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Personal profile

Research interests

I am a conservation ecologist, with particular research interests in behavioural ecology, conservation physiology and bioacoustics.

Current Research Projects:

Conserving endangered rhinos in South Africa

Context-specific vocal communication in the White-handed gibbons

Building a future for Malagasy Amphibians

Scholarly biography

I graduated with a First Class (Hons) BSc in Biological Science from the University of Bristol in 2011. My subsequent master’s degree in ecology and conservation was jointly supervised by University of Bristol and Bristol Zoological Society. This research focused on how amphibian populations are affected by anthropogenic disturbance, and was conducted in conjunction with an EAZA-funded conservation project to survey Madagascar’s herpetofauna and identify actions to protect it. Following this, I worked as a research assistant for the University of Neuchâtel, studying context-specific vocal communication in white-handed gibbons in Thailand in 2014, before joining the University of Brighton’s Rhino Conservation project in 2015 as a PhD student.

Approach to teaching

I teach across a range of biological sciences pathways with a focus on conservation, ecology and quantitative methods. This includes the teaching of students on Foundation, Undergraduate and Postgraduate courses, specifically those undertaking degrees in Biomedical Science, Biological Sciences, Ecology, and Pharmacy. 

Much of my teaching focuses on research methods and data analysis, particularly the teaching of statistics to biological and biomedical science students (Modules: Foundation Study Skills, Essential Skills For Bioscientists; Research skills and professional development).

I teach across a range of biological displicines including in both terrestrial and marine ecology, behavioural ecology and wildlife conservation (Modules: Foundation Biology; Diversity of Life; Behavioural and Evolutionary Biology; Introduction to Ecology & Conservation; Terrestrial Ecosystems; Introduction to Marine Biology and Ecology; Managing Populations in Ecology and Conservation; Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems; Hot Topics in Ecology & Conservation; Issues in Ecology and Conservation). I am also involved with project supervision (MRes Research Project).


Supervisory Interests

I am interested in supervising postgraduate research students in the following areas: behavioural ecology; conservation physiology; bioacoustics; herpetology; human-wildlife conflict.

Education/Academic qualification

Master, University of Bristol

1 Oct 20111 Jun 2013

Award Date: 1 Jun 2013

Bachelor, University of Bristol

1 Oct 20081 Jul 2011

Award Date: 11 Jul 2011

PhD, University of Brighton

1 Oct 20151 Oct 2019


  • QL Zoology
  • Ecology
  • Conservation Science

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Research Output

A new stump-toed frog from the transitional forests of NW Madagascar (Anura, Microhylidae, Cophylinae, Stumpffia)

Crottini, A., Rosa, G. M., Penny, S., Cocca, W., Holderied, M. W., Rakotozafy, L. M. S. & Andreone, F., 18 May 2020, In : Zookeys. 2020, 933, p. 139-164 26 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
  • Does dehorning lead to a change in inter-calf intervals in free-ranging white rhinoceros?

    Penny, S., White, R., MacTavish, D., MacTavish, L. M., Scott, D. & Pernetta, A., 8 Oct 2020, In : Pachyderm. 61, p. 191-193

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Open Access

    White-handed gibbons discriminate context-specific song compositions

    Andrieu, J., Penny, S. G., Bouchet, H., Malaivijitnond, S., Reichard, U. H. & Zuberbühler, K., 3 Aug 2020, In : PeerJ. 8, 9477.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Open Access
  • 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 journalArticle

    Open Access
  • Combining old and new evidence to increase the known biodiversity value of the Sahamalaza Peninsula, Northwest Madagascar

    Penny, S. G., Crottini, A., Andreone, F., Bellati, A., Rakotozafy, L. M. S., Holderied, M. W., Schwitzer, C. & Rosa, G. M., 22 Dec 2017, In : Contributions to Zoology. 86, 4, p. 273-295 23 p., 86.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Open Access
  • Activities

    The impact of electric fences on ground pangolin (Smutsia temminckii) population parameters and behavioural ecology

    Bryony Tolhurst (Supervisor), Samuel Penny (Supervisor) & Niall Burnside (Supervisor)

    1 Oct 2020 → …

    Activity: External examination and supervisionResearch degree

    European Journal of Wildlife Research (Journal)

    Samuel Penny (Reviewer)

    15 Oct 2019

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial workPublication Peer-review

    Animal Conservation (Journal)

    Samuel Penny (Reviewer)

    23 Sep 2019

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial workPublication Peer-review

    Student Conference on Conservation Science

    Samuel Penny (Participant)

    25 Mar 201928 Mar 2019

    Activity: EventsConference