Dr Iain Taylor
BSc(Hons), PhD Aberd
PositionSenior Lecturer, Ecology and Ornithology
CampuscampusAlbury / Wodonga
Phone/Faxwork02 6051 9952
- Member of ILWS
Iain is an ecologist specialising in various aspects of vertebrate ecology and behaviour. He graduated with first class honours in Zoology from the University of Aberdeen in 1971 and completed his PhD in 1975 at the Culterty Field Station of the University of Aberdeen. From there he worked in West Africa for three years studying rainforest bird ecology. He then took up a lecturing position at the University of Edinburgh and remained there until 1993 when he moved to Australia. He joined the staff of Charles Sturt University in 1995.
I enjoy many outdoor pursuits such as bush walking, cycling and camping and am shamelessly addicted to travelling. I like to paint when there is inspiration, and spend a lot of time listening to and playing Celtic music, although almost all traditional music is compelling.
Current Subjects Taught
- BIO 129 Environmental Biology.
- BIO 200 Principles of Ecology.
- BIO 432 Ecology and Conservation of Birds.
- BIO 438. Specialist Bird Group 2.
I have supervised 11 Doctoral, 26 Masters and 54 Honours students in a range of topics in vertebrate ecology and conservation.
Most of my research interests are in the general area of predator - prey relationships, particularly involving birds and mammals, and range from the behavioural ecology of individuals to the ecology of populations. I am particularly interested in the question of what limits the densities of predatory species and especially the role of food supply in this. Predatory species are often under threat in one way or another and I try to use the results from empirical studies to help in their conservation. I have focussed my attention particularly on a number of relatively simple predator-prey systems in an attempt to gain a better understanding of relationships and the mechanisms that drive them. For 17 years in Scotland I studied Barn Owl (Tyto alba) populations in areas where their main prey were cyclic Microtine rodents. The study explored the functional and numerical relationships between the owls and their prey. This lead also to an interest in rodent population cycles and especially the phenomenon of spatial synchrony. More recently I have become more involved with aquatic systems and especially relationships between shorebirds and wading birds and their habitats, including prey abundance and the environmental factors that determine the availability of prey. Some of the work concentrates on coastal systems, for example, relationships between Pied Oystercatchers and clam populations and trophic relationships of shorebirds on sandy ocean beaches. Other aspects concern inland temporary wetlands where I am exploring the factors that determine the suitability of such wetlands as feeding areas for shorebirds and wading birds. An extension of this has lead to the study of these species in rice growing areas and assessing the adequacy of rice fields as a substitute habitat for natural wetlands which are lost in the process of rice production.
At various stages in my career I have been fortunate to work in some very exciting places. During the 1970s I spent three years studying rainforest bird ecology in West Africa and throughout the 1980s I was involved in several projects in Nepal, including studies of Tiger, Snow Leopard and Otters.