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Mark Wilson


Name Position Address Telephone E-mail
 Dr. Mark Wilson  Post-doctoral Researcher

School of Biological, Earth & Environmental Sciences, University College Cork,

353 (0)21 4904661

mark wilson

Mark is an ecological researcher with broad interests in animal behaviour, bird biology, forest ecology and conservation. During his PhD at the University of Sheffield, he studied the genetic and provisioning contributions of male Willow Warblers Phylloscopus trochilus to their offspring, and consequences of variation in both of these for female reproductive and parental behaviour. Towards the end of his PhD in 2000, he worked for the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds as a researcher on the Repeat Upland Bird Survey (RUBS) in Sutherland, in a team of four field workers who had responsibility for organising and carrying out surveys of breeding waders in the north of Scotland. 

In 2001, he was hired to lead RUBS fieldwork on the island of Lewis, but this survey was cancelled due to the outbreak of foot and mouth disease in the UK, allowing Mark to accept the offer of a postdoctoral researcher position on the BIOFOREST Project in University College Cork. In this position, he was jointly responsible for ecological survey design, and solely responsible for carrying out bird survey work and analysis. He also collaborated with other organisations such as National Parks and WIldlife and BirdWatch Ireland to carry out work on the Hen Harrier Circus cyaneus, a bird of conservation concern in Ireland. On the completion of this project in 2006, he was instrumental in preparing the proposal and budget for the PLANFORBIO research programme, on which he is currently employed as postdoctoral bird researcher, continuing his work on both forest biodiversity and habitat requirements of Hen Harriers.


