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Dr Arjun Amar

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Arjun Amar is an Avian Conservation Biologist with a focus on raptor conservation. He grew up in Nottingham, England and obtained a BSc Hons in Zoology from Newcastle University. Following research on Augur Buzzards in Kenya, Montugu’s Harriers in France and Common Buzzards in Scotland and the South of England, he carried out his PhD research examining the cause of the dramatic decline of a population of hen harriers on the Orkney Islands (Scotland), which was awarded in 2001 from Aberdeen University. Arjun then worked as a post-doctoral scientist for the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust, undertaking research to help resolve the long standing conflict between hen harrier conservation and red grouse shooting on the Grouse moors of England and Scotland. In 2003, a post-doc position with the US Fish and Wildlife Service then took Arjun to the tiny Pacific Island of Rota, one of the Northern Mariana Islands, where he undertook research on the declining critically endangered Mariana Crow. Between 2004 and 2011 Arjun worked as a Senior Conservation Scientist for the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds based at both their UK and Scottish Headquarters. Arjun took up the post of Senior Lecturer at the Percy FitzPatrick Instiute at UCT in 2011.

Arjun’s research interests lie in understanding the processes that regulate animal distributions, demography and population dynamics, and applying this understanding to the conservation biology of declining populations. He is particularly interested in establishing causes of population declines, understanding the mechanisms that drive these declines and identifying appropriate remedial management to reverse or prevent these trends. His research has included work on raptors, waders and passerines in the uplands, woodland birds, lowland waders, and tropical forest birds and bats. Other research has focused on human-wildlife conflicts and he has published a number of papers surrounding the raptor-gamebird conflict. He is an associate editor of Ibis and Bird Study.

Peer reviewed publications.

Lei, B., Amar, A., Koeslag, A., Gous, T.A. & Tate, G.J. In press. Differential haemoparasite intensity between black sparrowhawk (Accipiter melanoleucus) morphs suggests an adaptive function for polymorphism. PLoS ONE.

Krüger, S., Allan, D., Jenkins, A. & Amar. A. In Press. Trends in territory occupancy, distribution and density of the Bearded Vulture Gypaetus barbatus meridionalis in southern Africa. Bird Conservation International.

Amar, A. & Esselstyn, J. In Press. Rat abundance on the Pacific island of Rota is associated with higher breeding success of the endangered Mariana Crow. Bird Conservation International.

Redpath, S.M., Young, J., Evely, A., Adams, W.M., Sutherland, W.J., Whitehouse, A., Amar. A., Linnell, J. Lambert, R.A., Watt, A. & Gutierrez, R.J. (2013). Understanding and managing conservation conflicts. Trends in Ecology and Evolution. 28:100-109

Amar, A., Koeslag, A. & Curtis, O. (2013). Genetic plumage polymorphism in a newly colonised black sparrowhawk population: classification, temporal stability and inheritance patterns. Journal of Zoology. 289: 60-67.

Amar et al. (2012) Linking nest histories, remotely sensed land use data and wildlife crime records to explore the impact of grouse moor management on peregrine falcon populations. Biological Conservation. 145: 86-95.

Amar, A., Davies, J., Meek, E., Williams, J., Knight, A. & Redpath, S. 2011. Long term impact of changes in sheep Ovis aries densities on the breeding output of the Hen Harrier Circus cyaneus. Journal of Applied Ecology. 48: 220-227.

Amar, A., Grant, M., Buchanan, G., Sim, I., Wilson, J. Pearce-Higgins, J., & Redpath, S. (2011). Exploring the relationships between wader declines and current land use in the British uplands. Bird Study. 58: 13-26

Amar, A., Smith, K.W., Butler, S., Lindsell, J.A., Hewson, C.M., Fuller, R.J. & Charman, E. (2010). Patterns of change in vegetation structure and tree composition of British broadleaved woodland: evidence from large-scale surveys. Forestry. 83: 345-356.

Smart, J., Amar, A., et al. (2010). Illegal killing slows population recovery of a re-introduced raptor of high conservation concern - the red kite Milvus milvus. Biological Conservation. 143: 1278-1286.

