The African Forest Ecology Group
Dr Kate Abernethy (Group Leader)
Dr Abernethy received her PhD from the University of Edinburgh in 1994 on the introduction of Sika deer to Scotland. She went to Gabon in 1993 as a postdoctoral researcher and became Director of the Station d’Etudes des Gorilles et Chimpanzés (SEGC) in Lopé National Park, in 2000, a post she held until 2007. She spent several years studying ape ecology before pioneering research into the ecology of mandrills and supervising several PhDs on large mammal ecology and conservation. Dr Abernethy then went on to establish many of the Wildlife Conservation Society’s activities in Lopé including the CEDAMM training centre, a community outreach project, an Eco-museum and a mandrill tourism project. She has influenced environmental policy through several high-profile projects, including The National Strategy for Bushmeat Management in Gabon. She is also a successful botanical artist and her work is widely published. Dr Abernethy is now a Senior Research Fellow at the University of Stirling, a member of the IUCN Species Survival Commission and an Associate Researcher for the National Centre for Research in Science and Technology in Gabon (CENAREST).
Professor Lee White
Professor White first went to Lopé in 1989 to carry out his PhD on the effects of vegetation history and logging on rainforest mammals with the University of Edinburgh. He went on to a post doc on vegetation history in Lope, setting up botanical plots to describe and monitor change in the vegetation of the region, before founding the WCS-Gabon programme, writing several technicql books on African Forest conservation, developing training programmes for national and international students and playing a key role in the creation of Gabon’s national parks. Prof White directed the Wildlife Conservation Society programme in Gabon until 2007 and in 2009 became head of the National Parks Agency in Gabon (ANPN), responsible for a network of 13 National Parks. He is also technical director of the Gabonese Government’s Climate Change Task Force. He is an Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Stirling and is a prominent conservationist in Africa.
Dr Fiona Maisels
Dr Maisels received her PhD in 1989 from Edinburgh University on the feeding ecology of mouflon in Cyprus and has worked in Central Africa for over 20 years. She is now the Coordinator for the Wildlife Conservation Society’s wildlife monitoring Programmes in The Congo Basin and one of Central Africa’s most experienced conservationists. Her expertise covers survey methodologies, wildlife abundance and distribution, wildlife ecology and protected area management. She has trained hundreds of wildlife biologists and runs one of the most esteemed training courses in Central Africa. Dr Maisels is on the Scientific Commission of GRASP, is a member of the IUCN/SSC Primate Specialist Group and is an Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Stirling.
Dr Caroline Tutin
In the 1970’s Caroline carried out PhD research on chimpanzee ecology and behaviour at Gombe, Tanzania, and in Senegal. In 1982 she completed the first national census of great apes in Gabon with her husband Michel Fernandez. They went on to found the SEGC research station in Lopé National Park, where she was Director from 1983-2000. She pioneered research into the ecology and behaviour of great apes in Western Central Africa, and developed novel census techniques for the region. Her contribution to science made SEGC an internationally recognized site of research excellence and she is one of the world’s foremost primatologists. Caroline is a member of the IUCN-SSC Primate Specialist Group and the Great Ape Advisory Panel and she has advised governments, international agencies and non-governmental organisations on conservation policy. She is an honorary Research Fellow at the University of Stirling.
Dr Kathryn Jeffery
Dr Jeffery obtained her PhD from Cardiff University in 2003 on the socio-genetics of the gorilla community in Gabon, adopting a forensic approach to genetically track wild apes following a period working for the Forensic Science Service in London. She went on to direct the Wildlife Conservation Society’s training centre (CEDAMM) in Lopé National Park for 2 years, where she developed and ran a number of training courses for Gabonese undergraduates. She then directed the SEGC research station for 4 years and oversaw a multidisciplinary research programme focussing on carbon storage and climate change, great ape health and genetics, invasive species ecology and fire ecology. Dr Jeffery is now Scientific Advisor for the National Parks Agency in Gabon (ANPN) and an Associate Researcher for the National Centre for Research in Science and Technology in Gabon (CENAREST). She is a Postdoctoral Researcher at the University of Stirling.
Prof Alistair Jump
Professor Jump gained his PhD on plant biogeography and population genetics from the University of Sheffield and 2003. He is an ecologist with a strong focus on investigating the impacts of environmental change at a wide variety of spatial and temporal scales. His research spans from assessment of the effects of climate change on the growth and diversity of forest trees to shifts in biome distribution and how past environmental change and present population distribution shapes the genetic structure of populations. His work spans both theoretical and applied aspects of ecology, including policy relevant research on habitat restoration and conservation prioritisation. Professor Jump's research has encompassed work in temperate, mediterranean, boreal, alpine and tropical regions including research into demography, community ecology and phylogeography in tropical forest systems in Asia and Africa.
Dr Daisy Dent
Dr Nils Bunnefeld
Dr Bunnefeld received his PhD from Imperial College London in 2008 on the effect of hunting on red grouse population dynamics. He is a conservation scientist focusing on developing approaches for the sustainability of social-ecological systems. Using both empirical data and modelling, Dr Bunnefeld investigates the interaction between human decision-making and the dynamics of ecological processes in space and time. In order to do this he integrates ecological, social and economic data and theory to assist conservation and management of natural resources. Dr Bunnefeld’s work includes research in the UK, Scandinavia, Ethiopia and Tanzania.