Colin works on a wide range of ecological problems from population dynamics and distributions to fire ecology in the African savannah. The main thread linking different strands of his research is a fundamental interest in spatial processes in ecology, from the way individual animals move across a landscape, through the patterns and processes that shape individual species distributions, to global patterns in biodiversity.
Conservation biology is increasingly recognised as a key overlap with global development, and Colin's international work seeks to develop equitable solutions that improve both biodiversity and people. For example, his work on rangeland restoration has used UK and US aid funding to co-design rangeland restoration projects with pastoralist communities in Tanzania. Colin is currently involved in running a programme, the Rangeland Guardians, that empowers women's groups in pastoralist communities to restore rangelands and receive financial benefits from the wider community for the grasses they grow, benefiting both grazing wildlife and livestock, as well as the women and the families they support.
Colin is also interested in increasing equitability in the way we tackle aspects of the Illegal Wildlife Trade and developing methods for sustainable use of wildlife resources that benefit the people who care for them.