Masters Student (MRes)
Institute of Science & the Environment
Thesis title: “The use of solar farms by birds”.
BSc Animal Biology (Hons) University of Worcester, 2013.
In the UK, the ecological impacts of solar farms have rarely been investigated due to it being a fairly new approach to generating renewable energy. The management of solar farms is usually highly intensive, involving frequent cutting between rows of panels, and the use of herbicides beneath. Given that agricultural land is taken out of production for up to 20 years, it is important to study the effects of solar farms on biodiversity. Potentially, the introduction of solar farms could have a greater impact on wildlife than the preceding agricultural land use. However, to the contrary benefits of solar farms to birds might also be afforded. As a consequence, Rob is investigating the use of UK solar farms by birds and comparing this to the use of neighbouring farmland.
Over a two-year period, in conjunction with the RSPB and the University of Worcester, Rob will investigate whether solar farms might have the potential to contribute towards halting the decline in farmland birds in the UK; for which numbers have dropped by as much as 50% over the past 30 years across Britain and much of Europe.
Shotton, R. (2014) Testing the disturbance hiss of the Madagascar hissing Cockroach (Gromphadorhina portentosa) as an anti-predatory response, Bioscience Horizons: The International Journal of Student Research, 7, hzu010.