1999). Brent goose. In Goose Populations of the Western Palaearctic: A Review of Status and Distribution (eds J. Madsen, G. Cracknell & A.D. Fox), pp. 284-297. Wetlands International / National Environmental Research Institute, Wageningen, the Netherlands / Rönde, Denmark.

Rowcliffe, J.M., Watkinson, A.R., & Sutherland, W.J. (1998) Aggregative responses of brent geese on salt marsh and their impact on plant community dynamics.Oecologia114, 417-426.

Rowcliffe, J.M., Pettifor, R.A., & Black, J.M. (1998) Modelling the dynamics of winter barnacle goose flocks: A progress report. Norsk Polarinstitutt Skrifter200, 195-201.

Pettifor, R.A., Black, J.M., Owen, M., Rowcliffe, J.M., & Patterson, D. (1998) Growth of the Svalbard barnacle goose Branta leucopsis winter population 1958-1996: An initial review of temporal demographic changes. Norsk Polarinstitutt Skrifter200, 147-164.

Vickery, J.A., Sutherland, W.J., Watkinson, A.R., Lane, S.J., & Rowcliffe, J.M. (1995) Habitat switching by dark-bellied brent geese Branta b. bernicla (L) in relation to food depletion. Oecologia103, 499-508.

Rowcliffe, J.M., Watkinson, A.R., Sutherland, W.J., & Vickery, J.A. (1995) Cyclic winter grazing patterns in Brent Geese and the regrowth of salt-marsh grass.Functional Ecology9, 931-941.

Atkinson, P.A., Humpage, E.A., Jowitt, A.J., Ogurlu, I., & Rowcliffe, J.M. (1995) The distribution and status of Caucasian black grouse in north-eastern Turkey. InProceedings of the 6th International Grouse Symposium (ed D. Jenkins), pp. 131-133, Udine, Italy.