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Over the past 30 years, Professor Griffiths has conducted research on population ecology and conservation biology across the world, with a particular emphasis on reptiles and amphibians. He has been involved in research and capacity building in countries as diverse as Tanzania, Zaire (now DRC), Spain, USA, Madagascar, the Seychelles, Bermuda, India, Brazil, Honduras, Chile and Mexico.
His work has been supported by almost £3m in research funding, from NERC, Defra, Natural England (formerly English Nature), the British Ecological Society, Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, Pond Conservation Trust, States of Jersey and the ARC Trust. However, the most remarkable funding successes are his seven biodiversity projects funded by the Defra/Dfid Darwin Initiative, which have helped make Kent the number one university to be funded by the scheme.
His 100+ publications have garnered over 5,000 citations, and he received the Most Cited Author Award (with collaborator T.J.C. Beebee) for a paper in Biological Conservation 2005-2008.
As well as his academic publications, Richard has also engaged actively with the non-academic sector and delivered eight commissioned reports, the most recent ones to Defra (2014, 2016), Natural England (2007) and the ‘Amphibian Conservation Action Plan’ for the International Union for Conservation of Nature based in Switzerland (2007).
Prior to his research, survey protocols for amphibians and reptiles had changed little for some 20 years, and were not science-based. Using statistical models, Richard produced recommendations that resolved how much effort was required to reliably detect whether a species was present or absent from a site. These protocols have now been adopted by a large number of organisations.
Elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology in 2014, he received in 2017 the prestigious Marsh Prize for Conservation Biology by the Zoological Society of London.