Life-long ornithologist, happiest on remote oceanic islands or in tropical forests. Obsessive eBirder http://ebird.org/
Work hard, play hard...
1998-2002 BSc 1st Class (Hons) Biological Sciences at the University of East Anglia, UK and the University of California Irvine, USA
2004-2008 PhD University of East Anglia (NERC studentship)
Wildlife Biology (6F6Z1004_1617_9Z6)
Field Course (6F5Z1009_1617_9Z6)
Conservation Biology (6F5Z1007_1617_9Z6)
Field Course (6F5Z1005_1617_9Z6)
Tutorial Activities and Field Skills (6F4Z1005_1617_9Z6)
Masters by Research Project in Conservation and Behaviour (6F7Z1024_1617_9Z6)
Masters Project in Biology Or Conservation and Behaviour (6F7Z1023C_1617_9Z6)
Species Conservation (6F7Z1015_1617_9Z6)
Avian Biology and Conservation Unit Code: (6F7Z1018_1617_9Z6)
Self-Managed Study (6F7Z1022_1617_9Z6)
PhD Theses examined in Brazil:
I have been working on Amazonian conservation issues for over 14 years and am one of the co-investigators of the Sustainable Amazon Network which attempts to understand the trade-offs between biodiversity value, ecosystem services and economic development along tropical agricultural frontiers. I spent five years (2010-2015) working at the Goeldi Museum in the Brazilian Amazon with which institution I still maintains close ties and a year at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Cornell University in 2015-2016. Beyond intensive field-work supported studies aiming to understand land-use change, and the drivers of past, current and future biodiversity loss I am involved in leading on several large-scale syntheses and meta-analyses addressing macro-ecological and phylogenetic work at large scales to understand the context and interplay of ecological and evolutionary factors.
TP. Bregman, AC. Lees, HEA. MacGregor, B. Darski, NG. de Moura, et al. (2016). Using avian functional traits to assess the impact of land-cover change on ecosystem processes linked to resilience in tropical forests. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. 283(1844),
FL. Sobral, AC. Lees, MV. Cianciaruso, M. Vila (2016). Introductions do not compensate for functional and phylogenetic losses following extinctions in insular bird assemblages. Ecology Letters. 19(9), pp.1091-1100.
J. Barlow, GD. Lennox, J. Ferreira, E. Berenguer, AC. Lees, et al. (2016). Anthropogenic disturbance in tropical forests can double biodiversity loss from deforestation. Nature. 535(7610), pp.144-147.
AC. Lees (2016). Evidence for longitudinal migration by a “sedentary” Brazilian flycatcher, the Ash-throated Casiornis. Journal of Field Ornithology.
NG. Moura, AC. Lees, A. Aleixo, J. Barlow, E. Berenguer, et al. (2016). Idiosyncratic responses of Amazonian birds to primary forest disturbance. Oecologia. 180(3), pp.903-916.
AC. Lees, CA. Peres, PM. Fearnside, M. Schneider, JAS. Zuanon (2016). Hydropower and the future of Amazonian biodiversity. Biodiversity and Conservation. 25(3), pp.451-466.
AC. Lees, A. Balmford, B. Phalan (2016). Climate mitigation: UK budget cuts erode Paris promises. Nature. 529(7584),
LJ. Musher, AC. Lees, BJM. Almeida, RC. Rodrigues, CE. Fedrizzi, et al. (2016). Curlew sandpipers Calidris ferruginea in the western Atlantic: The first, second, and third Brazilian records from Ceará and maranhão. Revista Brasileira de Ornitologia. 24(1), pp.62-67.
RR. de Castro Solar, J. Barlow, J. Ferreira, E. Berenguer, AC. Lees, et al. (2015). How pervasive is biotic homogenization in human-modified tropical forest landscapes?. Ecology Letters. 18(10), pp.1108-1118.
MAB. Freitas, ICG. Vieira, ALKM. Albernaz, JLL. Magalhães, AC. Lees (2015). Floristic impoverishment of Amazonian floodplain forests managed for açaí fruit production. Forest Ecology and Management. 351, pp.20-27.
