Dr Alec Christie
College Position
Henslow Research Fellow
Other Positions

Undergraduate Tutor

Degrees and Honours

BSc Hons Marine Biology (St Andrews), PhD Zoology (Cambridge)

Research Interests


My fellowship project has three stands: 1. Finding ways to directly combine and assess different forms of evidence (e.g., the scientific literature and indigenous and local community knowledge) into evidence-based decision-making; 2. Developing new approaches to assessing the reliability and relevance of evidence to different decision-making contexts; 3. Quantifying the generalisability of evidence for different conservation actions to understand whether the findings of evidence transfer well between different contexts. I want to ensure that in the future, evidence-based decision-making combines diverse sources of knowledge for decision-making, whilst making sure to assess the reliability and relevance of evidence so we can provide tailored recommendations to decision-makers based on their local context. 

Previous work

My PhD research focused on applying evidence-based principles from medicine to biodiversity conservation via the Conservation Evidence project. In particular, my work involved quantifying the gaps and biases in the evidence base for conservation, as well as co-developing decision support tools with conservationists to make the reasoning and evidence behind their decision-making more transparent. In my postdoc with the Conservation Evidence project, I worked on the BioRISC project to design and improve an interface to an online application that enables users to obtain customised syntheses of evidence on invasive species management interventions that are dynamically updated (www.metadataset.com). 

Teaching Interests


  • Supervisor for Part II Conservation Science, Applied Ecology, and Behavioural Ecology modules
  • Demonstrator for Part Ia Biology of Cells microscopy practicals
  • Master's in Conservation Leadership Seminar on Evidence-based Conservation
  • Open University Associate Lecturer for S397 Ecosystems

Research supervision

  • Co-supervision of Summer Research Project student in the Centre for Mathematical Sciences, University of Cambridge
  • Co-supervision of student team project in Department of Computer Science, University of Cambridge
Other Interests

I am very interested in communicating science and conservation issues to the public and particularly interested in becoming a wildlife and science television presenter. In my spare time I am also an amateur wildlife photographer, love getting outdoors, and playing all sorts of sports when I can. I'm also a moth trapper and birdwatcher, as well as being fascinated by natural history.

Awards & Prizes


  • 2nd place, Natural and Physical Sciences, Doctoral Research Awards
  • Nomination, Cambridge Student Union Student-Led Teaching Awards
  • 1st place, Horizon 2030 talks, Cambridge University Science and Policy Exchange Forum
  • Associate Fellow of Higher Education Academy (AFHEA)
  • Runner-up, Best Poster, British Ecological Society
  • Vice-Chancellor's Award, University of Cambridge


  • Principal's Scholarship for Academic Excellence
  • Society of Biology Top Student Award
  • Faulty of Science Ede & Ravenscroft Prize
  • Best dissertation and student in Marine Biology
  • Best student in Biology, Ecology, and Marine Biology
  • Dean’s List
Select Publications

Petrovan S.O., Al-Fulaij N., Christie A., Andrews H. (2022). Why link diverse citizen science surveys? Widespread arboreal habits of a terrestrial amphibian revealed by mammalian tree surveys in Britain. PLoS ONE, 17, 7, e0265156. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0265156.

Christie, A.P., Aldridge, D.C., Gallardo, B., Ó hÉigeartaigh, S., Petrovan, S.O., Sutherland, W.J., (2022). Strengthen biosecurity when rewiring global food supply chains. Nature, 606, 7916, 864. https://doi.org/10.1038/d41586-022-01773-1

Christie, A. P., Amano, T., Martin, P. A., Shackelford, G. E., Simmons, B. I. & Sutherland, W. J. (2022). Innovation and forward-thinking are needed to improve traditional synthesis methods: A response to Pescott and Stewart. Journal of Applied Ecology, 59, 1191– 1197. https://doi.org/10.1111/1365-2664.14154

White, T.B., Petrovan, S.O., Christie, A.P., Martin, P.A., Sutherland, W.J. (2022). What is the Price of Conservation? A Review of the Status Quo and Recommendations for Improving Cost Reporting, BioScience, 72, 5, 461–471. https://doi.org/10.1093/biosci/biac007

