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Xavier LambinXavier Lambin with Owl

Professor of Ecology

e-mail: x.lambin@abdn.ac.uk

Telephone: +44 (0) 1224 273259

Address: Room 408, Zoology Building, Tillydrone Avenue, Aberdeen, AB24 2TZ, Scotland

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Prof. Lambin has much experience in facilitating multidisciplinary collaborations involving experienced researchers, including with statisticians and practitioners. The key to such collaboration has been a blend of sound ecology, hard-won quality data, formal mathematical tools and the ability to cross discipline boundaries. Thus, an important training goal while working with Prof. Lambin is to become involved in such interdisciplinary collaborations. This is possible thanks to the highly collaborative and productive work climate at the host institution, reflected for instance by the organization of weekly learning groups and the excellent scientific output of the group.

Prof. Lambin is a member of NERC peer Review College, a member of ERA-NET Biodiversa 2 expert panel and regularly joins grant review panels for different countries. He is presently associated editor for Acta Oecologica, and previously served as associated editor for Ecology Letters, Wildlife Biology and Mammal Review. He has been awarded a prestigious Leverhulme research fellowship in 2011 and the MacLagan Travel grant of the Royal society of Edinburgh. He chaired the Ecology group during 5 years and convened the master program in Ecology and Environmental Sustainability.

He is author of >92 peer-reviewed ISI-listed papers (publications), and 8 book chapters, cited >2138 times, h-factor: 25. He supervised 21 PhD students and 11 postdoctoral fellows who then moved to permanent academic positions. The Population Dynamics Research Group, headed by Prof. Lambin, is one of the leading teams in Europe research in the fields of population dynamics, behavioural ecology, genetics and conservation of several vertebrate species. The team presently includes 3 postdocs, 3 PhDs, one technician and 5 Masters or undergraduate project students. Prof Lambin is the founder of the mink project that forms the backbone of this project. He has excellent relationship with users of natural resources.

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Research Interests

Xavier Lambin is an internationally recognised ecologist who has made a number of significant contributions to the understanding of processes and patterns underlying the dynamics of animal populations. A large component of his work has focussed on cyclic populations, which are an important and enduring theme in population ecology. Specifically:

1. X. Lambin was the first to suggest that there maybe a positive feedback between past and future success in species regulated by social factors (Lambin & Krebs 1991). This results from the formation of family groups in growing populations and their angry lemmingmembers experiencing reduced competition for space and higher survival, in comparison with declining populations. Population models demonstrated how impact of relatedness between individuals on demographic traits could lead to destabilising time delays in the social regulation of populations. He provided empirical support for the assumptions and predictions of this hypothesis using experiments with small mammals, focussing on the dynamics of matrilines (Lambin & Krebs 1993, Lambin & Yoccoz 1998), and also in long term descriptive studies with red grouse, considering how the dynamics of patrilines influence competition for space (e.g. Piertney, Lambin et al 2008).

2. X. Lambin has made substantial empirical advances in our understanding of the processes that may cause population cycles in small mammals. The hallmark of his work in this area is a strictly hypothetico-deductive approach based on large scale empirical work, which has attracted widespread international commendation. Specifically, Lambin performed a series of detailed population level experiments to field vole eating grassinvestigate the possibility that the cycles in field voles in Kielder Forest (Scotland-England border) are caused by specialist predators (Graham & Lambin, 2002; Lambin & Graham, 2003). His results argued strongly against this mechanism, which had previously been the standard hypothesis (despite a lack of empirical evidence). This work opened the door to alternative hypotheses, and Lambin has been at the forefront of investigating these. In particular, he has exploited the asynchrony that is known (from his previous work) to exist in the vole populations, to construct a program of field experiments that have shown that direct environmental effects and not intrinsic individual factors (physiological state, genetic or maternal effects) are the key regulators of life history parameters (Ergon et al. 2001a,b) a strong rejection of hypotheses involving intrinsic mechanisms in such cyclic populations. A comprehensive understanding of the causes of population cycles in small mammal populations remains unclear, but the solution of this long-standing ecological puzzle now seems within reach, due in large part to the work of Lambin and his team.

3. Lambin, X. et al. (1998) a study of spatial dynamics in field voles provided one of the first demonstrations of robust travelling waves in animal populations, and his follow-up work refined these predictions, providing a remarkable level of quantitative detail (MacKinnon et al. 2001). In combination with novel statistical developments (Bjornstad et al. 1999), this established that model predictions of complex spatial patterns in natural enemy/host systems are much more than a mathematical curiosity, providing long awaited support for a key aspect of the theory on trophic interactions in space. His work in this area is absolutely fundamental to the recent, rapid expansion in the understanding of spatiotemporal dynamics in ecology. Since 1997, Lambin has led the collection of data on cyclic field voles in Kielder Forest (Scotland-England border), which is now one of the world’s most comprehensive spatiotemporal data sets for rodent populations.water vole

4. X. Lambin has made major contributions to the understanding of the dynamics of pathogens in natural populations. He has collected and analysed unique data, and has explored theoretically the interactions between seasonality in reproduction and empirically, the impact on host reproduction and survival of pathogens such as vole tuberculosis, cowpox, and blood parasites (Cavannagh et al 2004, Burthe et al 2007; 2008). In particular, this work provided crucial field evidence of delayed density dependence in zoonotic diseases.

5. X. Lambin’s work on dispersal has provided one of the clearest demonstrations to date of the dual impact of inbreeding avoidance and local competition on individual dispersal decisions. As such, it has been highly significant in clarifying the drivers that underpin this key demographic process (Lambin 1994; Lambin et al 2001).

