Associate Director (Research)
British Trust for Ornithology
Follow Rob on Twitter @btorobrob
Involved with the BOU as:
IBIS associate editor, Meetings Committee member
BOU member since: Some time ago
Most likely to be found . . .
. . . wrangling with R or getting muddy, though rarely both at the same time.
What do you enjoy most about being an IBIS associate editor?
Working with a great team of people, seeing the people’s latest work and hoping, in some small way, to help authors present the work better, or more clearly, so that their paper gets the widest readership possible.
What would you say to anyone who is considering submitting a paper to IBIS?
Think very clearly about what you want to say. Summarise your work in a sentence or two, then figure out how to guide your readers so they reach the same conclusion. There are some rules, but basically you are telling a story, make it as simple, clear and engaging as you can.
Why are you a member of the BOU?
Ornithology is nothing if not a community, and BOU is at the heart of that community. There are so many great people working with birds, often in very different ways, from amateur to professional, and BOU brings them all together.
What is your most memorable bird-y experience?
Photographing Blood Pheasant in Sichuan and realising the convenient mound I was sitting on was an anthill – and the ants were not at all happy about this…
What is your favourite outdoor place and why?
So many, but I keep returning to the UK Lake District. Getting up early in the morning to avoid the crowds, and there’s almost always a pub at the bottom for a pint after.
If you could visit anywhere in the world, that you haven’t yet been to, where would it be and why?
Vanuatu – to see Kagu in the flesh. They’ve fascinated me since I was about 5 or 6 when I found their picture in my first bird book. They’re the epitome of a creature that just wants to get on with its life in the face of many threats, but one that moves people to do great work restoring the population.
What are the big conservation challenges in the next decade?
Getting people to realise nature and the environment have a value that goes beyond monetary; if we value ecosystems simply as a commodity, short-term economic gain will (almost) always win against the longer-term health of our planet.