I am interested in the mechanisms underlying animal movement and distributions, in particular, the movement of flying animals. The costs of flight are modulated by the physical environment, namely the weather, the landscape and the nature of the interactions between them. I use animal-attached technology to investigate how these factors affect the costs and patterns of avian movement and combine this with models to explore the ecological consequences of movement. Animal-attached loggers can now provide us with unprecedented information about wild animal behaviour, including its flexibility and costs, and I believe these data can play a vital role in the formulation of strategies for effective species-based conservation.

Tel: +44 (0)1792 604001

Areas of Expertise

  • Movement ecology
  • Biotelemetry
  • Flight
  • Aeroecology
  • Energetics

Publications

  1. Sankey, D., Shepard, E., Biro, D., Portugal, S. Speed consensus and the ‘Goldilocks principle’ in flocking birds (Columba livia) Animal Behaviour 157 105 119
  2. Spelt, A., Williamson, C., Shamoun-Baranes, J., Shepard, E., Rock, P., Windsor, S. Habitat use of urban-nesting lesser black-backed gulls during the breeding season Scientific Reports 9 1
  3. Shepard, E., Cole, E., Neate, A., Lempidakis, E., Ross, A. Wind prevents cliff-breeding birds from accessing nests through loss of flight control eLife 8
  4. Williams, H., King, A., Duriez, O., Börger, L., Shepard, E., Borger, L. Social eavesdropping allows for a more risky gliding strategy by thermal-soaring birds Journal of The Royal Society Interface 15 148 20180578
  5. Williams, H., Duriez, O., Holton, M., Dell'Omo, G., Wilson, R., Shepard, E. Vultures respond to challenges of near-ground thermal soaring by varying bank angle The Journal of Experimental Biology jeb.174995

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Teaching

  • BIO325 Physics for Biologists

    This module will examine how physics governs much of what we observe in the way vertebrates are built and how they react according to circumstance. It will become apparent that comprehension of physics is key to enhanced analysis, synthesis and evaluation of much of vertebrate biology.

Supervision

  • Cataloging the behaviours of the Asian Houbara with a view for its conservation (current)

    Student name:
    MRes
    Other supervisor: Prof Rory Wilson
  • Using tri-axial accelerometry to investigate inter-individual differences in courtship display effort: an example in the male Indian Peafowl (Pavo cristatus) (current)

    Student name:
    MRes
    Other supervisor: Dr Kayleigh Rose
  • Multi-species space use by marine predators: defining biodiversity ‘hotspots’ in the marine realm (current)

    Student name:
    PhD
    Other supervisor: Dr James Bull
  • How does the weather influence bird flight energy expenditure? Disentangling habitat, behaviour and flight style. (current)

    Student name:
    PhD
    Other supervisor: Prof Luca Borger
  • Circles within spirals, wheels within wheels; Body rotation facilitates critical insights into animal behavioural ecology (current)

    Student name:
    PhD
    Other supervisor: Prof Rory Wilson
  • Characterizing the aerial habitat for bird flight. (current)

    Student name:
    PhD
    Other supervisor: Prof Adrian Luckman
  • A new approach for saving the ploughshare tortoise (Astrochelys yniphora); smart tags that talk back. (current)

    Student name:
    MRes
    Other supervisor: Prof Rory Wilson
  • Pathways of Introduction and Spread of Invasive Alien Species (AIS) in freshwater ecosystems. (awarded 2019)

    Student name:
    PhD
    Other supervisor: Prof Sofia Consuegra Del Olmo
    Other supervisor: Prof Carlos Garcia De Leaniz
  • Camouflage during pursuit (awarded 2019)

    Student name:
    MRes
    Other supervisor: Dr William Allen
  • 'The foraging ecology of red-tailed tropicbirds' (awarded 2018)

    Student name:
    MRes
    Other supervisor: Prof Rory Wilson
  • Towards a predicitive framework for assessing physical tag detriment in birds (awarded 2018)

    Student name:
    MRes
    Other supervisor: Prof Rory Wilson
  • 'An investigation into a new metric for stress' (awarded 2018)

    Student name:
    MRes
    Other supervisor: Prof Rory Wilson
  • A new perspective on angling; smart tag monitoring of angler and fish behaviour (awarded 2018)

    Student name:
    MRes
    Other supervisor: Prof Rory Wilson
  • Early Detection and Establishment Assessment of Aquatic Invasive Species (awarded 2018)

    Student name:
    PhD
    Other supervisor: Prof Carlos Garcia De Leaniz
    Other supervisor: Prof Sofia Consuegra Del Olmo
  • The genetic basis of disease resistance in wild and farmed fish populations under the pressures of inbreeding (awarded 2018)

    Student name:
    PhD
    Other supervisor: Prof Carlos Garcia De Leaniz
    Other supervisor: Prof Sofia Consuegra Del Olmo
  • 'Life in the slow lane: The sloth niche, divine or dangerous?' (awarded 2018)

    Student name:
    PhD
    Other supervisor: Prof Luca Borger
    Other supervisor: Prof Rory Wilson
  • 'Can vulture distributions be predicted according to their body size, and the environmental parameters they currently operate in?' (awarded 2017)

    Student name:
    MRes
    Other supervisor: Prof Luca Borger
  • 'Soaring behaviour in A Social Scavenger: Insights from Bio-logging' (awarded 2017)

    Student name:
    PhD
    Other supervisor: Dr Andrew King
  • 'Understanding baboon behavioural ecology in a human altered landscape' (awarded 2017)

    Student name:
    PhD
    Other supervisor: Dr Andrew King
  • 'AUKWARD LANDINGS: How do flight characteristics and wind conditions affect nest site selection of auks?' (awarded 2017)

    Student name:
    MRes
    Other supervisor: Prof Rory Wilson

Key Grants and Projects

Research Groups

  • Swansea Lab for Animal Movement

    We research animal movement in its broadest sense, using individual-based approaches to examine the role of the environment in structuring the properties of animal movements and ultimately, distributions. We specialise in obtaining data using novel technologies which allow us to access information from particularly intractable species.