I am a first year IAPETUS DTP PhD student at Durham University, with an interest in the role of zoos in global conservation, by contributing funds and expertise to conservation projects in situ, research, conservation breeding and by improving the biodiversity literacy of the public. In particular, my research is looking at the strategic planning of zoo collections to maximise conservation impact under climate and land use change. Zoos are reliant on gate receipts to remain sustainable, and while a great many species may become threatened by climate or land use change in the coming decades, not all are major attractants. By understanding the species traits that drive attractiveness while estimating future threat status for terrestrial vertebrates, I aim to simulate optimised global zoo collections under a range of future climate scenarios.
Durham webpage (Conservation Ecology Group) http://www.conservationecology.org/tom-smart.html