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Research Grants

2011 - Maclagan Travel Grant. Royal Society of Edinburgh

2008 - Limits of life history adaptation to environmental changes with tawny owls. NERC

2008 - Plant herbivore interaction and silica induction by grazing NERC

2008 - Interacting impacts of land use and climate changes on ecosystem processes: from cyclic herbivores to predators of conservation concern. NERC

2007-2009 Overcoming the compensatory response of an invasive predator NERC partnership grant (PDRA Dr Matt Oliver)

2007-2008 Reproductive Strategies in a cyclic environment. with Dr Alex Millon (PDRA) and Steve Petty. NERC

2007-2009. The Cairngorms Water vole conservation project. With Cairngorms National Park authority and SNH. (Project Manager Dr Rosalyn Bryce, Project Officers: Llinos Davies, Helen Gray) www.scotishmink.org.uk The Tubney Charitable Trust

2005-2008 -Talisman Energy, Mammal_Trust UK Community based water vole conservation project officer Jamie Urquhart). SNHred grouse

2004-2007The dynamics of, and risks posed by, concomitantzoonotic infections in their wildlife reservoirs with Profs Mike Begon, Malcolm Bennet, Steve Patterson , PDRA Dr Sandra Telfer Dr Sarah Burthe. The Wellcome Trust

2003-2007Predicting Population Dynamics in a Changing Environment with Prof W Sutherland, Prof T Benton, Prof D Elston, PDRA Thomas Cornulier. UK-POPNET/NERC

2003-2006. Predicting Andes Hanta virus risk to human on southern Chile using parameterised demographic model of rodent reservoir populations and spatio-temporal mapping of seed abundance. with Roberto Murua. The Wellcome Trust

2003-2006. Transmission dynamics and diversity of Anaplasma phagocytophila in a natural multi-host/multi-vector system in the UK. with Richard Birtles, Kevin Bown, Nick Ogden. The Wellcome Trust

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Lambin jointly held grants, co-authored publications, or joint students with: i) University of Valladolid; ii) University of Oslo; iii) University of Tromso; iv) The Centred Etudes Biologiques de Chizé; v) Universite Pierre et Marie Curie; vi) Polish Academy of Science; vii)Universitad Austral de Chile; viii) CSIRO-Australia; ix) The UKPopNet consortium; x) University of St Andrews; xi) Biomathematics and Statistics Scotland; xii) University of Oxford.

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Recent Publications

  1. Lambin X, Le Bouille D; Oliver MK; Sutherland C; Tedesco E & Alex Douglas (2011) High connectivity despite high fragmentation: smart iterated dispersal in a vertebrate metapopulation “Informed Dispersal and Spatial Evolutionary Ecology”. Eds Clobert J,Baguette M, Benton, TG, Bullock J. Oxford University Press. Request it
  1. Jayakody, S., A. M. Sibbald, R. W.Mayes, R. J. Hooper, I. J. Gordon, and X. Lambin. 2011. Effects of human disturbance on the diet composition of wild red deer (Cervus elaphus). European Journal of Wildlife Research 57:939-948. Request it
  1. Millon A, SJ. Petty, B Little & X Lambin (2011) Natal conditions alter age-specific reproduction but not survival or senescence in a long-lived bird of prey Journal of Animal Ecology, 80, 968-975 doi: Request it
  1. Cornulier, T., R. A. Robinson, D. Elston, X. Lambin, W. J. Sutherland, and T. G. Benton. (2011) Bayesian reconstitution of environmental change from disparate historical records: hedgerow loss and farmland bird declines. Methods in Ecology and Evolution 2:86-94. Request it
  1. Telfer, S., X. Lambin, R. Birtles, P. Beldomenico, S. Burthe, S. Paterson, and M. Begon. (2011) Microbe Interactions Undermine Predictions Response. Science 331. 6014. Request it
  1. Bown KJ, X Lambin, G Telford, D Heyder-Bruckner, NH. Ogden, & R J. Birtles (2011) The common shrew (Sorex araneus): a neglected host of tick-borne infections? Vector-Borne and Zoonotic Diseases, 11, 947-953. Request it
  1. Bryce, R; Oliver, MK; Davies, L; Gray, H; Urquhart, J and X Lambin (2011) Turning back the tide of American mink invasion at an unprecedented scale through community participation and adaptive management. Biological Conservation. 144 (2011) 575-583 doi:10.1016/j.biocon.2010.10.013. Request it
  1. Ergon, T., Ergon, R., Begon, M., Telfer, S. & Lambin, X. (2011) Delayed density-dependent onset of spring reproduction in a fluctuating population of field voles. Oikos, 120, 934-940. 10.1111/j.1600-0706.2010.18983.x. Request it
  1. Evely, A.C., I Fazey, X. Lambin, E. Lambert, S. Allen, and M. Pinard (2010) Defining and Evaluating the impact of cross-disciplinary conservation research. Environmental Conservation, 37:442-450 Request it
  1. Burthe, S. J., X. Lambin, S. Telfer, A. Douglas, P. Beldomenico, A. Smith, and M. Begon. (2010). Individual growth rates in natural field vole, Microtus agrestis, populations exhibiting cyclic population dynamics. Oecologia 162:653-661. Request it
  1. Millon, A., Petty, S. J. & Lambin, X. (2010) Pulsed resources affect the timing of first breeding and lifetime reproductive success of tawny owls. Journal of Animal Ecology, 79, 426-435. Request it
  1. Telfer, S., Lambin, X., Birtles, R., Beldomenico, P., Burthe, S., Paterson, S. & Begon, M. (2010) Species Interactions in a Parasite Community Drive Infection Risk in a Wildlife Population. Science, 330, 243-246. Request it

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