GM. Kirwan, JF. Pacheco, AC. Lees (2015). First documented record of the sapphire quail-dove geotrygon saphirina bonaparte, 1855, in Brazil, an overlooked specimen from the klages expedition to Amazonia. Revista Brasileira de Ornitologia. 23(3), pp.354-356.
AP. Nunes, AC. Lees (2015). Revisão crítica sobre a avifauna da bacia do rio Sepotuba, Mato Grosso, Brasil. Ornitologia. 8(2), pp.72-80.
VDQ. Piacentini, A. Aleixo, CE. Agne, GN. Maurício, JF. Pacheco, et al. (2015). Annotated checklist of the birds of Brazil by the Brazilian ornithological records committee. Revista Brasileira de Ornitologia. 23(2), pp.91-298.
AC. Lees, P. Bowler (2015). Water: A drought plan for biodiversity. Nature. 521(7552),
AC. Lees, NG. Moura, AS. De Almeida, ICG. Vieira (2015). Poor prospects for avian biodiversity in amazonian oil palm. PLoS ONE. 10(5),
AC. Lees (2015). Fisheries: Leave Brazil's red list alone. Nature. 518(7538),
TP. Bregman, AC. Lees, N. Seddon, HEA. Macgregor, B. Darski, et al. (2015). Species interactions regulate the collapse of biodiversity and ecosystem function in tropical forest fragments. Ecology. 96(10), pp.2692-2704.
AC. Lees, SL. Pimm (2015). Erratum: Species, extinct before we know them? (Current Boilogy (2015) 25 (R177-R180)). Current Biology. 25(7),
AC. Lees, RW. Martin (2015). Exposing hidden endemism in a Neotropical forest raptor using citizen science. Ibis. 157(1), pp.103-114.
AC. Lees, SL. Pimm (2015). Species, extinct before we know them?. Current Biology. 25(5), pp.R177-R180.
AC. Lees, NG. Moura, AS. De Almeida, ICG. Vieira (2014). Noteworthy ornithological records from the threatened campinas of the lower rio Tocantins, east Amazonian Brazil. Bulletin of the British Ornithologists' Club. 134(4), pp.247-258.
J. Ferreira, LEOC. Aragão, J. Barlow, P. Barreto, E. Berenguer, et al. (2014). Brazil's environmental leadership at risk: Mining and dams threaten protected areas. Science. 346(6210), pp.706-707.
SE. Ahmed, AC. Lees, NG. Moura, TA. Gardner, J. Barlow, et al. (2014). Road networks predict human influence on Amazonian bird communities. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. 281(1795),
AC. Lees, JJ. Gilroy (2014). Vagrancy fails to predict colonization of oceanic islands. Global Ecology and Biogeography. 23(4), pp.405-413.
GA. Pereira, SDM. Dantas, LF. Silveira, SA. Roda, C. Albano, et al. (2014). Status of the globally threatened forest birds of northeast Brazil. Papeis Avulsos de Zoologia. 54(14), pp.177-194.
ICG. Vieira, T. Gardner, J. Ferreira, AC. Lees, J. Barlow (2014). Challenges of governing second-growth forests: A case study from the Brazilian Amazonian state of Pará. Forests. 5(7), pp.1737-1752.
NG. Moura, AC. Lees, A. Aleixo, J. Barlow, SM. Dantas, et al. (2014). Two hundred years of local avian extinctions in eastern Amazonia. Conservation Biology. 28(5), pp.1271-1281.
AC. Lees, LN. Naka, A. Aleixo, M. Cohn-Haft, VDQ. Piacentini, et al. (2014). Conducting rigorous avian inventories: Amazonian case studies and a roadmap for improvement. Revista Brasileira de Ornitologia. 22(2), pp.107-120.
AC. Lees, AF. Távora, M. Tavares, A. Távora, D. Coutinho (2014). A second Sabine's Gull Xema sabini in Brazil. Bulletin of the British Ornithologists' Club. 134(2), pp.163-164.
NG. Moura, AC. Lees, CB. Andretti, BJW. Davis, RRC. Solar, et al. (2013). Avian biodiversity in multiple-use landscapes of the Brazilian Amazon. Biological Conservation. 167, pp.339-348.
