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School of Biological and Chemical Sciences

Joseph Williamson


PhD student



Project title: Investigating the efficacy of riparian reserves for maintaining invertebrate biodiversity in a fragmented tropical landscape

Summary: Here we propose studying three functionally important groups of terrestrial invertebrates (moths, dung beetles and termites) to assess the conservational efficacy of riparian reserves in fragmented oil palm landscapes in Sabah, Malaysia. Specifically, we aim to assess the potential for riparian reserves to act as ecological corridors and refugial habitat for invertebrate species in wider oil palm landscapes. The connectivity afforded by riparian forest may be predicted to increase the persistence of species over time, through metapopulation dynamics and by promoting dispersal among subpopulations. We propose the use of both traditional sampling techniques and molecular approaches to investigate these processes. In addition we will assess the persistence of ecosystem functions in fragmented landscapes and the provision of ecosystem services to oil palm plantations by riparian reserve spillover effects.