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The University of Southampton
EngineeringPostgraduate study

Mr Nick W Synes BSc Mathematics, University of Exeter, MSc Integrated Environmental Studies, University of Southampton

Postgraduate research student

Mr Nick W Synes's photo

Mr Nick W Synes is Postgraduate research student within Engineering and Physical Sciences at the University of Southampton.

Academic Background

I have a BSc in Mathematics (University of Exeter, 2006) and an MSc in Integrated Environmental Studies (University of Southampton, 2009). I began studying for a PhD in 2011; my research is funded by EPSRC. I am researching species distribution models and individual based models to develop an understanding of how intraspecific interactions, species movement and dispersal, and environmental factors lead to the observed patterns of species distributions.


Work history

Between 2009 and 2011 I worked as a field-crew project leader for American Conservation Experience. The work involved leading crews of up to a dozen volunteers on practical conservation projects throughout the southwest USA. Project locations included: the Grand Canyon National Park, Zion NP, Guadalupe Mountains NP, Lake Mead National Recreation Area, Bosque Del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, Bitter Lake NWR, Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument, Wupatki NM, Walnut Canyon NM and Tonto National Forest. Projects generally lasted for 8 days, and involved camping in remote and sometimes backcountry locations. Project tasks included: removal of invasive tree species, revegetation, electric-fishing for fish monitoring studies, fish habitat restoration and development of new trail systems.

Research interests

Phd supervision

Dr Patrick Osborne
Dr Jason Noble

Research projects

I am currently working on a project to improve abundance estimates and create distributional maps for bird species in Castro Verde Special Protection Area, Portugal. This work is in collaboration with researchers at Humboldt University of Berlin and the Instituto Superior de Agronomia, Portugal.

The project uses the distance sampling methodology to improve bird abundance estimates. The dataset for the project comes from two field study periods (in 2006 and 2011), and covers 391 sample points in the Castro Verde region. We use distance data for each bird sighting, as well as habitat covariates, to develop species and habitat specific detection functions. This leads to improved accuracy in the estimates of bird abundance.

The main analyses have been completed, and two papers are being written to disseminate the results. One paper focuses on the abundance estimates for each species, their resulting conservation status and the national importance of Castro Verde for these species. A second paper will illustrate the multiple covariate distance sampling methodology and the use of these analyses to generate distributional maps.

Research group

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Nicholas W. Synes, Osbourne Global Ecology and Biogeography Volume 20, Issue 6, pages 904-914, November 2011

SESG2006 – Computational Science and Engineering in Python.
ENVS2008 – GIS for Environmental Scientists.

Mr Nick W Synes
Engineering, University of Southampton, Highfield, Southampton. SO17 1BJ United Kingdom
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