New paper: selecting indicators for risk assessment

The first chapter of my PhD has just been published in Conservation Biology! Here’s a snippet of a blog post I wrote about the paper for our lab website. Also check out the article I wrote about it for the IUCN RLE website.

Reference: Rowland, J.A., Nicholson, E., Murray, N.J., Keith, D.A., Lester, R.E. and Bland, L.M., 2018. Selecting and applying indicators of ecosystem collapse for risk assessmentsConservation Biology, in press.


Ecologists and managers carry out risk assessments to inform how to best monitor and manage ecosystems. Risk assessments can identify areas or aspects of ecosystems that are at risk of degradation or collapse, by measuring change in variables that reflect vital parts of the ecosystem – known as indicators. Despite risk assessments being widely applied, there is little guidance on selecting and using indicators in a consistent, and transparent way to ensure assessments are reliable and repeatable.

Jess Rowland, along colleagues from our research group and collaborators, reviewed ecological studies and risk assessments that applied the IUCN Red List of Ecosystems (RLE) in marine and terrestrial ecosystems to understand the strengths and shortcomings in the selection and use of indicators. In particular, we were interested in how indicators were selected, and which parts of ecosystems they reported on, specifically change in area of ecosystems, in abiotic aspects (such as annual temperature or precipitation) and in biotic components (such as abundance of key native species or invasive species)…

Full post here

Rufous Whistler

Rufous Whistler (Photo credit: Mark Gillow via Flickr.)


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