Christie, A.P., Downey, H., Grainger, M., O’Brien, D., Frick, W.F., Tinsley-Marshall, P., White, T.B., Winter, M., Sutherland, W.J. A practical consevation tool to combine diverse forms of evidence for rapid, systematic, and transparent evidence-based conservation decisions. Conservation Science and Practice. https://doi.org/10.1002/csp2.579

Christie, A.P.*, White, T.B.*, Martin, P.A., Petrovan, S., Littlewood, N.A., Rocha, R., Bladon, A.J, Sainsbury, K.A., Taylor, N.G., Mupepele, A.-C., Smith, R.K., Sutherland, W.J. Reducing publication delay to improve the efficiency and impact of conservation science. PeerJ. https://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.12245 (*joint-first authorship).

Amano, T., Berdejo- Espinola, V.B., Christie, A.P., Willott, K., Akasaka, M., et al. (2021). Tapping into non-English-language science for the conservation of global biodiversity. PLOS Biology 19(10): e3001296. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pbio.3001296

Sutherland, W.J., Taylor, N.G., Aldridge, D.C., Martin, P., Rhodes, C., et al. A solution scan of societal options to reduce transmission and spread of respiratory viruses: SARS-CoV-2 as a case study. J Biosaf Biosecurity. 2021. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jobb.2021.08.003

Christie, A. (2021). Determining the biases and consistencies in the evidence for conservation (Doctoral thesis). https://doi.org/10.17863/CAM.68583

Shackelford, G.E., Martin, P.A., Hood, A.S.C., Christie, A.P., Kulinskaya, E., et al. (2021). Dynamic meta-analysis: a method of using global evidence for local decision making. BMC Biology. 19, 33.

Downey, H., Amano, T., Cadotte, M., Cook, C.N., Cooke, S.J., et al. (2021). Training future generations to deliver evidence-based conservation and ecosystem management. Ecological Solutions and Evidence. 2, e12032.

Christie, A.P., Abecasis, D., Adjeroud, M., Alonso, J.C., Amano, T., et al. (2020). Quantifying and addressing the prevalence and bias of study designs in the environmental and social sciences. Nature Communications, 11, 6377. (Editors’ Highlight).

Spake, R., Mori, A.S., Beckmann, M.A., Martin, P.A., Christie, A.P., et al. (2020). Implications of scale dependence for cross-study syntheses of biodiversity differences. Ecology Letters. 24, 374-390.

Christie, A.P., Amano, T., Martin, P.A., Petrovan, S.O., Shackelford, G.E., et al. (2020). The challenge of biased evidence in conservation. Conservation Biology. 35, 249-262.

Christie, A.P., Amano, T., Martin, P. A., Petrovan, S. O., Shackelford, G. E., et al. (2020). Poor availability of context-specific evidence hampers decision-making in conservation. Biological Conservation, 248, 108666.

Junker, J., Petrovan, S.O., Arroyo-Rodriguez, V., Boonratana, R., Byler, D., et al. (2020). Severe Lack of Evidence Limits Effective Conservation of the World’s Primates. Bioscience, 70, 794-803. (Major contribution to analyses and data figures).

Christie, A.P., Amano, T., Martin, P.A., Shackelford, G.E., Simmons, B.I., et al. (2019). Simple study designs in ecology produce inaccurate estimates of biodiversity responses. Journal of Applied Ecology, 56, 2742-2754.

Sutherland, W.J., Taylor, N.G., MacFarlane, D., Amano, T., Christie, A.P., et al. (2019). Building a tool to overcome barriers in research‐implementation spaces: The conservation evidence database. Biological Conservation, 238, 108199.

Geldmann, J., Alves-Pinto, H., Amano, T., Barlett, H., Christie, A.P., et al. (2020). Insights from two decades of the Student Conference on Conservation Science. Biological Conservation, 243, 108478.

Simmons, B.I., Balmford, A., Bladon, A.J., Christie A.P., De Palma, A., et al. (2019). Worldwide insect declines: An important message, but interpret with caution. Ecology and Evolution, 9, 3678-3680.

House J.E., Brambilla V., Bidaut L.M., Christie A.P., Pizarro O., et al. (2018). Moving to 3D: relationships between coral planar area, surface area and volume. PeerJ, 6, e4280.