Renowned ecologist’s legacy fund to benefit promising scientists - Veterinary Practice
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Renowned ecologist’s legacy fund to benefit promising scientists

Early-career scientists and land managers in need of funding for scientific projects are being invited to apply to The Dick Potts Legacy Fund

Early-career scientists and land managers in need of
funding for scientific projects are being invited to apply to The Dick Potts
Legacy Fund. The fund was set up in memory of the late internationally
recognised British ecologist Dr Dick Potts. Dr Potts was director-general of
the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT) and a conservation-science

“This is a great opportunity for researchers just
starting out on their careers or who are returning to ecology, where a
financial boost could make a world of difference,” said Dick’s widow Olga
Potts, who established the fund following his death in 2017.

The fund aims to support the next generation of
ecologists by providing grants to farmland wildlife research projects to cover
the costs of research supplies and equipment, travel, software, attendance at
conferences and similar expenses. The scheme is open to early-career
ecologists, farmers, gamekeepers and land managers from the UK and Europe to
assist them in establishing their own small projects.

Dr Julie Ewald of the GWCT, one of the advisors to the
fund, said: “We are looking for applications which are innovative and
practical, and which address a recognised problem in conservation and clearly
demonstrate how they will advance our knowledge of Farmland Ecology.”

Last year Jon A. Zearra, who was studying Wildlife
Management at the University of Murcia, Spain, received a grant. With the help
of the Dick Potts Legacy Fund, Jon has been helping to research the importance
of insects in the diet of wild red-legged partridge chicks in farmland in
central Spain, under the supervision of Dr Fabian Casas and Dr Carlos Sanchez.
Extensive research has been done into the diet of grey partridge chicks,
including by Dick Potts himself, but the red-legged partridge has been less
studied, and this research is looking to fill that gap. The project also plans
to develop guidance for farmers, game managers and policy makers on how to
create insect-rich habitats. The team has so far discovered that a hemipteran
is the most common insect species in red-legged partridge chicks’ diet, and
that their abundance is higher in fallow fields. The possible discovery of a
new insect species is also being considered.

Dr Potts was an innovator in how he would solve problems,
often devising small experiments or ways of analysing data that showed the best
way forward for practical conservation management. For this reason, the fund
seeks to support projects that advance the field of applied wildlife ecology.

“Projects that are agro-ecological, and that Dick would
have found exciting, will be looked upon favourably,” said Julie.

To follow in the footsteps of Dr Potts and apply for
, please visit the GWCT website. Those
researchers wanting to use the fund for 2021 field season projects should apply
by 15 April. All others, with projects starting later, should apply by 30 June.

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