D. Filipe Dias, R. Pimentel Rocha, AC. Lees (2013). First documented record of the Ruff Philomachus pugnax (Scolopacidae) in Brazil. Revista Brasileira de Ornitologia. 21(2), pp.126-128.
AC. Lees (2013). First records of chestnutheaded tanager pyrrhocoma ruficeps from Goiás, central Brazil. Cotinga. 35, pp.130-131.
AC. Lees, KJ. Zimmer, CA. Marantz, A. Whittaker, BJW. Davis, et al. (2013). Alta Floresta revisited: An updated review of the avifauna of the most intensively surveyed locality in south-central Amazonia. Bulletin of the British Ornithologists' Club. 133(3), pp.178-239.
BJM. de Almeida, RC. Rodrigues, D. Mizrahi, AC. Lees (2013). A Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus in Maranhão: The second Brazilian record. Revista Brasileira de Ornitologia. 21(3), pp.213-216.
TA. Gardner, J. Ferreira, J. Barlow, AC. Lees, L. Parry, et al. (2013). A social and ecological assessment of tropical land uses at multiple scales: the Sustainable Amazon Network. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. 368(1624), pp.20130307-20130307.
TA. Gardner, J. Ferreira, J. Barlow, AC. Lees, L. Parry, et al. (2013). A social and ecological assessment of tropical land uses at multiple scales: The Sustainable Amazon Network. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. 368(1619),
AC. Lees, ICG. Vieira (2013). Forests: Oil-palm concerns in Brazilian Amazon. Nature. 497(7448),
AC. Lees, NG. de Moura, CB. Andretti, BJW. Davis, EV. Lopes, et al. (2013). One hundred and thirty-five years of avifaunal surveys around Santarém, central Brazilian Amazon. Revista Brasileira de Ornitologia. 21(1), pp.16-57.
AC. Lees, I. Newton, A. Balmford (2013). Pheasants, buzzards, and trophic cascades. Conservation Letters. 6(2), pp.141-144.
F. Castro, J. Castro, AR. Ferreira, MA. Crozariol, AC. Lees (2012). A first documented Brazilian record of Least Seedsnipe Thinocorus rumicivorus Eschscholtz, 1829 (Thinocoridae). Revista Brasileira de Ornitologia. 20(4), pp.455-457.
AC. Lees, NG. de Moura, A. Santana, A. Aleixo, J. Barlow, et al. (2012). Paragominas: A quantitative baseline inventory of an eastern Amazonian avifauna. Revista Brasileira de Ornitologia. 20(2), pp.93-118.
RN. Biancalana, W. Nogueira, R. Bessa, D. Pioli, C. Albano, et al. (2012). Range extensions and breeding biology observations of the Sooty Swift (Cypseloides fumigatus) in the states of Bahia, Goiás, Minas Gerais and Tocantins. Revista Brasileira de Ornitologia. 20(2), pp.87-92.
TA. Gardner, ND. Burgess, N. Aguilar-Amuchastegui, J. Barlow, E. Berenguer, et al. (2012). A framework for integrating biodiversity concerns into national REDD+ programmes. Biological Conservation. 154, pp.61-71.
J. Barlow, L. Parry, TA. Gardner, AC. Lees, CA. Peres (2012). Developing evidence-based arguments to assess the pristine nature of Amazonian forests. Biological Conservation. 152, pp.293-294.
SU. Chowdhury, AC. Lees, PM. Thompson (2012). Status and distribution of the endangered Baer's Pochard Aythya baeri in Bangladesh. Forktail. pp.57-61.
J. Barlow, TA. Gardner, AC. Lees, L. Parry, CA. Peres (2012). How pristine are tropical forests? An ecological perspective on the pre-Columbian human footprint in Amazonia and implications for contemporary conservation. Biological Conservation. 151(1), pp.45-49.
JP. Bird, GM. Buchanan, AC. Lees, RP. Clay, PF. Develey, et al. (2012). Integrating spatially explicit habitat projections into extinction risk assessments: A reassessment of Amazonian avifauna incorporating projected deforestation. Diversity and Distributions. 18(3), pp.273-281.
