Dr Ross Macleod

School of Biological and Environmental Sciences

Predictive Ecology
I am fascinated by the emerging science of predictive ecology (how to accurately forecast future population, fitness and ecosystem impacts of changing environmental conditions). I apply behavioural ecology theory and field research as keys to understanding and predicting how ecological responses across different scales are connected. Especially, how behavioural and physiological responses can be used to forecast population and ecosystem responses to different types of environmental change. Understanding how these links function helps us to solve many applied conservation and environmental challenges, such as how to manage habitats to conserve populations or to mitigate the future impacts of climate change on the natural world. These themes provide the basis for my teaching across the Animal Behaviour, Wildlife Conservation, Zoology and Biology degrees. Including as module leader of the Animal Behaviour and International Expedition modules and teaching on the Behavioural Ecology and Ecology modules. I supervise undergraduate and post-graduate research projects on behavioural ecology and wildlife conservation.

Behavioural & Population Ecology Research
Much of my behavioural ecology research is based on applying starvation-predation risk-trade-off theory to predator prey-interactions, using common birds and marine mammals as model systems (currently urban House Sparrows and Blue Tits). My work is built on strong collaborations with conservation and scientific NGOs, such as the RSPB and British Trust for Ornithology, and uses a wide range of approaches. From specially designed, automated environmental monitoring systems (based on using tiny PIT or RFID tags) to non-invasively track individual body mass change and behavioural responses to environmental conditions. To field experiments, to behavioural observations and to the analysis of big data from national scale datasets such as the BTO ringing and population monitoring schemes. One feature that all my approaches share is that they are highly accessible for student research projects and for students wanting to learn transferable skills. I am increasingly using urban ecosystems (with a particular focus on the UK conservation red-listed species, the House Sparrow) for their research and teaching opportunities. The simplified nature of urban environments makes them ideal model systems for testing new predictive ecology approaches for predicting population dynamics (e.g. Matthipoulos, Field & MacLeod, 2019) that can help us forecast the impacts of accelerating human-linked environmental change (e.g. MacLeod et al 2007 Ecology Letters, MacLeod et al. 2014 Ecology).

Conservation Biology & Methods Research
I also have strong interests in applied conservation and in developing new methods and techniques for conservation monitoring (MacLeod et al 2011, Whitworth et al. 2016), both in the UK and in the tropics especially in Bolivia and Peru. I work with projects focusing on the conservation of threatened species and ecosystems, including the critically endangered Blue-throated Macaw in Bolivia. In Peru, much of my work focuses on how rainforest regeneration can drive the restoration of tropical forest ecosystems (Whitworth et al. 2016) and be used to deliver both high-value biodiversity conservation (Whitworth et al. 2018) and sustainable development for impoverished local communities.

Languages

Spanish - Latin American

Degrees

2004, University of Oxford, United Kingdom, D.Phil., Behavioural Ecology
1999, University of Glasgow, United Kingdom, B.Sc. (Hons), Zoology

Academic appointments

Lecturer in Behavioural Ecology, Natural Sciences and Psychology, Liverpool John Moores University, 2018 - present
Project Leader Darwin Initiative Sustainable Manu Project, University of Glasgow, 2015 - 2018
Royal Society of Edinburgh Research Fellow, University of Glasgow, 2010 - 2015
NERC Post-doctoral Reseach Associate, University of St Andrews, 2005 - 2006
Pooject Leader Darwin Initiative Bolivian Key Biodiversity Areas Project, University of Glasgow, 2003 - 2006

Highlighted publications

Whitworth A, Beirne C, Pillco Huarcaya R, Whittaker L, Serrano Rojas SJ, Tobler MW, MacLeod R. 2019. Human disturbance impacts on rainforest mammals are most notable in the canopy, especially for larger‐bodied species Diversity and Distributions, 25 :1166-1178 DOI Publisher Url Public Url

Matthiopoulos J, Field C, MacLeod R. 2019. Predicting population change from models based on habitat availability and utilization. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 286 DOI Author Url Publisher Url Public Url

Whitworth A, Pillco Huarcaya R, Gonzalez Mercado H, Braunholtz LD, MacLeod R. 2018. Food for thought. Rainforest carrion-feeding butterflies are more sensitive indicators of disturbance history than fruit feeders Biological Conservation, 217 :383-390 DOI Publisher Url Public Url

Whitworth A, Villacampa J, Serrano Rojas SJ, Downie R, MacLeod R. 2017. Methods matter: Different biodiversity survey methodologies identify contrasting biodiversity patterns in a human modified rainforest — A case study with amphibians Ecological Indicators, 72 :821-832 DOI Publisher Url Public Url