Amar, A., Redpath, S., Sim, I., & Buchanan, G. (2010). Spatial and temporal associations between recovering populations of common raven Corvus corax and British upland wader populations. Journal of Applied Ecology. 47: 253-262

Carpenter, J., Smart, J., Amar,A., Gosler, A., Hinsley, S. & Charman,E. (2010). Habitat associations of two closely related woodland passerines with opposing population trends: Implications for woodland management. Bird Study. 57: 41-43.

Redpath, S., Amar, A., Smith, A., Thompson, D. & Thirgood, S. (2010). People and nature in conflict: can we reconcile raptor conservation and game management? In: Species Management: Challenges and Solution for the 21st Century. (Eds J. Baxter & C. A. Galbraith).  The Stationary Office, Edinburgh.

Thompson, P., Amar, A., Hoccom, D.G., Knott, J. & Wilson, J.D. (2009). Resolving the conflict between driven-grouse shooting and conservation of hen harriers. Journal of Applied Ecology. 46: 950-954.

Lewis, A., Amar, A, Taylor, E, Grice, P. & Smith, K. W. (2009). Factors influencing patch occupancy and within patch habitat use in an apparently stable population of British Willow Tits (Poecile montanus kleinschmidti). Bird Study. 56: 326-337.

Lewis, A.J.G., Amar, A., Charman, E. & Stewart, F.R.P. (2009). The decline of the Willow Tit in Britain. British Birds. 102: 386-393.

Arroyo, B., Amar, A., Leckie, F., Buchanan, G., Wilson, J. & Redpath, S. (2009). Hunting habitat selection by Hen Harriers on moorland: Implications for conservation and conflict resolution. Biological Conservation. 142: 586-596

Evans, R. J., Wilson, J. D., Amar, A., et al. (2009). Growth and Demography of a re-introduced population of White-tailed Eagles Haliaeetus albicilla. Ibis. 151: 244-254

Amar, A., Amidon, F., Arroyo, B.E., Esselstyn, J. & Marshall, A. (2008). Population trends of the forest bird community on the Pacific island of Rota, Mariana Islands. Condor. 110: 421-427

Amar, A., Thirgood, S., Redpath, S & Pearce-Higgins, J. (2008). The impact of raptors on the abundance of upland passerines and waders? Oikos. 117: 1143-1152

Smart, J., Amar, A., O’Brien, M., Grice, P. and Smith, K. (2008). Changing land management on lowland wet grasslands of  the UK: Impacts on snipe Gallinago gallinago  abundance and habitat quality. Animal Conservation. 11: 339-351.

Amar, A., Arroyo, B.E., Meek, E., Redpath, S., & Riley, H. (2008). Influence of habitat on occupancy and breeding performance of hen harriers in a declining population. Ibis. 150: 400-404.

Hewson, C.M., Amar, A., Lindsell, J.A., Thewlis, R.M., Butler, S., Smith, K. & Fuller, R. J. (2007). Recent Changes in British Woodland Bird Populations derived from the Repeat Woodland Bird Survey. Ibis. 149: 14-28.

Lewis, A.J.G., Amar, A., Cordi-Piec, D. & Thewlis, R.M.T. (2007). Factors influencing Willow Tit Poecile montanus site occupancy: a comparison of abandoned and occupied woods. Ibis. 149: 205-213.

Hinsley, S.A., Carpenter, J.E., Broughton, R.K., Bellamy, P.E., Rothery, P., Amar, A., Hewson, C.M. & Gosler, A.G. (2007) Habitat selection by Marsh Tits Poecile palustris in the UK. Ibis. 149: 224-243.

Amar, A., Smith, K. & Lindsell, J. (2006). Population changes of some bird species in Scottish and Welsh Atlantic Oakwoods between the 1980s and 2003/04 using data from the Repeat Woodland Bird Survey. Botanical Journal of Scotland. 57: 179-185.

Redpath, S., Leckie, F., Arroyo, B., Amar, A., & Thirgood, S. (2006). Compensating for the costs of polygyny in hen harriers Circus cyaneus. Behavioural Ecology and Sociobiology. 60: 386-391.

Esselstyn, J., Amar, A. & Janeke, D. (2006) The Impact of Post-Typhoon Hunting on Marianas Fruit Bats (Pteropus mariannus). Pacific Science. 60: 531-539.

Amar, A. & Redpath, S. (2005) Habitat use by hen harriers Circus cyaneus on Orkney: implications of land use change on this declining population. Ibis. 147: 37-47.

