Owain Barton (Postdoctoral researcher)

My postdoctoral research project is funded by Bangor University and focuses on the use of passive acoustic monitoring devices to assess avian soundscapes. This emerging technology offers the potential to collect long-term field data over large spatial scales using minimal human resources. However, the challenges of processing and analysing large volumes of acoustic data currently limit its use in research and biodiversity monitoring. In our study, we will deploy acoustic recorders in the Elwy Valley region of North Wales to evaluate the efficacy of using machine learning (BirdNET) to automate the identification of avian species. We will then investigate the relationship between avian diversity and deer activity, to build upon previous work in the region and provide further insights into landscape-scale drivers of ecological change.

Elena Cini (Postdoctoral researcher)

My Post-Doc will focus on the NERC funded iDeer project, aiming at developing a web-based tool to map the risk of damage caused by deer on woodlands, forests, and farmlands. The project, in collaboration with the University of Reading, involves many other partners including the Woodland Trust, the Sylva Foundation, and the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust, and will support woodland creation, tree expansion, and land and deer management decisions on the wider landscape in England and Wales. In my role, through a combination of social science approaches such as workshops, national surveys, and interviews, I will engage with stakeholders to investigate their perceptions toward deer and deer management practices, understanding what characteristics the tool must and must not have in order to be widely used and, therefore, to be effective.

Amy Gresham (PhD)

My NERC Envision funded PhD focuses on linking the behaviour of an expanding population of fallow deer (Dama dama) to their effects on woodlands in the Elwy Valley, North Wales. The aim of the project is to establish how the behaviour and diet of the deer is influenced by habitat structure and human activity. I will be studying deer behaviour using  remotely activated cameras, while diet data will be extracted from faecal samples using genetic metabarcoding. Woodlands will be characterised on the basis of vegetation diversity, structure and canopy composition. Additionally, seasonal dietary analysis will be carried out to investigate how diet composition varies throughout the year and whether this is linked to variation in browsing impacts.

Jenny Amphaeris (PhD)

I am undertaking an interdisciplinary PhD between linguistics and biological sciences funded by Bangor University’s College of Arts and Humanities. I am reassessing definitions of language in light of developments in both cognitive science and animal communication research. The aim is to streamline terminology use and language conceptualisation across disciplines by constructing a new theoretical framework for language and determining if, and how, other species might fit into this.

Penny Downes (PhD)

My interdisciplinary PhD project investigates the socio-ecological drivers of human-elephant interactions along the western boundary of the Makgadikgadi Pans National Park in Botswana. I will use motion-activated camera traps and GPS collaring to determine elephant distribution, whilst using anthropological methods to examine local attitudes to elephants.
Through this research, I aim to identify appropriate conflict mitigation strategies that will work to foster human-elephant coexistence in the region. This project is funded by the NERC Envision DTP and will work in partnership with the Non-Government Organisation, Elephants for Africa (

Will Justus (MSc-Res)

I’m interested in exploring the behaviour of woodland mammals in North Wales with a particular focus on interspecific interactions to assess risk of bovine tuberculosis (TB) transmission. My research will model the activity of Eurasian badgers, fallow deer, and red foxes using camera traps. I’d like to see if these species are active in the same areas during the same time of day, and to what extent they overlap with livestock. I also plan to conduct a review that explores the prevalence of TB across mammals in Europe.

Group alumni

Rhea Burton-Roberts (PhD 2022) The influence of resource variability on the movement behaviour of African elephants (Loxodonta africana) across spatiotemporal scales. Rhea is a lecturer in zoology at Bangor University

David Keeble (MSc-Res 2022) A long-term temporal comparison of ecological predictors on relative elephant presence within a forested environment

Bethan Pugh (MSc-Res 2022) Effectiveness of invasive species management: how control effort influences mink presence in North Wales

Alex Harcourt (MSc-Res 2021) Interspecific Differences in Treefrog Response to Artificial Light at Night and Spectral Manipulation

Jess Chapman (MSc-Res 2021) Road noise alters foraging duration and vigilance behaviour of three common tit species

Ellie Roylance-Casson (MSc-Res 2021) Rensch’s Rule and the Drivers of Sexual Dimorphism in Ungulates

Phoebe Sadler (MSc-Res2020) Sexual dimorphism in the common hippopotamus

Dan Smith (MSc-Res2020) Have stripe patterns influenced the social behaviour and cohesion of the plains zebra (Equus quagga)?

Will Connock (MSc-Res2020) Zebra stripes, the ectoparasite hypothesis: using behavioural measures to determine ectoparasitic burdens in plains zebra in Addo Elephant National Park, South Africa

Rhodri Evetts (MSc-Res2020) The origin of zebra stripes: Does striping provide a fecundity advantage?

Owain Barton (MSc-Res2018) An integrated approach to high-resolution modelling of a species range expansion using presence-only data: a case study on roe deer (Capreolus capreolus)