Stevenson TJ, Visser ME, Arnold W, Barrett P, Biello S, Dawson A, Denlinger DL, Dominoni D, Ebling FJ, Elton S, Evans N, Ferguson HM, Foster RG, Hau M, Haydon DT, Hazlerigg DG, Heideman P, Hopcraft JGC, Jonsson NN, Kronfeld-Schor N, Kumar V, Lincoln GA, Macleod R, Martin SAM, Martinez-Bakker M, Nelson RJ, Reed T, Robinson JE, Rock D, Schwartz WJ, Steffan-Dewenter I, Tauber E, Thackeray SJ, Umstatter C, Yoshimura T, Helm B. 2015. Disrupted seasonal biology impacts health, food security and ecosystems Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 282 DOI Author Url Publisher Url Public Url

Macleod CD, Macleod R, Learmonth JA, Cresswell W, Pierce GJ. 2014. Predicting population-level risk effects of predation from the responses of individuals Ecology, 95 :2006-2015 DOI Author Url Publisher Url Public Url

Cresswell W, Clark JA, Macleod R. 2009. How climate change might influence the starvation-predation risk trade-off response Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 276 :3553-3560 DOI Author Url

MacLeod R, Lind J, Clark J, Cresswell W. 2007. Mass regulation in response to predation risk can indicate population declines Ecology Letters, 10 :945-955 DOI Author Url

Journal article

Whitworth A, Beirne C, Pillco Huarcaya R, Whittaker L, Serrano Rojas SJ, Tobler MW, MacLeod R. 2019. Human disturbance impacts on rainforest mammals are most notable in the canopy, especially for larger‐bodied species Diversity and Distributions, 25 :1166-1178 DOI Publisher Url Public Url

Matthiopoulos J, Field C, MacLeod R. 2019. Predicting population change from models based on habitat availability and utilization. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 286 DOI Author Url Publisher Url Public Url

Allen L, Reeve R, Nousek-McGregor A, Villacampa J, MacLeod R. 2019. Are orchid bees useful indicators of the impacts of human disturbance? Ecological Indicators, DOI Publisher Url Public Url

Whitworth A, Pillco-Huarcaya R, Downie R, Villacampa J, Braunholtz LD, MacLeod R. 2018. Long lasting impressions: After decades of regeneration rainforest biodiversity remains differentially affected following selective logging and clearance for agriculture Global Ecology and Conservation, 13 DOI Publisher Url Public Url

Whitworth A, Pillco Huarcaya R, Gonzalez Mercado H, Braunholtz LD, MacLeod R. 2018. Food for thought. Rainforest carrion-feeding butterflies are more sensitive indicators of disturbance history than fruit feeders Biological Conservation, 217 :383-390 DOI Publisher Url Public Url

Whitworth A, Villacampa J, Serrano Rojas SJ, Downie R, MacLeod R. 2017. Methods matter: Different biodiversity survey methodologies identify contrasting biodiversity patterns in a human modified rainforest — A case study with amphibians Ecological Indicators, 72 :821-832 DOI Publisher Url Public Url

Whitworth A, Braunholtz LD, Huarcaya RP, Macleod R, Beirne C. 2016. Out on a limb: Arboreal camera traps as an emerging methodology for inventorying elusive rainforest mammals Tropical Conservation Science, 9 :675-698 DOI Publisher Url Public Url

Nord A, Lehmann M, Macleod R, McCafferty DJ, Nager RG, Nilsson J, Helm B. 2016. Evaluation of two methods for minimally invasive peripheral body temperature measurement in birds Journal of Avian Biology, DOI

Waddell E, Whitworth A, Macleod R. 2016. A first test of the thread bobbin tracking technique as a method for studying the ecology of herpetofauna in a tropical rainforest Herpetological Conservation and Biology, 11 :61-71 Publisher Url Public Url

Whitworth A, Villacampa J, Brown A, Huarcaya RP, Downie R, MacLeod R. 2016. Past human disturbance effects upon biodiversity are greatest in the canopy; A case study on rainforest butterflies PLoS ONE, 11 DOI Author Url Publisher Url Public Url

Whitworth A, Downie R, von May R, Villacampa J, Macleod R. 2016. How much potential biodiversity and conservation value can a regenerating rainforest provide? A ‘best-case scenario’ approach from the Peruvian Amazon Tropical Conservation Science, 9 :224-245 DOI Publisher Url Public Url

Stevenson TJ, Visser ME, Arnold W, Barrett P, Biello S, Dawson A, Denlinger DL, Dominoni D, Ebling FJ, Elton S, Evans N, Ferguson HM, Foster RG, Hau M, Haydon DT, Hazlerigg DG, Heideman P, Hopcraft JGC, Jonsson NN, Kronfeld-Schor N, Kumar V, Lincoln GA, Macleod R, Martin SAM, Martinez-Bakker M, Nelson RJ, Reed T, Robinson JE, Rock D, Schwartz WJ, Steffan-Dewenter I, Tauber E, Thackeray SJ, Umstatter C, Yoshimura T, Helm B. 2015. Disrupted seasonal biology impacts health, food security and ecosystems Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 282 DOI Author Url Publisher Url Public Url

Macleod CD, Macleod R, Learmonth JA, Cresswell W, Pierce GJ. 2014. Predicting population-level risk effects of predation from the responses of individuals Ecology, 95 :2006-2015 DOI Author Url Publisher Url Public Url

