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 species interactions and 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 working to understand how extrinsic (climate change, fisheries, marine renewable energy developments) and intrinsic (density dependence) processes drive the distribution, abundance, behaviour and population dynamics of seabird species.

Brief CV

2023 to day: Group Leader of the Ecological and Socio-Ecological Interactions group in the Biodiversity Science Area at UKCEH, Edinburgh

2010 to date: Animal Ecologist at UKCEH, 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

Langlois Lopez, S., Daunt F, Wilson J, O’Hanlon NJ, Searle KR, Bennett S, Newell MA, Harris MP & L Masden.  2023. Quantifying the impacts of predation by Great Black-backed Gulls Larus marinus on an Atlantic Puffin Fratercula arctica population: implications for conservation management and environmental impact assessments. Marine Environmental Research Volume 188, 105994, ISSN 0141-1136,

Searle KR, CE Regan, MR Perrow, A Butler, A Rindorf, MP Harris, MA Newell, S Wanless & F Daunt. 2023. Effects of a fishery closure and prey abundance on seabird diet and breeding success: implications for strategic fisheries management and seabird conservation. Biological Conservation(281)109990,ISSN:0006-3207, (

Willsteed, E., New, L., Ansong, J., Hin, V., Searle, K.R., & A. Cook. 2023. Advances in cumulative effects assessment and application in marine and coastal management. Cambridge Prisms: Coastal Futures, 1, E18. doi:10.1017/cft.2023.6

Barceló, C., Searle, K.R., Estrada, R., Lucientes, J., Miranda, M., & B. Purse. 2023. The use of path analysis to determine effects of environmental factors on the adult seasonality of Culicoides (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae) vector species in Spain. Bulletin of Entomological Research, 1-10. doi:10.1017/S0007485323000068

Searle KR, SH O’Brien, EL Jones, ASCP Cook, MN Trinder, RM McGregor, C Donovan, A McCluskie, F Daunt & A Butler. 2023. A framework for improving treatment of uncertainty in offshore wind assessments for protected marine birds. ICES Journal of Marine Science 2023;, fsad025,

DA Croll, AA Ellis, J Adams, ASCP Cook, S Garthe, MW Goodale, CS Hall, E Hazen, BS Keitt, EC Kelsey, JB Leirness, DE Lyons, MW McKown, A Potiek, KR Searle, FH Soudijn, RC Rockwood, BR Tershy, M Tinker, EA VanderWerf, KA Williams, L Young & K Zilliacus. 2022. Framework for assessing and mitigating the impacts of offshore wind energy development on marine birds. Biological Conservation 276, 109795.

Broughton RK, KR Searle, LA Walker, ED Potter, MG Pereira, H Carter, D Sleep, DG Noble, A Butler, & AC Johnson. 2022. Long-term trends of second generation anticoagulant rodenticides (SGARs) show widespread contamination of a bird-eating predator, the Eurasian Sparrowhawk (Accipiter nisus) in Britain. Environmental Pollution 314, 120269.

Searle KR, A Butler, JJ Waggitt, PGH Evans, MI Bogdanova, NT Hobbs, F Daunt & S Wanless. 2022. Opposing effects of spatiotemporal variation in resources and temporal variation in climate on density dependent population growth in seabirds. Journal of Animal Ecology 91(12): 2384-2399.

Bennett S, MP Harris, S Wanless, JA Green, MA Newell, KR Searle & F Daunt. 2022. Earlier and more frequent occupation of breeding sites during the non‐breeding season increases breeding success in a colonial seabird. Ecology and Evolution 12 (9), e9213

Searle KR, A Butler, JJ Waggitt, PGH Evans, LR Quinn, MI Bogdanova, TJ Evans, JE Braithwaite & F Daunt. 2022. Potential climate-driven changes to seabird demography: implications for assessments of marine renewable energy development. Marine Ecology Progress Series 690, 185-200

Bennett S, S Wanless, MP Harris, MA Newell, K Searle, & JA Green. 2022. Site‐dependent regulation of breeding success: Evidence for the buffer effect in the common guillemot, a colonially breeding seabird. Journal of Animal Ecology 91 (4), 752-765

Barceló, C.; BV. Purse; R Estrada; J Lucientes; MÁ. Miranda; & K. R. Searle. 2021. Environmental drivers of adult seasonality and abundance of biting midges Culicoides (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae), bluetongue vector species in Spain. Journal of Medical Entomology. Volume 58, Issue 1, January 2021, Pages 350–364,

Donald F, S Green, K Searle, NJ Cunniffe, & BV Purse. 2020. Small scale variability in soil moisture drives infection of vulnerable juniper populations by invasive forest pathogen. Forest Ecology and Management 473, 118324.

Napp, S., A. Allepuz, B. V. Purse, J. Casal, I. Garcia-Bocanegra, L. E. Burgin, and K. R. Searle. 2016. Understanding Spatio-Temporal Variability in the Reproduction Ratio of the Bluetongue (BTV-1) Epidemic in Southern Spain (Andalusia) in 2007 Using Epidemic Trees. Plos One 11.

Young, J. C., K. Searle, A. Butler, P. Simmons, A. D. Watt, and A. Jordan. 2016. The role of trust in the resolution of conservation conflicts. Biological Conservation 195:196-202.

Bessell, P. R., R. A. Robinson, N. Golding, K. R. Searle, I. G. Handel, L. A. Boden, B. V. Purse, and B. M. D. Bronsvoort. 2016. Quantifying the Risk of Introduction of West Nile Virus into Great Britain by Migrating Passerine Birds. Transboundary and Emerging Diseases 63:E347-E359.

Bessell, P. R., K. R. Searle, H. K. Auty, I. G. Handel, B. V. Purse, and B. Bronsvoort. 2016. Assessing the potential for Bluetongue virus 8 to spread and vaccination strategies in Scotland. Scientific Reports 6.

Cauquil, L., T. Hue, J. C. Hurlin, G. Mitchell, K. Searle, P. Skuce, and R. Zadoks. 2016. Prevalence and Sequence-Based Identity of Rumen Fluke in Cattle and Deer in New Caledonia. Plos One 11.

Searle, K. R., M. B. Rice, C. R. Anderson, C. Bishop, and N. T. Hobbs. 2015. Asynchronous vegetation phenology enhances winter body condition of a large mobile herbivore. Oecologia 179:377-391.

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.

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.