Winner of the Southwood Prize 2005

The 2005 Southwood prize is awarded to Craig Tambling for his paper with Johan du Toit on ‘Modelling wildebeest population dynamics: implications of predation and harvesting in a closed system’ (Journal of Applied Ecology, 42, 431–441). This paper describes the consequences of fragmentation of wildebeest into small closed populations. It is shown that under such circumstances, predation (in this case by lions) in combination with excessive removals can drive wildebeest populations to very low levels, even extinction if no prey switching occurs. This paper combines field observations and population modelling to convincingly demonstrate this point. What is particularly remarkable is that Craig undertook this study for his BSc Honours project whilst an undergraduate and prior to starting a PhD, and he should be commended for such a mature and insightful piece of work.

At present, Craig is studying for his PhD through the Mammal Research Institute, University of Pretoria, in collaboration with the University of California at Berkeley. His interests lie in predator/prey ecology and his PhD is on lion/buffalo interactions in the Kruger National Park, South Africa. Craig would like to further develop his interests in spatial ecology and hopes to continue his research at postdoctoral level after his PhD.

In 2005 we published a number of papers by young authors, and we should also like to mention the contribution by Yvonne Buckley and coauthors, ‘Slowing down a pine invasion despite uncertainty in demography and dispersal’ (Journal of Applied Ecology, 42, 1020–1030). The editors felt this was a very strong contribution by a young author who is a recent appointee to our board of Associate Editors.

This prize is named in honour of Professor Sir Richard Southwood, an internationally recognized, eminent applied ecologist. Sir Richard sadly passed away on 26 October 2005. An obituary of Sir Richard appeared in the March 2006 issue of the British Ecological Society Bulletin.