Corvacho MG, MacLeod R, Brooks DM, Hennessey B. 2011. Distinctive morphology, ecology, and first vocal descriptions of sira curassow (Pauxi[Unicornis] Koepckeae): Evidence for species rank Ornitologia Neotropical, 22 :267-279

MacLeod R, Herzog SK, Maccormick A, Ewing SR, Bryce R, Evans KL. 2011. Rapid monitoring of species abundance for biodiversity conservation: Consistency and reliability of the MacKinnon lists technique Biological Conservation, 144 :1374-1381 DOI

Gastañaga M, MacLeod R, Hennessey B, Núñez JU, Puse E, Arrascue A, Hoyos J, Chambi WM, Vasquez J, Engblom G. 2011. A study of the parrot trade in Peru and the potential importance of internal trade for threatened species Bird Conservation International, 21 :76-85 DOI

Herborn KA, Macleod R, Miles WTS, Schofield ANB, Alexander L, Arnold KE. 2010. Personality in captivity reflects personality in the wild Animal Behaviour, 79 :835-843 DOI

Cresswell W, Clark JA, Macleod R. 2009. How climate change might influence the starvation-predation risk trade-off response Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 276 :3553-3560 DOI Author Url

MacLeod CD, MacLeod RC. 2009. The relationship between body mass and relative investment in testes mass in amniotes and other vertebrates Oikos, 118 :903-916 DOI

Herzog SK, Ewing SR, Evans KL, MacCormick A, Valqui T, Bryce R, Kessler M, MacLeod R. 2009. Vocalizations, distribution, and ecology of the cloud-forest screech Owl (Megascops marshalli) Wilson Journal of Ornithology, 121 :240-252 DOI

Macleod R, Clark J, Cresswell W. 2008. The starvation-predation risk trade-off, body mass and population status in the Common Starling Sturnus vulgaris Ibis, 150 :199-208 DOI

Hill DL, Arañibar-Rojas H, MacLeod R. 2008. Wattled Curassows in Bolivia: Abundance, habitat use, and conservation status Journal of Field Ornithology, 79 :345-351 DOI

MacLeod R, MacLeod CD, Learmonth JA, Jepson PD, Reid RJ, Deaville R, Pierce GJ. 2007. Mass-dependent predation risk and lethal dolphin-porpoise interactions Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 274 :2587-2593 DOI Author Url

MacLeod R, Lind J, Clark J, Cresswell W. 2007. Mass regulation in response to predation risk can indicate population declines Ecology Letters, 10 :945-955 DOI Author Url

Macleod R, Gosler AG. 2006. Capture and mass change: perceived predation risk or interrupted foraging? Animal Behaviour, 71 :1081-1087 DOI

MacLeod R, Barnett P, Clark J, Cresswell W. 2006. Mass-dependent predation risk as a mechanism for house sparrow declines? Biology Letters, 2 :43-46 DOI Author Url

Macleod R. 2006. Why does diurnal mass change not appear to affect the flight performance of alarmed birds? Animal Behaviour, 71 :523-530 DOI

Macleod R, Ewing SK, Herzog SK, Bryce R, Evans KL, Maccormick A. 2005. First ornithological inventory and conservation assessment for the yungas forests of the Cordilleras Cocapata and Mosetenes, Cochabamba, Bolivia Bird Conservation International, 15 :361-382 DOI

Macleod R, Gosler AG, Cresswell W. 2005. Diurnal mass gain strategies and perceived predation risk in the great tit Parus major Journal of Animal Ecology, 74 :956-964 DOI

Macleod R, Barnett P, Clark JA, Cresswell W. 2005. Body mass change strategies in blackbirds Turdus merula: The starvation-predation risk trade-off Journal of Animal Ecology, 74 :292-302 DOI

Cresswell W, Hughes M, Mellanby R, Bright S, Catry P, Chaves J, Freile J, Gabela A, Martineau H, Macleod R, Mcphie F, Anderson N, Holt S, Barabas S, Chapel C, Sanchez T. 1999. Densities and habitat preferences of Andean cloud-forest birds in pristine and degraded habitats in north-eastern Ecuador Bird Conservation International, 9 :129-145 DOI

Gastañaga M, Hennessey AB, Macleod R. Rediscovery of Southern Horned Curassow Pauxi unicornis koepckeae in Cerros del Sira, Peru. Cotinga, 28 :63-63 Publisher Url Public Url

Bach L, Bailey D, Harvey E, Macleod R. The MacKinnon Lists Technique: an efficient new method for rapidly assessing biodiversity and species abundance ranks in the marine environment PLoS One, DOI Author Url Public Url

Book

Herzog SK, Terrill RS, Jahn AE, Remsen JV, Maillard OZ, Vidoz JQ, Macleod R, Maccormick A, Garcia-Soliz VH. 2016. Birds of Bolivia Field Guide Asociacion Armonia. Santa Cruz, Bolivia 9789990596182

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