Professional summary

Research Interests

My research focuses on the effects of environmental change on wildlife behaviour, populations and distributions. By combining contemporary ecological techniques with an understanding of resource-consumer dynamics in heterogeneous environments, I aim to gain mechanistic, process-driven understanding of ecological systems through both statistical modelling and more applied, management-orientated experiments. I am particularly interested in methods for scaling up from the mechanisms underlying individual behaviour of wildlife to understand and predict population and ecosystem level consequences in rapidly changing, complex environments.

Currently, I am using large-scale datasets to explain and predict impacts of environmental change on biodiversity. We are working to model vector borne-disease systems for plant and animal pathogens (Phytophthora; bluetongue virus). I am also working to understand the consequences of offshore renewable energy developments on seabird populations, as well as how extrinsic and intrinsic processes drive the distribution, abundance and population dynamics of seabird species in UK waters.

Brief CV

2010 to date: Ecological modeller at CEH, Edinburgh.

2007-2009: Post-doctoral research (Natural Resource and Ecology Lab, Colorado State University). Research into the effects of fragmentation on consumer-resource dynamics in environments varying in space and time. Also, collaborative research with Colorado Division of Wildlife using remote-sensing to predict diet quality and body condition of mule deer in western Colorado in response to temporal and spatial variation in plant phenology and climate. Also worked with USGS Ecosystem Dynamics Group to develop a hierarchical Bayesian analysis of the population dynamics of the San Luis Valley bison herd.

2005-2007: Post-doctoral research at CSIRO, Sustainable Ecosystems Division. Conducted research on the impact of cattle grazing on spatial patterns of vegetation and soil components in grazed semi-arid rangelands, with implications for ecosystem function and integrity. Additional research on the influence of variation in predation risk and food resources on the foraging behaviour of small mammals.

2000-2004: PhD (Colorado State University, National Science Foundation funding) on the role of spatial heterogeneity in foraging decisions of large herbivores.

1995-1999: BSc First Class in Ecology, University of East Anglia.


Selected publications

Searle, K. R., C. Anderson, C. Bishop, N. T. Hobbs, M. B. Rice. Asynchronous vegetation phenology enhances winter body condition of Mule Deer (Odocoileus hemionus). Oecologia, in press.

Searle, K.R., Butler, A., Mobbs, D., Bogdanova, M., Freeman, S., Wanless, S., Bolton, M., & Daunt, F. 2015. At-sea turnover of breeding seabirds (MSQ-0103). Report to Marine Science Scotland.

Searle, K. R., Simon Carpenter, Adam Butler, Anthony Wilson, James Barber, Francesca Stubbins, Eric Denison, Christopher Sanders, Philip Mellor, Noel Nelson, Simon Gubbins, & Bethan V. Purse. 2014. Drivers of Culicoidesphenology: how important is species-specific variation in determining disease policy? PLOS One, November 11, 2014, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0111876.

Paul. R. Bessell, Harriet K. Auty, Kate R. Searle, , Ian G. Handel, Bethan V. Purse & B. Mark de Bronsvoort. 2014. Impact of temperature, feeding preference and vaccination on Schmallenberg virus transmission in Scotland. Nature: Scientific Reports 4(5746) DOI: 10.1038/srep05746

Searle, K.R., Mobbs, D., Butler, A., Bogdanova, M., Freeman, S., Wanless, S. & Daunt, F. 2013. Population Consequences of Displacement from Proposed Offshore Wind Energy Developments for Seabirds Breeding at Scottish SPAs (CR/2012/03). Report to Marine Science Scotland.

Paul R. Bessell, Kate R. Searle, Harriet K. Auty, Ian G. Handel, Bethan V. Purse & B. Mark de Bronsvoort. 2013. Epidemic potential of an emerging vectorborne disease in a marginal environment: Schmallenberg in Scotland. Nature: Scientific Reports 3(1178)1-10 DOI: 10.1038/srep01178.

Young, J.C., A Jordan; K. R. Searle; A Butler; P Simmons; A D. Watt. 2013. Framing scale in participatory biodiversity management may contribute to more sustainable solutions.Conservation Letters 6-5:333-340.

Young, J. C., A. Jordan, K. R. Searle, A. Butler, D. S. Chapman, P. Simmons and A. D. Watt. 2013. Does stakeholder involvement really benefit biodiversity conservation?Biological Conservation 158(2013): 359-370.

Searle, K. R., B. V. Purse, A. Blackwell, D. Falconer, M. Sullivan and A. Butler. 2013. Environmental drivers of insect phenology across space and time: Culicoides in Scotland as a case study. Bulletin of Entomological Research, 103:155-170.

Burthe, S., Butler, A., Searle, K. R., Hall, S., Thackeray, S., and S. Wanless. 2012. Consequences of increased winter births in a large aseasonally breeding mammal (Bos taurus) in response to climate change. Journal of Animal Ecology 80(6):1134-1144. DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2656.2011.01865.x

Searle, K. R., N. T. Hobbs, and S. T. Jaronski. 2010. Asynchrony, fragmentation, and scale determine benefits of landscape heterogeneity to mobile herbivores. Oecologia 163:815-824.

Searle, K. R., I. J. Gordon, and C. J. Stokes. 2009. Hysteretic Responses to Grazing in a Semiarid Rangeland. Rangeland Ecology & Management 62:136-144.

Searle, K. R., C. J. Stokes, and I. J. Gordon. 2008. When foraging and fear meet: using foraging hierarchies to inform assessments of landscapes of fear. Behavioral Ecology 19:475-482.

Searle, K. R., N. T. Hobbs, and L. A. Shipley. 2005. Should I stay or should I go? Patch departure decisions by herbivores at multiple scales. Oikos 111:417-424.