Name: Tom Bradfer-Lawrence

Project Title: The maintenance of tropical bird communities in human-modified landscapes

Cohort: 2015/16

Institution: University of Stirling




Prior to beginning my PhD, I was employed in the conservation sector for several years, both in Scotland and overseas. Although I have worked with a range of taxa, the overarching research theme has been one of seeking opportunities to balance human needs with wildlife conservation. 


Research Project

Over the last century much of the tropical forest biome has been converted to complex human-modified landscapes composed of degraded primary forest fragments, secondary forest, pasture and agricultural land. In contrast, less than 10% of the tropical forest biome is protected within strict reserves. Consequently, the long-term conservation of tropical forest biodiversity is increasingly dependent on whether human-modified landscapes can support viable populations of primary forest species, and the extent to which landscape dynamics alter key species interactions, such as seed dispersal. Species respond very differently to disturbance and this response tends to be mediated by life-history and morphological traits. This project is based on a disturbance gradient in central Panama, across a range land cover types.


Publications/Conference talks/Posters:



Bradfer-Lawrence, T., Gardner, N. & Dent, D. (in review). Bird community development in the canopy and understorey of Neotropical secondary forest.

Bradfer-Lawrence, T. & Rao, S. (2013). Counts of Dotterel and Ptarmigan on the Beinn a’ Bhuird plateau, Cairngorms between 2003 and 2012. Scottish Birds, 33 (3), 195 – 205.

Bradfer-Lawrence, T. & Rao, S. (2013). Living with fire; recovery by mature Scots pine from fire scorch. Scottish Forestry, 67 (1), 23 – 25.

Bradfer-Lawrence, T. & Rao, S. (2012). Deadwood fencing used to protect broadleaved trees from deer browsing in the Cairngorms, Scotland. Conservation Evidence, 9, 72 – 78.

Bradfer-Lawrence, T. & McCann, R. (2012). Wanted dead and alive; deadwood in the Caledonian pinewood. Scottish Forestry, 66 (1), 12 – 17.



Bradfer-Lawrence, T. & Dent, D.H. (2016). Bird community development in the canopy and understorey of Neotropical secondary forest.

International Canopy Conference, University of Roehampton, 23rd August 2016.

Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation, Montpellier, 22nd June 2016

Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute Annual Fellows’ Symposium, Panama, 19th February 2016.

Bradfer-Lawrence, T. & Dent, D.H. (2015). The Development of Bird Communities in Secondary Tropical Forest Canopies.

British Ecological Society’s Tropical Ecology Group Meeting, University of Stirling, 4th September 2015.

Bradfer-Lawrence, T., Page, R. & Dent, D.H. (2015). The rates of avian community development in forest canopy and understorey. Poster presentation at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute Annual Fellows’ Symposium, Panama, 27th March 2015.


Get in touch:


Twitter: @_EcologyTom

Department webpage:

Lab group webpage