SP. Mahood, AC. Lees, CA. Peres (2012). Amazonian countryside habitats provide limited avian conservation value. Biodiversity and Conservation. 21(2), pp.385-405.
M. Korczak-Abshire, AC. Lees, A. Jojczyk (2011). First documented record of barn swallow (Hirundo rustica) in the Antarctic. Polish Polar Research. 32(4), pp.355-360.
AC. Lees (2011). Shades of grey: 'Eastern' Skylarks and extralimital subspecies identification. British Birds. 104(11), pp.660-666.
AC. Lees, EA. VanderWerf (2011). First record of Blyth's Pipit Anthus godlewskii for Micronesia. Bulletin of the British Ornithologists' Club. 131(3), pp.212-217.
AC. Lees, JP. Bird, SU. Chowdhury, RW. Martin (2011). Status of Red-throated Pipit Anthus cervinus in Bangladesh. Forktail. pp.104-105.
CA. Peres, TA. Gardner, J. Barlow, J. Zuanon, F. Michalski, et al. (2010). Biodiversity conservation in human-modified Amazonian forest landscapes. Biological Conservation. 143(10), pp.2314-2327.
AC. Lees, CA. Peres (2010). Habitat and Life History Determinants of Antbird Occurrence in Variable-Sized Amazonian Forest Fragments. Biotropica. 42(5), pp.614-621.
JP. Bird, AC. Lees, SU. Chowdhury, R. Martin, E. Ul Haque (2010). A survey of the Critically Endangered Spoon-billed Sandpiper Eurynorhynchus pygmeus in Bangladesh and key future research and conservation recommendations. Forktail. pp.1-8.
AC. Lees, CA. Peres (2009). Gap-crossing movements predict species occupancy in Amazonian forest fragments. Oikos. 118(2), pp.280-290.
AC. Lees, DJ. Bell (2008). A conservation paradox for the 21st century: The European wild rabbit Oryctolagus cuniculus, an invasive alien and an endangered native species. Mammal Review. 38(4), pp.304-320.
CT. Trinca, SF. Ferrari, AC. Lees (2008). Curiosity killed the bird: arbitrary hunting of harpy eagles (Harpia harpyja) on an agricultural frontier in southern Brazilian Amazonia. Cotinga. 30, pp.12-15.
AC. Lees, BJW. Davis, AVG. Oliveira, CA. Peres (2008). Avifauna of a structurally heterogenous forest landscape in the Serra dos Caiabis, Mato Grosso, Brazil: a preliminary assesment. Cotinga. 29(1), pp.149-149.
AC. Lees, CA. Peres (2008). Avian life-history determinants of local extinction risk in a hyper-fragmented neotropical forest landscape. Animal Conservation. 11(2), pp.128-137.
AC. Lees, CA. Peres (2008). Conservation value of remnant riparian forest corridors of varying quality for Amazonian birds and mammals. Conservation Biology. 22(2), pp.439-449.
AC. Lees (2008). A range extension for Curl-crested Aracari (Pteroglossus beauharnaesii): implications for avian contact zones in central Amazonia. Bulletin of the British Ornithologists' Club. 128(1), pp.53-54.
L. Swift, PR. Hunter, AC. Lees, DJ. Bell (2007). Wildlife trade and the emergence of infectious diseases. EcoHealth. 4(1), pp.25-30.
AC. Lees, CA. Peres (2006). Rapid avifaunal collapse along the Amazonian deforestation frontier. Biological Conservation. 133(2), pp.198-211.
IA. McLaren, AC. Lees, C. Field, KJ. Collins (2006). Origins and characteristics of Nearctic landbirds in Britain and Ireland in autumn: A statistical analysis. Ibis. 148(4), pp.707-726.
AC. Lees, RD. Moores (2006). Identification and status of Dunn's Lark in northwest Africa. British Birds. 99(9), pp.482-484.
AC. Lees, JJ. Gilroy (2004). Pectoral sandpipers in Europe: Vagrancy patterns and the influx of 2003. British Birds. 97(12), pp.638-646.
JJ. Gilroy, AC. Lees (2003). Vagrancy theories: Are autumn vagrants really reverse migrants?. British Birds. 96(9), pp.427-438.
