Torch

Dr Alastair Ward

Head of Department, Biological and Marine Sciences

Faculty and Department

  • Faculty of Science and Engineering
  • Department of Biological and Marine Sciences

Qualifications

  • BSc (University of Glasgow)
  • MSc (University of York)
  • PhD (University of York)

Summary

I have been fascinated by wild animals and our interactions with them for as long as I can remember. This has led me into a career of scientific research and operational projects delivery for government agencies (CSL, Fera, AHVLA, APHA) and NGOs (British Deer Society and the Deer Initiative), and most recently within academia.

I am Honorary Scientific Adviser to the British Deer Society and I'm a member of the IUCN/SSC Deer Specialist Group and the Mammal Society's Scientific Advisory Committee.

Undergraduate

I favour interactive learning - I want to see enthusiasm and engagement among those attending my classes. Consequently, by discussion and debate we explore topics such as persecution of hen harriers on grouse moors, culling of deer on nature reserves, mining for minerals in protected areas, and tiger habitat conservation in human-populated areas. I also supervise as many undergraduate and MSc research projects as I can. Recent topics have included rehabilitation of hedgehogs, recolonisation of Scotland by beavers, consequences of lynx reintroduction for roe deer, and niche overlap between extinct and extant bovids on Mediterranean islands.

Recent outputs

View more outputs

Journal Article

Short-term movements and behaviour govern the use of road mitigation measures by a protected amphibian

Matos, C., Petrovan, S., Wheeler, P., & Ward, A. (2019). Short-term movements and behaviour govern the use of road mitigation measures by a protected amphibian. Animal Conservation, 22(3), 285-296. https://doi.org/10.1111/acv.12467

Landscape connectivity and spatial prioritization in an urbanising world: a network analysis approach for a threatened amphibian

Matos, C., Petrovan, S. O., Wheeler, P. M., & Ward, A. I. (2019). Landscape connectivity and spatial prioritization in an urbanising world: a network analysis approach for a threatened amphibian. Biological Conservation, 237, 238-247. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biocon.2019.06.035

Modelling current and potential distributions of mammal species using presence-only data: a case study on British deer

Croft, S., Ward, A. I., Aegerter, J. N., & Smith, G. C. (2019). Modelling current and potential distributions of mammal species using presence-only data: a case study on British deer. Ecology and Evolution, 9(15), 8724-8735. https://doi.org/10.1002/ece3.5424

Modeling current and potential distributions of mammal species using presence-only data: a case study on British deer

Croft, S., Ward, A. I., Aegerter, J. N., & Smith, G. C. (2019). Modeling current and potential distributions of mammal species using presence-only data: a case study on British deer. Ecology and Evolution, https://doi.org/10.1002/ece3.5424

Improving daytime detection of deer for surveillance and management

Logan, T. W., Ashton-Butt, A., & Ward, A. I. (2019). Improving daytime detection of deer for surveillance and management. European Journal of Wildlife Research, 65(6), https://doi.org/10.1007/s10344-019-1318-y

Research interests

What problems for people do wild animals bring, and how can we best manage them? What problems for wildlife do people bring, and how best can we manage them? How can we reconcile competing objectives for wildlife across fragmented, multi-owner landscapes? What measurements of wildlife do we need to take in order to make evidence-based decisions about their management, how good are our estimates and how good do they need to be? These are the sorts of multi-disciplinary questions that keep me awake. If you would like to research solutions to peoples’ problems associated with wildlife (especially deer, but also other vertebrates) for the benefit of people and wildlife, I’d welcome a chat.

Postgraduate supervision

I welcome applications for MSc by research and PhD studies in wildlife management and conservation, mammal ecology, aeroecology and wildlife disease ecology.

Completed research supervision

- 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

- Matos, C., (2018) Pond-breeding amphibians and connectivity through tunnels: maintaining Triturus cristatus movements using road mitigation, Natural England and University of Hull

- Logan, T., (2019) Ecology and management of deer on Thorne Moors, Self-funded MSc by research

Current research project supervision:

- Wade, D. The role of wild birds in the emergence of avian influenza on poultry farms. PhD

- Payne, W. Wader feeding ecology. PhD

- Hartley, M. Machine learning for the interrogation of bird radar data. PhD

- Stone, M. Pink footed goose ecology in relation to wind farms.