Personal profile

Areas of Expertise

Avian influenza, SARS and other emerging infectious diseases with animal origins; wildlife diseases; biodiversity conservation; rabbit ecology, behaviour, conservation genetics and welfare; wildlife disease; human disease; conservation biology; animal parasites; viruses.

Administrative Posts

  • Director of MSc in Applied Ecology and Conservation (MScAEC)
  • Masters Module Organiser: MScAEC  Practical Conservation and Work Experience
  • BIO Ethics Committee
  • BIO Health and Safety Committee
  • BIO Field Safety officer 


  • BSc.Jnt. hons. Zoology & Psychology, University College, Cardiff
  • Ph.D. University of Wales (1977)
  • Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Department of Zoology, Cardiff (1976-77)
  • Lecturer in Animal Behaviour, Department of Zoology, Cardiff (1977-79)
  • Lecturer /Senior Lecturer, School of Biological Sciences, UEA (since 1979)
  • Professor of Conservation Biology (since 2019)

Key Research Interests

I am a conservation biologist with eclectic research interests mainly at interdisciplinary boundaries. Much of my current research concerns emerging zoonotic diseases such as SARS, COVID-19, HPAI H5N1 and Ebola and the impacts of introduced pathogens and wildlife trade on biodiversity loss.  This has included collaboration  to sequence the genomes of the endangered Mauritius Pink Pink Nesoenas mayeri (Mohammed Albeshr) and the protozoan Trichomonas gallinae (Abdul alrefaei) which has jumped from columbids to finches causing substantial mortalities. 

I am currently leading research into causes of UK-wide die-off in European hares and rabbits.

One of my recent PhD students, Simon Poulton investigated altitudinal variation in small mammals and their pathogens in the Nepali Himalayas. A current PhD student Tim McCormack is leading research into the conservation of terrestrial tortoises and freshwater turtles across SE Asia.

I was PI on a recently completed  interdisciplinary GCRF British Academy Cities and Infrastructure grant investigating sustainable management of watershed dependent megacities using the Mexico City megalopolis as a model.

Historically my overseas research has been primarily aimed at helping to identify long-term management plans to minimise biodiversity loss in critically threatened grassland and forest refugial habitats in Mexico, the Indian sub-continent, SE Asia and Indian Ocean islands. 

My UK research has used the European wild rabbit as a model species to investigate inter-relationships among population dynamics, behavioural ecology, reproduction, genetics, parasites/disease and species/ecosystem conservation.  Most of the latter research has involved a long-term (20+years), non-invasive study of a natural European wild rabbit population situated on the UEA campus.

Current Research Projects

  • COVID-19 origins in wildlife trade
  • Wildlife trade and farming in SE Asia
  • Impact of H5N1 on biodiversity and local livelihoods 
  • Water conservation: the sustainable management of watershed-dependent cities
  • Causes of the UK-wide die-off in European brown hares
  • Climate change: The impact of Hurricane Dorian on endemic Bahamas avifauna
  • Genomes and parasites in Indian Ocean columbids and passerines
  • Myxomatosis epidemiology 60 years on
  • Parasites and disease in the European wild rabbit
  • Altitudinal variation in small mammals and their pathogens in the Himalayas
  • Genetic variation in Trichomonas gallinae
  • Reintroductions and translocations of Mauritian avifauna
  • Pangolin conservation
  • Conservation of endangered lagomorphs


Life in our research group

  Our approach to research is interdisciplinary.


PhD Positions

Click here for current PhD opportunities in Biological Sciences. But feel free to email me to discuss projects outside these areas and alternative sources of funding.

Postdocs & Fellows

I am always happy to discuss possibilities for postdoctoral work and collaborations. 

Teaching Interests

I teach postgraduates at the MSc and PhD level in various aspects of conservation biology supervising resarch projects in a wide range of areas.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 6 - Clean Water and Sanitation
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action
  • SDG 15 - Life on Land

Education/Academic qualification

Bachelor of Science, Cardiff University

Media Expertise

  • Biology
  • Infectious diseases
  • Conservation
  • Covid
  • Public Health

Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

Recent external collaboration on country/territory level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots or