Portrait of Professor Richard Griffiths

Professor Richard Griffiths

Emeritus Professor of Biological Conservation

About

Emeritus Professor Richard Griffiths’ research and teaching activities revolve around the conservation of threatened species, with a particular focus on population ecology and amphibians and reptiles. Current projects include: researching amphibian declines and extinctions; evaluating actions to reduce developmental impacts on great crested newts and other species; developing survey and reintroduction protocols; wildlife trade and long-term population monitoring. This work is carried out in collaboration with a wide range of partners around the world, particularly in the UK, Europe, Latin America and Madagascar.

Within DICE, Richard’s group utilises a well-equipped ecology laboratory and an on-campus field-trials area. Both undergraduate and postgraduate students have the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in participating in surveys of local amphibian and reptile populations.

Professor Richard Griffiths is a member of the Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology

Research interests

  • Long-term population biology and conservation of UK amphibians and reptiles.
  • Rewilding and reintroductions.
  • Species recovery programmes on islands.
  • Design of survey and monitoring programmes for reptiles and amphibians.
  • Evaluation of current protocols for mitigating the impacts of development on amphibians and reptiles. 

Professor Griffiths is currently involved in the following research projects:

  • Integrating new statistical frameworks into eDNA survey and analysis at the landscape scale (NERC Landscape Decisions Programme, 2020-2022 with PI, Dr Eleni Matechou, SMSAS).
  • Long-term population dynamics of great crested newts, adders and slow-worms in the UK.
  • Development and evaluation of new modelling methods for mitigating the impacts of development on amphibians and reptiles (with Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Trust, NatureSpace Partnership, Freshwater Habitats Trust, Newt Conservation Partnership).
  • Population biology and conservation of Critically Endangered Mantella frogs of Madagascar (with Madagasikara Voakajy and Chester Zoo).
  • One-plan approach for the recovery of the Critically Endangered Bermuda Skink (with Government of Bermuda and Chester Zoo).
  • Conservation planning, monitoring and evaluation of rewilding (with Wildwood Trust and Kent Wildlife Trust). 

Teaching

  • HEC03030: Survey and Monitoring for Biodiversity.
  • DICE8770: Population and Evolutionary Biology
  • DICE8830: Special Topics in Conservation
  • WCON3101: Skills for Wildlife Conservation and Management

Supervision

Richard supervises PhD and MSc research students in the general areas of population biology, threatened species recovery, conflict mitigation and wildlife trade, with a focus on amphibians and reptiles.

Current PhD students

  • Steven Allain: Population drivers, demographics and disease in wild snake populations
  • Gemma Harding: The best laid plans? Evaluation of ex situ components within species conservation action plans
  • Anna Jemmett: Conservation of Mongolia's Wild Camels (Camelus ferus)
  • Sophus zu Ermgassen: Are No Net Loss policies effective? Evaluating the outcomes of biodiversity offsetting and No Net Loss initiatives around the world.
  • Shaleen Attre: Human-snake conflict and efficacy of related mitigation measures in India.
  • Rowland Griffin: The impact of low-level agriculture on reptiles and amphibians within Laguna del Tigre National Park, Petén, Guatemala .
  • Rebecca Turner: Patterns and process in population trends of UK herpetofauna.

Completed PhD students (and where they are now)

Professional

Media:

  • BBC1 One Show – May 2012
  • BBC1 Great British Wildlife Revival – September 2013
  • BBC Radio 4: The Sisters of the Sacred Salamander - June 2018

National/International activities:

  • Secretary General Elect, World Congress of Herpetology
  • Member, Executive Committee of the World Congress of Herpetology
  • Member, IUCN/SSC Amphibian Specialist Group
  • Member, IUCN/SSC Reintroductions Specialist Group
  • Member, Editorial Board of Conservation Evidence
  • Member, International Review Panel of African Journal of Ecology
  • Member, Natural England Great Crested Newt Expert Licensing Panel
  • Honorary International Conservation Research Fellow, Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, Jersey
  • Honorary Life Member, British Herpetological Society
  • Trustee, Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Trust
  • Trustee, North of England Zoological Society (Chester Zoo)
  • Trustee, Wildwood Trust
  • Director, Newt Conservation Partnership

Prizes

  • Zoological Society of London Marsh Prize for Conservation Biology, 2017
  • University of Kent Award for Advanced Research, 2019 
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