Dr Ailsa McKenzie
- Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 6898
- Address: School of Biology,
Ridley Building (4.65),
I am an early career ecological researcher with a specialisation in agro-ecology. I have worked successfully with a wide range of individuals & organisations over her 5 years as a post-doc and havea large number of links & collaborators within the University and beyond.
Research Associate positions
- July 2014-December 2014 Research associate on Newcastle University-funded project “How effective are Natura 2000 sites at conserving natural habitats?”
- April 2013-June 2014 “Novel Numerical modelling approaches for Environmental Solutions in Policy Applications”- Knowledge Transfer Partnership Associate (KTP) based between Newcastle University and AHVLA, York.
- Dec. 2012-March 2013 Post-doctoral research associate on Defra-funded “Method for the assessment of priorities for international species conservation (MAPISCo)” project at Newcastle University.
- Aug. 2011-Nov. 2012 Post-doctoral research associate on Defra-funded “Grassland soil compaction” project at Newcastle University.
- Oct. 2010-March 2011 Post-doctoral research associate on the RELU-funded “Collaborative Conservation” project at Newcastle University.
- Nov. 2009-Sept.2010 Post-doctoral research associate on NERC-funded “Why are birds and other taxa more abundant on organic farms? A meta-analysis.” at Newcastle University.
- Sept. 2005-Oct.2009 PhD, Newcastle University. Thesis title: ‘Why is organic farming better for birds? The importance of vegetation structure, food availability and food quality.”(NERC funded CASE studentship with the BTO).
- Sept 2004-Aug 2005 M.Res Ecology & Environmental Biology (with Distinction), University of Glasgow. Project titles: “Home-range and habitat use of the barbastelle bat in S England” and “Importance of Sitka Spruce Picea sitchensis seed and garden bird-feeders for siskins Carduelis spinus and coal tits Periparus ater”.
- Sept 1999- June 2003 BSc (Hons) Zoology (1st Class), University of Aberdeen. Project title: “Foraging preferences and resource partitioning in the sympatric bat species Pipistrellus pipistrellus and P. pygmaeus.”
I have experience working with a range of different stakeholders, having established good working relationships with farmers, NGOs and Government organisations (e.g. Natural England) alike. I am highly proficient in literature searching and meta-analysis of data, and in experimental design both in the wild and laboratory. I am adept using ArcGIS and able to carry out a wide range of statistical analyses using both Minitab and R. I am experienced in a wide range of bird, bat and badger survey techniques (birds: breeding birds surveys, vantage points, winter walkovers; bats: dusk and dawn surveys, transects, radio tracking, roost and hibernacula surveys) in a wide range of often challenging habitats (e.g. upland, wetland, moorland, farmland, urban). I have a Natural England Class 2 bat licence (to survey bats using artificial light, endoscopes, hand & hand-held static nets).
Other responsibilities and esteen indicators
Associate editor of Journal of Applied Ecology (Impact Factor 4.754) and Biodiversity and Conservation (Impact Factor 2.065). Invited to give plenary talk at the annual Ecological Society of Germany, Austria & Switzerland conference 2014.
Agro-ecology, protected areas, food selection, garden bird ecology.
I am experienced in a wide range of bird, bat and badger survey techniques (birds: breeding birds surveys, vantage points, winter walkovers; bats: dusk and dawn surveys, transects, radio tracking, roost and hibernacula surveys) in a wide range of often challenging habitats (e.g. upland, wetland, moorland, farmland, urban). I have a Natural England Class 2 bat licence (to survey bats using artificial light, endoscopes, hand & hand-held static nets).
Are natural habitats safeguarded by Protected Areas? A large-scale European case study. With Prof Mark Whittingham (Biology) and Prof Seline Stead (MAST)
The loss of natural habitats worldwide is regarded, along with climate change, as a major driver of global biodiversity loss. As a result of this, an extensive suite of international policy is now focused entirely on halting these declines (e.g. the Convention on Biological Diversity’s Aichi targets (CBD 2012). One major global response to these declines has been the growth and development of “Protected Areas” (PAs) – areas designed, to varying degrees, to protect natural habitats from the encroachment of humans. The creation and effective management of PAs forms the basis of one of the Convention on Biodiversity’s (CBD) key biodiversity targets – Aichi target 11 – which states that by 2020, at least 17 per cent of terrestrial and inland water areas should be conserved effectively through suitably managed, ecologically representative and well-connected systems of protected areas and other effective area-based conservation measures (CBD, 2012).