  • Coote, L., Dietzsch, A.C., Wilson, M.W., Graham, C.T., Fuller, L., Walsh, A.T., Irwin, S., Kelly, D.L., Mitchell, F.J.G., Kelly, T.C. and O'Halloran, J. 2013. Testing indicators of biodiversity for plantation forests. Ecological Indicators, 32: 107-115.
  • Wilson, M.W., O'Donoghue, B., O'Mahony, B., Cullen, C., O'Donoghue, T., Oliver, G., Ryan, B., Troake, P., Irwin, S., Kelly, T.C., Rotella, J.J. & O'Halloran, J. 2012. Mismatches between breeding success and habitat preferences in Hen Harriers Circus cyaneus breeding in forested landscapes. Ibis, 154: 578-589.
  • Wilson, M.W., Gittings, T., Pithon, J., Kelly, T.C., Irwin, S. & O'Halloran, J. 2012. Bird diversity of afforestation habitats in Ireland: current trends and likley impacts. Biology & Environment, In press.
  • Sweeney, O.F.McD., Wilson, M.W., Irwin, S., Kelly, T.C. & O'Halloran, J. 2011. Breeding birds of native woodlands and plantation forests in ireland. Irish Birds, 9: 181-196. .
  • Irwin, S., Wilson, M.W., Kelly, T.C., O'Mahony, B., Oliver, G., Troake, P., Ryan, B., Cullen, C., O'Donoghue, B. & O'Halloran, J. 2011. The breeding biology of Hen HarrierS Circus cyaneus in Ireland over a five year period. Irwin et al 2011.
  • Wilson, M.W., Gittings, T., Kelly, T.C. & O'Halloran, J. 2010. The importance of non-crop vegetation for bird diversity in Sitka spruce plantations in Ireland. Bird Study, 57: 116-120.
  • Wilson , M., Irwin, S., O'Donoghue, B., Kelly, T. & O'Halloran, J. 2010.  The use of forested landscapes by Hen Harriers in Ireland . COFORD Connects, Environment No. 10. PDF 
  • Sweeney, O.F.McD., Wilson, M.W., Irwin, S., Kelly, T.C. & O'Halloran, J. 2010. Are bird density, species richness and community structure similar between native woodlands and non-native plantations in an area with a generalist bird fauna?  Biodiversity & Conservation, 19 (8): 2329-2342. Sweeney et al 2010c
  • Sweeney, O.F.McD., Wilson, M.W., Irwin, S., Kelly, T.C. & O'Halloran, J. 2010. Breeding bird communities of second rotation plantations at different stages of the forest cycle. Bird Study, 57 (3): 301-314.Sweeney et al 2010b
  • Sweeney, O.F.McD., Martin, R., O'Halloran, J., Irwin, S., Kelly, T.C., Wilson , M.W. & McEvoy, P.M. 2010. A lack of large diameter logs and snags characterises dead wood in Irish forests. Forest Ecology and Management, 259: 2056-2064. Sweeney et al 2010d
  • Sweeney, O.F.McD., Wilson, M.W., Irwin, S., Kelly, T.C. and O'Halloran, J. 2010. The influence of native tree species mix component on bird communities in non-native coniferous plantations in Ireland . Bird Study, 57: 483-494. Sweeney et al 2010a
  • Wilson, M.W., Irwin, S., Norriss, D., Newton , S., Collins, K., Kelly, T.C. and O’Halloran, J. 2009. The importance of pre-thicket conifer plantations for nesting Hen Harriers (Circus cyaneus) in Ireland . Ibis. 151: 332-343. 
  • Irwin, S., Wilson , M.W., Kelly, T.C., O'Donoghue, B., O'Mahony, B., Oliver, G., Cullen, C., O'Donoghue, T. & O'Halloran, J. (2008). A note on the breeding biology of Hen Harriers Circus cyaneus in Ireland . Irish Birds 8: 331-334. PDF 
  • Roycroft, D., Irwin, S., Wilson, M., Kelly, T. & O'Halloran, J. (2008) The breeding bird community of Balrath Wood 2007. Irish Forestry 65: 60-70. PDF
  • Smith, G. F., Gittings, T., Wilson , M., French, L., Oxbrough, A., O'Donoghue, S., O'Halloran, J., Kelly, D. L., Mitchell, F. J. G., Kelly, T., Iremonger, S., McKee, A-M., Giller, P. 2008. Identifying practical indicators of biodiversity for stand-level management of plantation forests. Biodiversity Conservation, 17:991-1015. smith et al 2008
  • Iremonger, S., O'Halloran, J., Kelly, D.L., Wilson, M.W., Smith, G.F., Gittings, T., Giller, P.S., Mitchell, F.J.G., Oxbrough, A., Coote, L., French, L., O'Donoghue, S., McKee, A-M., Pithon, J., O'Sullivan, A., Neville, P., O'Donnell, V., Cummins, V., Kelly, T.C. & Dowding, P. 2007. Biodiversity in Irish Plantation Forests. Environmental Protection Agency, Wexford.
  • Wilson, M.W., Gittings T., O'Halloran J., Kelly T.C. and Pithon J. 2006. The distribution of Hen Harriers in Ireland in relation land use cover, particularly forest cover. COFORD Connects, Environment No. 6. PDF
  • Wilson MW, Pithon J, Gittings T, Kelly TC, Giller PS and O'Halloran J, 2006. Effects of growth stage and tree species composition on breeding bird assemblages of plantation forests. Bird Study 53: 225-236. PDF 
  • Houghton, J.D.R., Doyle, T.K., Wilson, M.W., Davenport, J., Hays, G.C. 2006. Jellyfish aggregations and leatherback turtle foraging patterns in a temperate coastal environment. Ecology 87: 1967-1972. Houghton et al


  • Wilson, M.W., Irwin, S., Norriss, D., Newton , S.F., Collins, K., Kelly, T.C. and O’Halloran, J. 2008. Habitat selection around nest sites by Hen Harriers Circus cyaneus in Ireland . Current Ornithological Research in Ireland: 5th Ornithological Research Conference, University College Cork , November 2008. Wilson CORC 08
  • Wilson, M. W., O’Mahony, B., Dell’Omo, G., Irwin, S., Kelly, T. C. and O’Halloran, J. 2009. GPS tracking of Hen Harriers (Circus cyaneus) using a novel system combining VHF and GPS. In: Keller, V. and O’Halloran, J. (eds) 7th Conference of the European Ornithologists' Union Abstracts, Swiss Ornithological Institute, Sempach, 152pp. Wilson et al 2009
  • Wilson , M. W., Cullen, C., O’Donoghue, B.G., Oliver, G., O’Mahony, B., Ryan, B., Troake, P., Irwin, S., Kelly, T. C. and O’Halloran, J. 2009. Habitat, nest site selection and breeding success of Hen Harriers in Ireland . Raptor Research Foundation Annual Conference 2009, Pitlochry, Scotland . PDF


Planning and Management Tools for Biodiversity in a Range of Irish Forests

PLANFORBIO Research Programme, Dept. of Zoology, Ecology & Plant Science, University College Cork, Distillery Fields,North Mall, Cork, Ireland