What differentiates biology from other sciences is that it is the study of the idiosyncratic and the particular. For that reason I still do what used to be called natural history, which in practice involves being a bit eclectic in my approach to research and science. As such, I have done work in behavioural ecology, conservation, ethnobiology, and paleoecology, and continue to be interested in all of these topics, though nowadays most of my research focuses on conservation, ethology, and ethnobiology.
My DPhil thesis is on the Lake Titicaca Grebe (Rollandia microptera), an understudied endemic EDGE species only found in the Lake Titicaca basin, in Peru and Bolivia. As part of this project, I am integrating ethnobiological, behavioural, political, and historic elements of the bird and its landscapes to attempt to have a more holistic conservation program for it. I spend about half of my time in Peru and Bolivia, and have developed relationships both with local fishers on Lake Titicaca and with local scientists, especially those at the Reserva Nacional del Titicaca and the Universidad Nacional del Altiplano in Puno.
My MRes was in behavioural ecology at the University of St. Andrews, supervised by Nathan Bailey, and focused on intraspecific variation of same-sex sexual behaviour in North American field crickets. I have also worked on paleoecology of Nicaragua under Will Harvey and Elizabeth Jeffers here at Oxford, and have collaborated with Jerry Harasewych at the Smithsonian inferring phylogenies from mitogenomes in Pleurotomariidae.
Villar, D. A., Long, P., Gutierrez Tito, E., Moreno Terrazas, E., & Gosler, A. (2023). Trends in the area of suitable breeding habitat for the Endangered Lake Titicaca Grebe Rollandia microptera, 2001–2020. Bird Conservation International, 33, E52. doi:10.1017/S0959270923000011