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Editor Spotlight: Bogdan Cristescu

This month, Editor Spotlight features Dr. Bogdan Cristescu who shares with us his years of experience with PLOS ONE as an author, reviewer and Academic Editor, his research in wildlife conservation ecology, and memorable places from his fieldwork.

Dr. Bogdan Cristescu is a wildlife ecologist particularly interested in linking ecology to conservation biology to understand terrestrial ecological systems and generate applied solutions to environmental challenges. He has broad interests in spatial and habitat ecology, predator-prey dynamics and human-wildlife interactions and has focused research on mammalian carnivores, with empirical and experimental work on large multi-use landscapes. He is currently the Director for Ecological Research at the Cheetah Conservation Fund and an Adjunct Professor in Agriculture and Natural Resources Sciences at the Namibia University of Science and Technology.

Replicability is an important part of science that allows across comparison among studies and PLOS ONE encourages such submissions while promoting high technical standards.

Bogdan Cristescu

Before becoming an editorial board member, you published at and reviewed for PLOS ONE. Is there any experience as a PLOS ONE reviewer or author that motivates you to become an editorial board member?

I have had experience with PLOS ONE for more than 10 years. One of my early experiences was submitting a manuscript from my Ph.D. research to PLOS ONE. I was impressed with the timely and constructive peer-review process as well as the visibility that the paper received once published. That experience determined me to continue to contribute to PLOS ONE as author of new manuscripts and as reviewer.

One aspect I particularly appreciate is the focus on robust science and the lack of emphasis on novelty. Often scientific journals emphasize the newest research and methodological developments, but replicability is an important part of science that allows across comparison among studies and PLOS ONE encourages such submissions while promoting high technical standards.

What leads you to the field of wildlife conservation ecology? Why are mammalian carnivores important to healthy ecosystems?

I have always been interested in applied research questions with relevance to conservation. Human activities affect many wildlife species and natural environments and understanding anthropogenic effects on animal behaviour and population dynamics can help strategies to mitigate such challenges.

Wildlife in Somaliland share the landscape with domesticated camels and small livestock

My research often focuses on mammalian carnivores, as these are some of the species that are most susceptible to impacts of human activities. Terrestrial carnivores especially larger bodied ones are wide-ranging, which sets them at risk of interacting with people or their property, when moving through human-dominated landscapes where they can encounter livestock, households, and vehicles.

Many carnivores have naturally low reproductive rates, which means that their populations have a difficult time rebounding if they are persecuted through human-wildlife conflict, poached, or hunted unsustainably. Carnivores have critical roles in ecosystems, influencing prey populations directly by predating on them, and indirectly through affecting the behaviour of prey and their movements and habitat use. The functional presence of carnivores ensures that prey do not over-consume plant material, which ultimately contributes to ecosystems maintaining ecological balance.

Your fieldwork has taken you all around the world. Do you have any favorite places or moments to share with us?

I have been involved with various research projects which have required me to travel and live in different countries. Experiencing landscapes and their wildlife in different environments has been rewarding and a wonderful learning experience. Throughout, I have learned that we need to understand the needs and challenges faced by local people and implement research that can effectively benefit both wildlife and humans.

The vast and sparsely populated expanses of Namibia host some of Africa’s greatest remaining wilderness

I have always enjoyed time in mountains and have spent many weeks hiking and tracking wildlife in the Rocky Mountains of Canada, the Cascade Mountain Range of USA and Kamiesberg Uplands in South Africa. Each of these environments has its special beauty and incredible nature to be discovered and I would recommend to everyone to spend as much time outdoors as they can. The deserts of Namibia and Horn of Africa with their vast open vistas and harsh beauty have appealed to me also and provided grounding and humbling experiences.

Spending time in the field allows me to enhance quantitative scientific analyses with direct experience in real-world contexts and to re-discover purpose. Fieldwork enables me to understand ecological systems at a deeper level than only desk-based and reminds me that as individuals we are a small part of a much larger web of life; yet how we choose to live can affect delicate balances and the wildlife that we admire and seek to conserve.

Disclaimer: Views expressed by contributors are solely those of individual contributors, and not necessarily those of PLOS.

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