J. Ferreira, J. Barlow, L. Parry, AC. Lees, ICG. Vieira, et al. (2014). Avaliação da sustentabilidade social e ecológica dos usos da terra na Amazônia em múltiplas escalas: Rede Amazônia Sustentável. ICG. Vieira, PM. Toledo, RAJ. Santos. In: Avaliação da sustentabilidade social e ecológica dos usos da terra na Amazônia em múltiplas escalas: Rede Amazônia Sustentável. Garamond, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, pp.433-456.
AC. Lees (2013). Valor de conservação de corredores remanescentes de qualidade variável de florestas ripárias para as aves e mamíferos Amazônicos. CA. Peres, J. Barlow, TA. Gardner, ICG. Vieira. In: Conservação da biodiversidade em paisagens florestais antropizadas do Brasil.. Fundação O Boticário / Editora da Universidade Federal do Paraná,
CEB. Portes, A. Aleixo, KJ. Zimmer, A. Whittaker, JD. Weckstein, et al. (2013). A new species of Campylorhamphus (Aves: Dendrocolaptidae) from the Tapajós – Xingu interfluve in Amazonian Brazil. J. del Hoyo, A. Elliott, J. Sargatal, DA. Christie. In: Handbook of the Birds of the World, Special Volume: New Species and Global Index. Lynx Edicions, pp.38-42.
AC. Lees, JG. Gilroy (2009). Vagrancy Mechanisms in Passerines and Near-Passerines. In: Rare Birds, Where and When: An analysis of status and distribution in Britain and Ireland. Volume 1: sandgrouse to New World orioles..
Selected recent invited presentations
Lees, A.C. 2016. Bridging shortfalls in Brazilian ornithology. Invited Speaker, British Ornithologists' Club Annual General Meeting. Natural History Museum, London 17th September 2016.
Lees, A.C. 2016. Biodiversity conservation and forest policy in the Brazilian Amazon. 'Amazonia in the Anthropocene' Norwegian University of Life Sciences, As, Norway, 20th May 2016.
Lees, A.C. 2015. Land Use Change and The Future of the Amazon. Princeton University's Program in Science, Technology and Environmental Policy seminar series. November 16th, 2015 Princeton University, USA.
Lees, A.C. 2015. ‘Young investigator keynote’: Pervasive impacts of land-use change on the Neotropical avifauna. Neotropical Ornithology Congress in Manaus, Brazil.
Lees, A.C. 2011. Biodiversidade das Aves da Amazônia. Invited speaker on a 'Mesa Redonda' (Round-table) with A. Aleixo, M. Cohn-Haft & L. Fabio Silveira at the XVIII Congresso Brasileiro de Ornitologia, Cuiaba.
Symposium 31: opportunities and challenges facing conservation in the Brazilian Amazon: human and ecological dimensions. Association of Tropical Biology Congress, Bonito, Brazil (June 2012)
I regularly review scientific manuscripts (average three per month) for the following journals: Diversity and Distributions, Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, Conservation Biology, Journal of Animal Ecology, Ecological Applications, Oikos, Journal of Applied Ecology, PLOS One, Ecosphere, Biological Conservation, Forest Ecology and Management, Landscape Ecology, Journal of Tropical Ecology, Biodiversity and Conservation, Systematics and Biodiversity, Mammal Review, Ibis, Biotropica, Oryx, Condor, Peer-J, Acta Oecologia, Journal of Field Ornithology, Applied Geography, Journal of Arid Environments, Bird Conservation International, Revista Brasileira de Ornitologia, Cotinga, Tropical Conservation Science, Zoologia, Ardeola, Boletim do Museu Paraense Emílio Goeldi Ciências Naturais and the Bulletin of the British Ornithologist’s Club.
Project title: AFIRE: Assessing ENSO-induced Fire Impacts in tropical Rainforest Ecosystems
Project Partner Co-I. Funding received whilst at Cornell
Co-investigators: Jos Barlow, Yadvinder Mahi et al.