Amar, A., Picozzi, N., Meek, E.R., Lambin, X. & Redpath, S.M. (2005) Decline of the Orkney Hen Harrier Circus cyaneus population: do changes to demographic parameters and mating system fit a declining food hypothesis? Bird Study. 52: 18-24.

Esselstyn, J., Wiles, G. & Amar, A. (2004) Habitat Use of the Pacific Sheath-tailed Bat (Emballonura semicaudata) on Aguiguan, Mariana Islands. Acta Chiropterologica. 6: 303-308.

Amar, A., Arroyo, B.E., Redpath, S.M. & Thirgood, S. (2004) Habitat predicts losses of red grouse to individual hen harriers. Journal of Applied Ecology. 41: 305-314

Amar, A., Redpath, S. & Thirgood, S. (2003) Evidence for food limitation in the declining hen harrier population on the Orkney Island, Scotland. Biological Conservation. 111: 374-388.

Amar, A., Redpath, S., Lambin, X. & Meek, E. (2003) Could the hen harrier decline on Orkney be due to a shortage of food? In: Birds of Prey in a Changing Environment. (Eds. D. B. Thompson, S. M. Redpath, A. Fielding, M. Marquiss & C. A. Galbraith). The Stationery Office, Edinburgh.

Amar, A. & Redpath, S. (2002) Determining the cause of the hen harrier decline on the Orkney Islands: an experimental test of two hypotheses. Animal Conservation. 5: 21-28

Redpath, S., Amar, A., Madders, M., Leckie, F. & Thirgood, S. (2002) Hunting success of hen harriers in relation to moorland management. Animal Conservation. 5: 113-118.

Amar, A. & Burthe, S. (2001) Observations of predation of Hen Harrier nestlings by Hooded Crows in Orkney. Scottish Birds. 22: 65-66.

Amar, A., Arroyo, B.E. & Bretagnolle, V. (2000) Post-fledging dependency and dispersal in hacked and wild Montagu’s Harriers Circus pygargus. Ibis. 142: 21-28.

Other publications

Bicknell, J., Smart, J., Hoccom, D., Amar, A., Evans, A., Walton, P., Knott, J. (2010). Impacts of non-native gamebird release in the UK: a review. RSPB Research Report no 40. RSPB, Sandy.

Repath, S. & Amar, A. 2010. Ravens: Facing facts. Shooting Times Magazine. (14/10/2010).

Carpenter, J., Charman, Smart, J., Amar, A., Gruar, D. & Grice, P. (2009). Habitat associations of woodland birds II. RSPB Research Report Number 36. RSPB, Sandy.

Smart, J., Taylor, E., Amar, A., Smith, K., Bierman, S., Carpenter, J., Grice, P., Currie, F., Smithers, R., Fuller, R. & Hewson, C. (2007). Habitat associations of woodland birds: Implications for woodland management for declining species. RSPB Research Report No. 26. RSPB, Sandy.

Gibbons, D.W., Amar, A., et al. (2007). The predation of wild birds in the UK: a review of its conservation impact and management. RSPB Research Report No 23. RSPB, Sandy.

Amar, A., Hewson, C.M., et al. (2006). What’s Happening to our Woodland Birds? Long term changes in the populations of woodland birds. RSPB Research Report No. 19 and BTO Research Report No. 169.

Arroyo, B., Leckie, F., Amar, A., Aspinall, D., McCluskie, A. & Redpath, S. (2004). Habitat use and range management on priority areas for Hen Harriers: 2003 Report. Report to Scottish Natural Heritage. Contract No. F02AC307.

Arroyo, B., Amar, A., McCluskie, A. & Redpath, S. (2003) Aspects of Hen Harrier Ecology on Moorland SPAs. Report to Scottish Natural Heritage. Contract No. F01AFC654.

Amar, A. & Tapper, S. (2003). Hen Harriers and Grouse – A Decade of Research. The Game Conservancy’s Annual Review: 2002. The Game Conservancy Trust, Fordingbridge, Hants.

Amar, A. & Redpath, S. (2002) Life on the Edge. BBC Wildlife Magazine. 52-54.

Amar, A., Arroyo, B. & Redpath, S. (2002) Analysis of breeding success of Orkney hen harriers in relation to habitat. Report to Scottish Nature Heritage. Contract No. BAT/PA02e/01/02/100