Katie Murtough

Research Interests

My current research interests are in Neotropical conservation, psittacine ecology, ethno-ornithology, and indigenous land rights policy and I have worked in the field alongside the Ese’eja Peoples of Peru and the Kayapó Peoples of Brazil.  Presently, I work with Associação Floresta Protegida, Aldeia A’Ukre, and the Kayapó Field Course on a long-term project to document the ecology of Amazonian hyacinth macaw and the Kayapó Peoples’ traditional ecological knowledge of local parrot species. This prior work – and its continuation as part of my proposed doctoral research – will directly support the Kayapó community of A’Ukre and is part of an ongoing effort to strengthen Kayapó capacity for territorial monitoring and control of their highly threatened forests in southeastern Amazonia.

My proposed doctoral research, supervised by Dr. Andrew G. Gosler, provides an exciting opportunity in the development of the ethno-ornithology – bio-conservation axis that the University of Oxford has been developing over a number of years between the Department of Zoology, BirdLife International, and the School of Anthropology.  Additionally, our research has the potential to revitalize the human rights and ethnobiology work with the Kayapó Peoples that the late Darrell Posey first brought to Oxford in the early 1990’s, providing a much-needed assessment of Amazonian hyacinth macaw numbers and contributing novel data on Kayapó culture to the fields of linguistics, anthropology and ethnobiology.  Finally, it is our hope that this collaborative work with the Kayapó Peoples contributes to global human rights, conservation, and sustainable development policy-making by continuing to illustrate the very important role indigenous communities play in maintaining global biodiversity.