ESR 27:193-206 (2015)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/esr00656

Is research effort associated with the conservation status of European bird species?

H. J. Murray1, E. J. Green1, D. R. Williams1, I. J. Burfield2, M. de L. Brooke1,*

1Department of Zoology, Downing Street, Cambridge CB2 3EJ, UK
2BirdLife International, Wellbrook Court, Girton Road, Cambridge CB3 0NA, UK
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Research effort is critical to the success of interventions which aim to reduce declines in biodiversity and so can be considered as a conservation resource. European bird species are among the best studied and most popular groups of animals, yet 1 in 10 are currently globally threatened or near threatened, and many have been prioritised by various multilateral environmental agreements. To investigate how research effort is directed towards European bird species, and in particular whether conservation listing prompts additional research, the number of outputs from a Web of Science search related to conservation was used to develop an index of research effort for each species. This index was then analysed against a set of population, morphological, ecological and socioeconomic parameters collated from the literature, plus measures of threat level. A series of generalised linear models revealed that the most important factors in explaining the distribution of research effort amongst European bird species included ‘European population size’, ‘potential research investment’ and ‘habitat type’, which were linked to ease of study. Also important were the species’ generation length, 1990-2000 European population trend and migration status. Research effort was not well targeted with respect to either European or global threat status, and there was little support for the suggestion that inclusion of species in legislative instruments such as Annex I of the EU Birds Directive might stimulate research. Research effort must become better prioritised to achieve the greatest net conservation benefit.


KEY WORDS: EU Birds Directive · IUCN Red List · Threatened birds · Web of Science


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Cite this article as: Murray HJ, Green EJ, Williams DR, Burfield IJ, Brooke M de L (2015) Is research effort associated with the conservation status of European bird species?. Endang Species Res 27:193-206. https://doi.org/10.3354/esr00656

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