About me

I am a research scientist with broad interests in ecology, behaviour and conservation. These interests began with a childhood chasing insects, climbing trees, watching birds and trying to catch fish in the Oxfordshire countryside where I grew up. After an undergraduate degree in Biological Sciences at the University of Bristol, my research career started through a NERC-funded MSc at Queen Mary, University of London. There I worked with Professor Jon Grey and the Environment Agency to investigate the effects of invasive crayfish on native fish in UK rivers. Continuing my interest in rivers, I completed a NERC-funded PhD on Mute Swan foraging ecology, supervised by Dr Matthew O’Hare (Centre for Ecology & Hydrology). I then spent over two years as a postdoc in Professor Richard Stillman’s Individual-based Ecology group at Bournemouth University, developing individual-based models to inform the conservation of wildfowl and wader populations. I joined WWT in 2014 as Principal Research Officer to investigate the causes of population decline in the Bewick's Swan, and am now a permanent member of the Conservation Science team.

Work

As part of WWT’s Conservation Science team, I’m involved in a wide range of research projects that provide the evidence needed to inform the conservation actions of WWT and our partners. I work extensively with WWT’s long-term data on the numbers and demography of wildfowl, including species such as the Bewick’s Swan and Common Pochard. My research aims to identify and understand changes in wildfowl numbers in terms of the demographic causes (e.g. changes in productivity or survival rates), as well as the environmental drivers responsible for these changes. Since 2017 I have been a member of the Editorial Advisory Board of the journal Aquatic Botany. I am also Chair of the scientific committee for the 6th International Swan Symposium.

Skills

I am involved in every stage of the research projects that I work on, from planning, data collection, lab work, data analyses, as well as communicating the findings. I can often be found out in the field counting birds and measuring their behaviour. I also have experience undertaking surveys of aquatic plant abundance. Proficient in R, I carry out a wide range of statistical analyses, including linear and non-linear mixed-effects models, meta-analyses, and moving average models. I use capture-mark-recovery methods to estimate wildfowl survival rates using the resighting, recapture, and recovery data that WWT and partners collect as part of our long-term monitoring and research programmes. I also develop individual-based models (also known as agent-based models) to understand wildfowl habitat use and to make predictions about the impacts of future perturbations such as food loss or increased disturbance.

Publications

For full list see my Google Scholar profile

Wood, K.A., Brown, M.J., Cromie, R.L., Hilton, G.M., Mackenzie, C., Newth, J.L., Pain, D.J., Perrins, C.M. & Rees, E.C. (2019). Regulation of lead fishing weights results in mute swan population recovery. Biological Conservation, 320, 67-74.

Wood, K.A., Stillman, R.A. & Hilton, G.M. (2018). Conservation in a changing world needs predictive models. Animal Conservation, 21, 87-88.

Wood, K.A., Nuijten, R.J., Newth, J.L., Haitjema, T., Vangeluwe, D., Ioannidis, P., Harrison, A.L., Mackenzie, C., Hilton, G.M., Nolet, B.A. & Rees, E. C. (2018). Apparent survival of an Arctic‐breeding migratory bird over 44 years of fluctuating population size. Ibis, 160, 413-430.

Brides, K., Wood, K.A., Hearn, R. & Fijen, T. P. (2017). Changes in the sex ratio of the Common Pochard Aythya ferina in Europe and North Africa. Wildfowl, 67, 100-112.

Wood, K.A., O’Hare, M.T., McDonald, C., Searle, K.R., Daunt, F. & Stillman, R.A. (2017). Herbivore regulation of plant abundance in aquatic ecosystems. Biological Reviews, 92, 1128-1141.

Wood, K.A., Ponting, J., D'Costa, N., Newth, J.L., Rose, P.E., Glazov, P. & Rees, E.C. (2017). Understanding intrinsic and extrinsic drivers of aggressive behaviour in waterbird assemblages: a meta-analysis. Animal Behaviour, 126, 209-216.

Bakker, E.S., Wood, K.A., Pagès, J.F., Veen, G.C., Christianen, M.J., Santamaría, L., Nolet, B.A. & Hilt, S. (2016). Herbivory on freshwater and marine macrophytes: a review and perspective. Aquatic Botany, 135, 18-36.

Wood, K.A., Newth, J.L., Hilton, G.M., Nolet, B.A. & Rees, E.C. (2016). Inter-annual variability and long-term trends in breeding success in a declining population of migratory swans. Journal of Avian Biology, 47, 597-609.

Wood, K.A., Stillman, R.A. & Goss-Custard, J.D. (2015). Co-creation of individual-based models by practitioners and modellers to inform environmental decision-making. Journal of Applied Ecology, 85, 810-815.

Redpath, S.M., Gutierrez, R.J., Wood, K.A. & Young, J.C. (2015). Conflicts in Conservation: Navigating towards solutions. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK.

Wood, K.A., Stillman, R.A., Wheeler, D., Groves, S., Hambly, C., Speakman, J.R., Daunt, F. & O’Hare, M.T. (2013). Go with the flow: water velocity regulates herbivore foraging decisions in river catchments. Oikos, 122, 1720-1729.