Adam Watson 1930-2019

Adam Watson. Photo: Ronofcam, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=7303182

Adam Watson died on Wednesday. We have lost one of the grand old men of UK ecology and a towering figure in upland ecology.

From his doctoral thesis on the life cycle of the Ptarmigan through to his long-term monitoring of Mountain Hares, Adam Watson was a pre-eminent montane and upland ecologist with a great love for, and knowledge of, the mountains and wildlife of his local Cairngorms mountains and beyond.

Last year, his monitoring of Mountain Hares through seven decades showed (in a paper published with Prof Jeremy Wilson of RSPB) that this species had declined massively on grouse moors in comparison with nearby montane areas not managed for intensive grouse shooting (see here and here).

He was a rare scientific specimen – a scientist who knew a lot, cared a lot, and spoke out a lot.


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