The third year of this award, the UEA chose the recipient from among the postgraduate students in their ecology department. Charlie’s dissertation focused on improving understanding of why Greater Spotted Eagles are declining.
Presenting the prize, Rt Revd Graham Usher, Bishop of Norwich said,
“I’m delighted to present the Bishop of Norwich Ecology Prize to Charlie Russell in recognition of his excellent dissertation in the applied conversation ecology area. His research about the migratory behaviour of Greater Spotted Eagles in Europe has expanded our knowledge, especially about the negative impact of large-scale human behaviour.
“Having originally trained as an ecologist, I am all too aware that we need people to be researching and being passionate about exploring and protecting our single island planet home. As a Christian, I am called to live out a care for creation, so I’m very happy to be encouraging endeavours such as this.”
On receiving the prize certificate and £1,000, Charlie Russell said,
“I am really grateful to receive this generous award from the Bishop of Norwich and as a first-generation student it is really encouraging to have my work recognised this way. This prize will help me continue this research as part of my PhD at UEA.”
Professor Jennifer Gill, Course Director of the MSc in Applied Ecology & Conservation said,
“We are delighted to have the work of our students recognised through the award of the Bishop of Norwich Ecology Prize. The support provided by this award hugely helps our students as they embark on careers in conservation ecology, and the celebration of their research provides a great confidence boost.
“Conservation desperately needs many more able and committed people, as we tackle the twin challenges of the climate and biodiversity crises. It is wonderful that the Bishop of Norwich gives such generous support to the University of East Anglia’s MSc in Applied Ecology and Conservation.”
“In the first paper of my dissertation, I investigated how loss of wetland areas in Polesia, primarily due to conversion for agriculture, impacts Greater Spotted Eagles. I found that Greater Spotted Eagles can successfully forage, hunt, and raise chicks in these transformed landscapes. This indicates that the decline in numbers is probably a bit more complicated than just being due to habitat loss.
“For the second paper I looked at the migration period, as threats on migration could be contributing to population declines. In this population, I found that males migrate to east Africa and females to Greece. This means that males and females experience very different conditions in this time, for example females spend more time in formally protected areas, whereas there are less protected areas in areas males migrate to. This can contribute to population declines if these different conditions mean that more males die on migration than females.”