Principal Research Officer, Ecosystem Health & Social Dimensions

About me

My life-long fascination with the natural world and how we interact with it led me to undertake a degree in Geography at the University of Southampton. Enjoying the sciences and the arts in equal measure, the course enabled me to indulge in a variety of disciplines from social science to oceanography. I was fortunate enough to have opportunities to study the impacts of tourism on short-finned pilot whales in the Canary Islands and the behaviour of scarlet macaws in the Amazon. Observing these spectacular animals and witnessing the destruction of their homes encouraged me to embark on a career in conservation. My PhD with the University of Exeter and WWT used inter-disciplinary methods from ecology, the social sciences and psychology to understand the biological effects and human conflict relating to lead poisoning and illegal hunting of migratory waterbirds.


Using inter-disciplinary approaches and methods, I examine complex issues affecting wetland wildlife globally and design and implement appropriate solutions. Most recently, this has involved research, advocacy, community and policy work for threats such as lead poisoning and illegal hunting that affect populations of conservation concern. I engage with a range of stakeholders to bridge research, policy and public platforms and use social research to understand the human dimension of conservation issues in efforts to identify solutions for conservation conflicts. My involvement in WWT’s swan studies has given me opportunities to participate in and organise numerous international field work expeditions to study migratory swans in the Russian Arctic and Iceland. My work also involves promoting the importance of wetlands and their wildlife in national and international media and using other creative influencing tools. In 2016, I helped maximise the conservation benefits of Flight of the Swans by supporting and co-ordinating more than 40 conservation activities across 11 countries.


  • Data analysis using approaches and methods from ecology, the social sciences and psychology. Proficient in R and other statistical packages.
  • Project management from project conception to completion, including design, planning, implementation, budget management, risk management, contractual agreements and reporting.
  • Stakeholder/community engagement and participatory techniques.
  • Communication to a variety of audiences (academics, policy makers, communities and the general public). Previous platforms include the Royal Geographic Society, the European Parliament, the Council of Europe, the Arctic Biodiversity Congress and community group meetings.
  • Media trained and frequent interviewee - I’m always happy to shout about our work! Previous interviews include Radio 4’s Today Programme and Saturday Live, BBC Breakfast and BBC Autumnwatch.
  • Ecological data collection and management involving survey work in remote and demanding locations and managing long-term datasets.

Key publications

Newth, J.L., Wood, K.A., McDonald, R.A., Nuno, A., Semenov, I., Chistyakov, A., Mikhaylova, G., Bearhop, S., Belousova, A., Glazov, P., Cromie, R.L. & Rees, E.C. 2019a. Conservation implications of misidentification and killing of protected species. Conservation Science and Practice, doi: 10.1111/csp2.24

Newth J.L., Lawrence, A., Cromie, R.L., Swift, J.A., Rees, E.C., Wood, K.A., Strong, E.A., Reeves, J. & McDonald, R.A. 2019b. Perspectives of ammunition users on the use of lead ammunition and its potential impacts on wildlife and humans. People and Nature, doi: 10.1002/pan3.30

Newth, J.L., Rees, E.C., Cromie, R.L., McDonald, R.A., Bearhop, S., Pain, D.J., Norton, G.J., Deacon, C., Hilton, G.M. 2016. Widespread exposure to lead affects the body condition of free-living whooper swans Cygnus Cygnus wintering in Britain. Environmental Pollution 209: 60–67.

Newth, J.L., Cromie, R. & Kanstrup, N. 2015. Lead shot in Europe: conflict between hunters and conservationists. In: Redpath, S.M., Gutierrez, R.J., Wood, K.A. & Young, J.C. (eds) Conflicts in Conservation: Navigating towards solutions. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp. 177–179.

Newth, J.L., Cromie, R.L., Brown, M.J., Delahay, R.J., Meharg A.A., Deacon, C., Norton, G. J., O’Brien, M.F. & Pain, D.J. 2012. Poisoning from lead gunshot: still a threat to wild waterbirds in Britain. European Journal of Wildlife Research 59: 195–204.

Newth, J.L., Brown, M.J. & Rees, E.C. 2011. Incident of embedded shotgun pellets in Bewick’s Swans Cygnus columbianus bewickii and Whooper Swans Cygnus cygnus wintering in the UK. Biological Conservation 144: 1630–1637.

See my profile on ResearchGate for my full publication list.