Dr Alastair Ward

Senior Lecturer in Zoology/ Deputy Director, BSc Zoology

Faculty of Science and Engineering


01482 347531

Alastair Ward is an applied vertebrate ecologist who researches sustainable solutions to problems between people and wildlife.

He specialises in the ecology and management of wild deer and the involvement of wildlife in the epidemiology of livestock diseases, biosecurity on farms and mitigation of road impacts on protected species.

He is particularly interested in the use of uncertainty in wildlife management decision-making.

Alastair is Honorary Scientific Advisor to the British Deer Society, sits on the IUCN/SSC Deer Specialist Group, the Mammal Society's Scientific Advisory Committee and the GB Wildlife Disease Surveillance Partnership.


Research Interests

  • Terrestrial ecology and behavioural ecology

  • Aeroecology

  • Resolution of human-wildlife conflicts

  • Wildlife disease epidemiology

  • Wildlife management planning and delivery

  • Estimating natural quantities for applied decision making

  • Mammals, particularly deer

Research groups

  • Currently collaborating with the Deer Initiative and Newcastle University's Centre for Wildlife Management on a Knowledge Transfer Partnership to develop decision support tools and an adaptive management programme for wild deer management in Great Britain.

  • Leading a network to build a partnership with organisations, particularly the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA), to create a National Aeroecology Centre. It will have a physical presence on the Humber to act as a base for teaching and research in the behaviour and ecology of birds.

  • Work part-time at APHA's National Wildlife Management Centre, managing a programme of wildlife research and operations delivery, primarily for Defra.

  • On part-time secondment (2016-18) from APHA to the Deer Initiative, as Operations and Research Director


Booy, O., Mill, A.C., Roy, H.E., Hiley, A., Moore, N., Robertson, P., Ward, A., and Wyn, G. (2017) 'Risk management to prioritise the eradication of new and emerging invasive non-native species', Biological Invasions, 19: 2401-2417

Ward, A. I., Finney, J.K., Beatham, S.E., Delahay, R.J., Robertson, P.A. & Cowan, D.P. (2016) 'Exclusions for resolving urban badger damage problems: outcomes and consequences', PeerJ, 4:e2579; DOI 10.7717/peerj.2579

Ward A.I., Dendy J., & Cowan D.P. (2015) 'Mitigating impacts of roads on wildlife: an agenda for the conservation of priority European protected species in Great Britain', European Journal of Wildlife Research, 61: 199-211

Palmer G., Stephens P.A., Ward A.I. & Willis S.G. (2015) 'Nationwide trophic cascades: changes in avian community structure driven by ungulates', Scientific Reports, 5: 15601

Ward A.I & Smith G.C. (2012) 'Predicting the status of wild deer as hosts of Mycobacterium bovis infection in Britain', European Journal of Wildlife Research, 58: 127-135

Full list


Programmes taught on (2019)

Modules list

  • Wildlife Management

  • Concepts in Ecology

  • Reviews in Biology

  • Field Studies (Mallorca)

  • Ecology & Evolution

  • Skills for Biology

  • Biological Diversity

Research PhDs

Alastair welcomes applications for MSc by research and PhD studies in wildlife management and conservation, mammal ecology, aeroecology and wildlife disease ecology. For funded opportunities, follow this link.

Completed PhDs

  • Petrovan, S. (2012) The landscape ecology of brown hares and European rabbits in pastures in the north east of England, University of Hull

  • Palmer, G. (2014) Deer in Britain: population spread and the implications for biodiversity, Whitehead Trust

  • Lush, L. (2015) Functional ecology of the interactions between wild and domestic herbivores, University of Hull

  • O’Neill, H. (2016) Deer, biodiversity management and ecotourism in the Hebrides: conflict or mutual benefit?, NERC and Fera

Current PhD supervisions 

  • Matos, C., Pond-breeding amphibians and connectivity through tunnels: maintaining Triturus cristatus movements using road mitigation, Natural England and University of Hull

  • Logan, T., Ecology and management of deer on Thorne Moors, Self-funded MSc by research

Teaching awards and accolades

  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy

Professional highlights

Academic qualifications

  • PhD (1997-2001), University of York

  • MRes Ecology and Environmental Management (1996-1997), University of York

  • BSc (Hons) Zoology (1990-1994), University of Glasgow

External roles

Professional highlights

  • GB Wildlife Disease Surveillance Partnership, representative (2017- )

  • NERC Industrial CASE Studentship Assessment Panel, member (2016)

  • Scientific Advisory Committee, The Mammal Society, member (2016- )

  • GB Stakeholder Group on chronic wasting disease, advisor (2016- )

  • Defra / APHA National Expert Group on Chronic Wasting Disease, advisor (2016- )

  • Food Standards Agency Stakeholder Group on Trichinella in pigs, advisor (2015-2016)

  • Defra, National Expert Group on feral pigs, advisor (2013-2016)

  • Associate Editor for the European Journal of Wildlife Research (2009-2013)

  • Guest Associate Editor for special edition of Wildlife Research (2010)

  • IUCN/SSC Deer Specialist Group, member (2007- )

  • Defra, Husbandry Working Group, member (2006-2008)

  • The Mammal Society, trustee/director, conference secretary (2004-2009)

  • Expert Mammal Working Group, UK Biodiversity Action Plan priority species and habitats review, advisor, (2005)

  • Welsh Assembly’s TB Action Group, advisor (2004)

  • Ungulate Research Group, conference organiser (2002)

  • Deer Research Working Group, representative (2002- )

  • Tracking Mammals Partnership, representative (2001-2009)