School of Anthropology & Conservation

Excellence in diversity Global in reach

Gemma Harding

The best laid plans? Evaluation of ex situ components within species conservation action plans

Supervisor(s): Professor Richard Griffiths (Main), Dr Simon Black

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My PhD will focus on Species Action Plans (SAPs) and ex situ conservation. The project will involve a review of SAPs in order to establish their effectiveness and identify trends in their implementation and success rates. Systematic reviews are conducted for some SAPs, particularly where large NGOs provide support (i.e. birds), but their implementation and impact have not been compared on a broader conservation scale. Equally, there is no consistency in the structure and content of action plans, and little research to evaluate their effectiveness and impact.

A comprehensive review of SAPs with ex situ components would reveal implementation rates, highlight gaps, and inform organisations of the importance of the review and assessment process. Investigating relationships between organisations and SAPs could help lead the way to improvements in partnerships and allow a more focused approach for zoos and other ex situ operations. The research will also compare the differences between vertebrate groups, in particular the duration and content of their SAPs.


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  • Harding G, Griffiths RA and Pavajeau L. (2016) Developments in amphibian captive breeding and reintroduction programs. Conservation Biology, 30: 340–349. doi:10.1111/cobi.12612.
  • Germano J.M., Field K.J., Griffiths R.A., Clulow S., Foster J., Harding G., and Swaisgood R.R. (2015), Mitigation-driven translocations: are we moving wildlife in the right direction? Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 13: 100–105.
  • Valenzuela-Sánchez, A., Harding, G., Cunningham, A. A., Chirgwin, C. and Soto-Azat, C. (2014), Home range and social analyses in a mouth brooding frog: testing the coexistence of paternal care and male territoriality. Journal of Zoology, 294: 215–223.
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Vice Chancellor's Scholarship

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Last Updated: 08/12/2016