Doctoral students

Anthony Lowney

Anthony Lowney
MSc (Manchester Metropolitan)

John Day Building 1.02


Anthony completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Cumbria; his thesis investigated the impacts of anthropogenic activity on populations of the protected red squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris). This research was published in Bioscience Horizons in 2011and was presented at the Conservation Biology conference in Edmonton in 2010. During Anthony’s time as an undergraduate, he was part of the University of Cumbria’s affiliated Project Gambia committee. During the summer of 2010 Anthony led the first Project Gambia field team, here they recorded the first official sightings of Atlantic humpback dolphins (Sousa teuszi) in Gambian waters for over eight years, undertook extensive sawfish (Pristis pristis) surveys and discovered a second population of dwarf crocodiles (Osteolaemus tetraspis) in the Gambia. Until this point, only one other population was known in the country, located 150 miles away.

For Anthony’s MSc, carried out at Manchester Metropolitan University, he spent four months in the Philippines looking for one of the rarest birds in the world, the Isabela oriole (Oriolus isabellae). There was controversy regarding the taxonomic status of this rare species, with a suggestion that the Isabela oriole and the white-lored oriole (O. albiloris) should be classified as a single species. First, Anthony had to find the birds; the Isabela oriole had not been seen between 1961 and 2003, and has been seen fewer than 10 times since 2003, meaning he had to spend up to a month at a time camping and hiking through rainforest. Anthony succeeded in finding both species and carrying out playback experiments. Results showed that the Isabela oriole and the white-lored oriole discriminate between conspecific calls. Anthony was therefore able to conclude that the Isabella oriole should remain a separate species, which consequently warrants conservation efforts for its survival.

Anthony is currently registered as a PhD student at the FitzPatrick Institute. His project focuses on positive interactions between species that are associated with Sociable weaver nests.

Thesis title

Weaver nests as a resource to the Kalahari animals: positive associations in the structure and function of a community in a stressful environment (Supervisor: Robert Thomson).

Peer-reviewed publications

Bolopo, D., Lowney, A.M. and Thomson, R.L. 2019. Helpers improve fledgling body condition in bigger broods of cooperatively breeding African pygmy falcon. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 73:16. 

Krochuk, B.A., Bolopo, D., Lowney, A.M., Meyers, P.R., Spottiswoode, C.N., Raman, R.M.G. and Thomson, R.L.. 2018. Why defaecate on your doorstep? Investigating an unusual behaviour in Africa’s smallest falcon. Ostrich. 1:8.

Lowney, A.M. and Charlton, L. 2017. Cheetahs Acinonyx Jubatus utilising sociable weaver Philetairus socius structures at Tswalu Kalahari Reserve. Biodiversity Observations 8(19): 1-4.

Lowney, A.M., Green, K., Ngomane, B.P. and Thomson, R.L.. 2017. Mortal Combat: Intraspecific killing by an African Pygmy-Falcon (Polihierax semitorquatus) to acquire new mate and territory. Journal of Raptor Research 51(1) :89-91.

Lowney, A M., van Weerd, M.and de Kort, S.R. 2015. Species rank of Isabela Oriole Oriolus isabellae and White-lored Oriole O. albiloris reinforced by song playback response. Forktail 31:113-116.

Lowney, A.  2011. Impact of mountain bike trails on red squirrel population (Sciurus vulgaris) in Whinlatter Forest, Cumbria.  Bioscience Horizons 4(1):99-107