Monday, 10 March 2014

Our Conservation, Evolution and Behaviour (CEB) Research Group launched

Posted by Stuart Marsden

Our new research group based in the School of Science & the Environment at Manchester Metropolitan University has just been launched (see With it comes what we hope will be an attractive and informative website introducing staff and their research interests, research students and their projects, news and activities, and links to teaching.  The CEB group website is in progress at It is worth a look, if only for the lovely photos.

(Photos. Top: Michele Menegon; Mid: Stuart Marsden; Bottom: Paul Donald)

The CEB group

Much of the conservation research we do focuses on biodiverse regions of the world. We are active across Africa, Southeast Asia and South America, working on birds, mammals, amphibians and other groups in tropical forests and other ecosystems. We also work closer to home, in British habitats on habitat fragmentation, restoration of salt marshes, impact of wind farms and noise pollution. We have a special interest in capacity building in developing countries both through PhD training, and taught MScs.

(Photos. Top: Paul Higginbottom; Mid and Bottom: Stuart Marsden)

An understanding of ecology, evolution and behaviour provides important insights and new perspectives on the science of conservation. Our group is interested in a wide variety of evolutionary and behavioural topics that range from bioacoustics and determinants of primate social structure to whale behaviour and bumble bee foraging. We also use theoretical models (such as random forest analyses) to assess extinction risks, and DNA sequence analyses to monitor gene flow and minimal viable population size. Our research ranges from the applied (GPS collar tracking of working Police dogs) to the more fundamental (behavioural neuroscience of rodent whiskers).

(Photos. Top: Michele Menegon; Mid: Christian Devenish; Bottom: Paul Donald)
There are around 15 permanent staff in the group. Information about the research interests of individual members of staff can be found within their staff webpages at As is stressed in the MMU news piece, we see the group as more than just research. We all teach and supervise Masters students, and see the group as a focal point for our wider activities. For example, we have a thriving taught master’s programme with courses in Animal Behaviour, Conservation Biology, Countryside Management, Biological Recording, Conservation Genetics and Bird Conservation.

(Photos. Top: Michele Menegon; Mid: Stuart Marsden; Bottom: Paul Donald)

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