E.J. Milner-Gulland

Conservation Scientist

I have always been interested in nature, growing up in rural Sussex. I did an undergraduate degree at Oxford in Pure and Applied Biology, which was very interesting because it combined core subjects like evolution and animal behaviour with really applied topics in agriculture and forestry. For my PhD at Imperial College London I worked on the conservation of elephants, rhinos and saiga antelopes, but in a fisheries group, which really made me think about how I could apply the models and ideas my colleagues were developing for fish into terrestrial conservation (and vice versa). I also took courses at the London School of Economics to learn about how economists analyse data and think about decisions and risk. I really believe that it’s important to be exposed to lots of different ways of thinking, so you can get inspiration from other fields, and that’s what my education allowed me to do. My job titles also show how I try to link between disciplines: my first lecturer job was in Mathematical Ecology at Warwick University, then I moved to Imperial College as a lecturer in Resource Economics, then I was a Reader and Professor in Conservation Science, and now I am Tasso Leventis Professor of Biodiversity at Oxford (though really I am still a conservation scientist). I am interested in how to make conservation work better for people and nature in the real world, with a particular focus on conservation interventions that aim to change people’s attitudes and behaviours towards hunting of wildlife in poor, rural areas of the world. One recent piece of outreach I did was a video for school teachers which includes a case study of my favourite species, the saiga antelope. You can see it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bX51Iktznp8