While methods exist for evaluating the effectiveness of PA management and interventions (Leverington et al. 2010), analysis of whether protected areas are meeting their conservation objectives (e.g. preservation of natural habitats and their associated biodiversity) is largely lacking, although some studies are now beginning to emerge (e.g. Fuller et al. 2010, Clark et al. 2013). Fewer studies still have focused on understanding potential mechanisms behind variation in PA effectiveness (Holmes & Oldekop 2013).
The aim of this project is to undertake an interim assessment of the EU’s ability to meet the Convention on Biodiversity’s Aichi Target 11, something which has not previously been attempted. Given the impending 2020 Aichi Target for effective PA networks, this work is extremely timely.
- McKenzie AJ, Vickery JA, Leifert C, Shotton P, Whittingham MJ. Disentangling the effects of fertilisers and pesticides on winter stubble use by farmland birds. Basic and Applied Ecology 2011, 12(1), 80-88.
- McKenzie AJ, Whittingham MJ. Birds select conventional over organic wheat when given free choice. Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture 2010, 90(11), 1861-1869.
- McKenzie AJ, Whittingham MJ. Why are birds more abundant on organic farms?. Journal of Food, Agriculture and Environment 2009, 7(2), 807-814.
- Mckenzie AJ, Petty SJ, Toms MP, Furness RW. Importance of Sitka Spruce Picea sitchensis seed and garden bird-feeders for Siskins Carduelis spinus and Coal Tits Periparus ater. Bird Study 2007, 54(2), 236-247.
- McKenzie A, Emery S, Franks J, Whittingham M. Landscape-scale conservation: collaborative agri-environment schemes could benefit both biodiversity and eccosystem services, but will farmers be willing to participate?. Journal of Applied Ecology 2013, 50(5), 1274-1280.
- Franks JR, Emery SB, Whittingham MJ, McKenzie AJ. Options for landscape scale collaboration under the UK's environmental stewardship scheme. Newcastle upon Tyne, UK: Newcastle University CRE Research Report, 2011.
- Robertson PA, McKenzie AJ. Big Beasts: The scientific profiles of British terrestrial mammals as measured by citation rates. Mammal Review 2014. Submitted.
- Zwart MC, McKenzie AJ, Minderman J, Whittingham MJ. Conflicts between birds and on-shore wind farms. 2014. Submitted.
- Franks JR, Emery S, McKenzie AJ, Whittingham MJ. Farmer’s attitudes towards landscape scale environmental collaboration: findings from an online consultation. Land Use Policy 2014. Submitted.
- McKenzie AJ, Whittingham MJ. Later corn more buntings: management options to increase farmland bird populations, but how will these fit with future Agri-environment Scheme priorities?. Ibis 2014. Submitted.
- Robertson PA, Mill AC, Rushton SP, McKenzie AJ, Sage RB, Aebischer NJ. Pheasant release in Great Britain: long-term and large-scale changes in the survival of a managed bird. European Journal of Wildlife Research 2017, 63, 1-10.
- Franks JR, Emery SB, Whittingham MJ, McKenzie AJ. Farmer attitudes to cross-holding agri-environment schemes and their implications for Countryside Stewardship. International Journal of Agricultural Management 2016, 5(4), 78-95.
- Lees KJ, McKenzie AJ, Newell-Price JP, Critchley CNR, Rhymer CM, Chambers BJ, Whittingham MJ. The effects of soil compaction mitigation on below-ground fauna: how earthworms respond to mechanical loosening and power harrow cultivation. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment 2016, 232, 273-282.
- Robertson PA, McKenzie AJ. The scientific profiles of terrestrial mammals in Great Britain as measured by publication metrics. Mammal Review 2015, 45(2), 128-132.
- McKenzie AJ, Robertson PA. Which Species Are We Researching and Why? A Case Study of the Ecology of British Breeding Birds. PLoS ONE 2015, 10(7), e0131004.