Scottish Alliance for Geoscience, Environment and Society

Gergana Daskalova

Research interests:

I am a global change ecologist with particular interests in land-use change, climate change, biodiversity change, agro-ecology and quantitative syntheses. The overarching aim of my research is to determine how global change drivers, specifically forest cover change, transitions between different land-use types and climate warming, affect Earth’s landscapes and the biota within them. Additionally, my research interests include landscape-level changes in the Arctic, including permafrost thaw and active layer deepening.

Career history:

I completed a BSc Ecological and Environmental Sciences degree at the University of Edinburgh (1st Class Honours), which also included a year long exchange at the University of Queensland in Australia. After completing my undergraduate degree, I worked as a field assistant on three consecutive projects – a long-term animal behaviour study at the Australian National University, a study of changes in the timing of life events for plants and birds across Scotland, and a vegetation and environmental change research expedition in the Canadian Arctic. I worked as a data and lab manager for the Tundra Ecology Lab at the University of Edinburgh. After getting these field expedition and research experiences, in Oct 2017, I started my PhD in Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the Global Change Institute, School of GeoSciences, University of Edinburgh.

Active research projects:

PhD title: Attribution of biodiversity change to land-use change and climate change

My PhD is in the field of global change ecology, specifically focusing on the effects of changing landscapes and land-use across the Earth’s biomes. All around the world, populations and ecological communities are changing, creating a complex mix of increases, decreases or no changes in population abundance, species richness and species composition. The aim of my PhD is to find the mechanisms behind these heterogeneous patterns. Specifically, I am focusing on land-use change, habitat conversion and their interactions with climate warming which are thought to be the greatest drivers of change within ecosystems. By testing how human activities affect populations and biodiversity over time, we can quantify both immediate and temporally delayed impacts, which together allow us to predict how Earth’s biota will change across the Anthropocene.

Recent publications:

Daskalova, G. N., Phillimore, A. B., Bell, M., Maggs, H., & Perkins. A. J. (2018) Population responses of five bird species to 12 years of agri-environment schemes in Northeastern Scotland. (Journal of Applied Ecology)

Myers-Smith, I.H., Grabowski, M., Thomas, H., Angers-Blondin, S., Daskalova, G.N., et al. Eighteen years of ecological monitoring reveals multiple lines of evidence for tundra vegetation change. (in press, Ecological Monographs)

Daskalova, G.N., Myers-Smith, I.H., Bjorkman, A.D., Blowes, S.A., Supp, S.R., Magurran, A., Dornelas M. (2018) Forest loss as a catalyst of population and biodiversity change. bioRxiv

Daskalova, G.N., Myers-Smith, I.H. & Godlee, J.L. (2018) Rarity and conservation status do not predict vertebrate population trends. bioRxiv

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