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Personal profile

Scholarly biography

Dawn Scott is a Professor in Mammal Ecology and Conservation in the School of Pharmacy and Biomolecular Sciences. She leads the Ecology, Conservation and Zoonosis Research group and is a member of the Aquatic Research Centre.

"I have always had a passion for mammals and my research has led me into a passion for conservation helping to alleviate biodiversity loss and reduce human-wildlife conflict by finding solutions to coexistence.

"During my undergraduate degree in Biological Sciences I undertook a project investigating habitat use by badgers in agricultural habitats. After my undergraduate degree at Durham University I volunteered on a project investigating the behaviour of red squirrels in Merseyside. I went on to study my PhD in Jordan between 1996 and 2000 on desert mammals; carnivores and small mammals. I also had the opportunity during this time to work help with a project in Tanzania on cheetahs and be a visiting scientist to investigate biodiversity, specifically small cats, in different habitats in Chile. Post-doctoral I worked in Zambia, in Kafue National Park for a year surveying Biodiversity, from mammals, to amphibians, birds and butterflies. Shortly after this I took up my lectureship at Brighton In 2001.

"My research has developing into investigating impacts anthropogenic activities on mammal behaviour, ecology and biodiversity and a growing interest in why humans and wildlife come into conflict. During my time at Brighton I have had the opportunity to work on arrange of different projects in the UK and overseas, developing my expertise and interest in small mammals and carnivores. Examples of projects included assessing mammal communities in oil palm habitats in Indonesia, investigating the consequences of forest loss on communities in Madagascar and the impacts of land use change on small mammal communities in Estonia.

"I have been involved with teaching and training at multiple levels within the university and with external links, such as a visiting lecturer for a field course in Mongolia to teach desert ecology to Mongolian students. In 2006 we set up a Brown Hyaena Research Project in South Africa investigating human wildlife conflict in human dominated landscapes and in 2010 we started to develop studies on urban wildlife in the UK focusing on foxes, badgers and hedgehogs working with several partners and other universities and community groups. In 2015 we launched a new project in South Africa looking at the impact of dehorning on rhino behaviour in response to the growing rhino poaching crisis. I have also developed interests in using molecular ecology as a tool to answer questions in conservation biology.

"I am also passionate about science communication and citizen science projects where people can get involved with science projects."

Dawn has appeared on several TV programs including the BBC ‘watch’ programmes with presenter Chris Packham focusing on her research into urban mammals, showing how urban foxes coexist with humans. In 2017 she was behind the Springtails project on BBC Springwatch, studying the interactions between foxes, hedgehogs, badgers, cats and dogs, in the presence or absence of extra food.

In addition to help role at the University of Brighton she also chairs The Sussex Mammal Group and is involved with The Mammal Society and the British Ecological Society.  

Approach to teaching

My teaching ethos is that Ecology is a practical based subject and opportunities for students to learn through practice should be at the forefront of teaching. I am a strong advocate of integrating practical experience and experiential learning opportunities and I have developed practical based modules, such as the South Africa Field Trip to provide these learning experiences. I try to apply innovative ways for students to learn as well as student assessment and use a problem based exercises to help students apply theory to practice. 

I try to encourage students to use reflection, to think about what they have learnt and how to apply it. I am also strongly supportive of developing science communication skills and my assessments include producing science communication pieces using a range of media.

Research interests

Dr Dawn Scott is a mammalian biologist with an interest in applied conservation biology. 

Her principal areas of research are focused on the interactions between humans and wildlife, such as, the consequences of anthropogenic change of the environment on mammalian communities, genetics, biodiversity and their ecology. This information is then integrated into developments of conservation biology theory and practice. She is also passionate about science communication and citizen science based research approaches. 

There are four main themes Dawn is currently expanding and developing in conservation biology. These fundamentally address some of the long term consequences of our current approaches to conservation.

Species responses to anthropogenic landscape change and management: Investigating the ecological response of species and biodiversity to habitat change, for example, urbanisation, coastal flooding, anthropogenic activities and management.

Human-carnivore conflict: Investigating the ecological and socio-economic issues surrounding human-carnivore conflict in South Africa and urban carnivores in the UK.

Landscape conservation genetics: The genetic consequences of landscape structure and permeability on wildlife population genetics, using jackal and brown hyena populations in South Africa, and, hazel dormice and water voles in the UK as models to investigate this.

Behavioural responses to management to inform conservation: As part of an interdisciplinary team, we are investigating the impact of landscape and animal managment on animal beahviour focusing on species of conservation concern including the white rhino in South Africa and hedgehogs in the UK.

Education/Academic qualification

University of Brighton

PhD, University of Durham


  • QL Zoology
  • Ecology
  • Mammal
  • Conservation Science
  • QH301 Biology

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics where Dawn Scott is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • 4 Similar Profiles
jackals Agriculture & Biology
small mammals Agriculture & Biology
carnivore Earth & Environmental Sciences
habitats Agriculture & Biology
Gliridae Agriculture & Biology
Canis Agriculture & Biology
grazing Earth & Environmental Sciences
South Africa Agriculture & Biology

Network Recent external collaboration on country level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots.

Research Output 2002 2019

Should rehabilitated hedgehogs be released in winter? A comparison of survival, nest use and weight change in wild and rescued animals

Yarnell, R., Surgey, J., Grogan, A., Thompson, R., Davies, K., Kimborough, C. & Scott, D., 3 Jan 2019, In : European Journal of Wildlife Research. 65, 1, 6.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Open Access
nesting behavior

Using drones and sirens to elicit avoidance behaviour in white rhinoceros as an anti-poaching tactic

Penny, S., White, R., Scott, D., MacTavish, L. M. & Pernetta, A., 17 Jul 2019, In : Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. 286, 1907, p. 20191135 20191135.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Open Access
drones (insects)
avoidance behavior
honey bees

A citizen science based survey method for estimating the density of urban carnivores

Scott, D., Baker, R., Charman, N., Karlsson, H., Yarnell, R., Mill, A., Smith, G. & Tolhurst, B., 22 May 2018, In : PLoS ONE.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Open Access
survey method
suburban area
Open Access
environmental education
primary school

Overwinter survival and post-release movements of translocated water voles: implications for current mitigation guidance

Baker, R., Scott, D., Keeling, C. & Dwight, C., 20 Sep 2018, In : European Journal of Wildlife Research. 64, 56, p. 1-13

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Open Access

Activities 2016 2018

  • 2 Oral presentation
  • 1 Membership of professional body

The Mammal Society (External organisation)

Dawn Scott (Member)
2018 → …

Activity: External boards and professional/academic bodiesMembership of professional body

Human Carnviore Conflict and Coexistence

Dawn Scott (Presenter)
7 Nov 2018

Activity: External talk or presentationOral presentation

The impacts of dehorning on the southern white rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum simum)

Samuel Penny (Presenter), Rachel White (Presenter), Dawn Scott (Presenter), Angelo Pernetta (Presenter)
14 Nov 2016

Activity: External talk or presentationOral presentation