Funding body: NERC, UK
Sum requested: £298,151
Submission date: April 2016
Project title: Biodiversity and ecosystem functioning in degraded and recovering Amazonian and Atlantic Forests
Co-I. Funding received whilst at MPEG
Co-investigators: Jos Barlow, Carlos Joly, 15 others
Funding body: São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP Sao Paulo, Brazil)
Sum requested: £5M
Submission date: August 2013
Project title: Ecological consequences of biofuel expansion in the Brazilian Amazon 2012-11 to 2015-10 | Grant
P-I. Funding received whilst at MPEG
Co-investigators: Ima Vieira, MPEG
Funding body: Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (Brasilia, Brazil)
Sum requested: £14,622
Submission date: November 2011
Project title: Trade-offs between biodiversity conservation, ecosystem service provision and economic development in tropical forests
Co-I. Funding received whilst at UEA
Co-investigators: Toby Gardner (Cambridge University), Jos Barlow (Lancaster University), Joice Ferreira (EMBRAPA)
Funding body: TNC Brasil (Belém, Brazil)
Sum requested: £10,000
Submission date: January 2010
Steering committee member of the Sustainable Amazon Network
Project partner of the ECOFOR network
I have extensive experience of ecological consultancy work including avian vantage point surveys, breeding and wintering bird surveys, pelagic bird surveys using COWRIE methodology, and have also undertaken post-construction botanical surveys of the Gllwern to Abergavenny Gas Pipeline and at-sea censuses of Common Scoter (Melanitta nigra) populations in the Irish Sea.
I acted as editor for the popular bird book McGeehan & Wyllie (2013) ‘Birds Through Irish Eyes’ The Collins Press, and am currently producing the avian distribution maps for Zimmer & Whittaker (in press) ‘Bird of Brazil’, Princeton University Press. I have a strong interest in wildlife photography and sound recording for scientific purposes and have many images published in journals (including in the journal Science), in several books e.g. Kirwan & Green (2011) Cotingas and Manakins, Helm; and Gorman (2014) Woodpeckers of the World, Helm, as well as extensively online (e.g. Neotropical Birds Online, BBC News) where for example I have images of over 1000 Brazilian species archived on WikiAves. I have several recordings published in bird sound compilations e.g. Marantz & Zimmer (2006) Bird Voices of Alta Floresta and Southeastern Amazonian Brazil. Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology, USA and Moore, Krabbe & Jahn (2013) Bird Sounds of Ecuador, A Comprehensive Collection, in addition to recordings of over 450 bird species archived online at http://xeno-canto.org/.
Lab associate: Cornell Lab of Ornithology
Council member: Neotropical Bird Club
The bulk of my work over the past six years has resolved around assays of the biodiversity and ecosystem service value of human-modified tropical forests (HMTFs). All this has been tailored specifically towards answering questions with high policy relevance and my work as part of the RAS and ECOFOR networks has allowed us to directly influence forest policy. Work on the biodiversity value of secondary forests was used to establish the first legislation defining successional stages of second-growth forests for any Amazonian state (Instrução Normativa - IN02. 26/02/2014). The previous lack of an evidence base was a major impediment for just environmental legislation. The scientific findings of the RAS work were brought to landowners in areas we had worked via thousands of pamphlets (on three different subjects) presented by the RAS team. We are now gearing up for a major stakeholder meeting to be held in Belem which will unite diverse actors in the state from politicians to NGOs, major timber companies and worker’s syndicates to present RAS findings centred on six themes with policy briefs which material will also be available through a data-platform. The aim of the meeting is to establish a dialogue between all members of society towards tackling some of the less intractable problems facing the biome such as legislation to maintain forest quality within private landholdings. This will hopefully translate into changes in state legislation to incorporate forest condition into legal frameworks such as the Brazilian Forestry Code.
I have also participated extensively by invitation in both Brazilian (with the Brazilian government’s Chico Mendes Institute for Biodiversity Conservation) and international (for Birdlife International) Red Listing initiatives and conservation prioritizing exercises that have led to a complete reappraisal of the number of threatened species in the Neotropics, particularly Amazonia (see e.g. Bird, Buchanan, Lees et al. 2011, Div. Dist.)
Selected news stories:
Lab Associate, Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Cornell University
Research Associate, Museu Paraense Emílio Goeldi
Editorial Board Member Biotropica
Editorial Board Member Brazilian Journal of Ornithology
Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation