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Amy Fensome

PhD researcher

I am interested in research that explores the impact of anthropogenic environments on animal behaviour with an emphasis on developing evidence based solutions to minimize human-wildlife conflict.

I have long been fascinated with animal behaviour, evolution, ecology and conservation and feel fortunate that my PhD allows me to combine these passions in order to study the behaviour and physiology of a threatened species with a view to inform conservation strategy.

Another long-term interest of mine is the effective and imaginative communication of science. Until recently this interest has taken the form of avidly reading popular science books, stock-piling magazines, following one or two blogs and attending as many open lectures and conferences as I could. Since beginning my PhD I have taken the opportunity to join the Bioscience Press Gang ( and to enroll on relevant courses to develop my communication skills.

I graduated from the University of Sussex in 2011 before going on to do an MSc in Evolutionary and Behavioural Ecology at the University of Exeter’s Tremough campus. I am now based at the “other” Exeter as a NERC funded PhD researcher within the Mammalian Biology group headed by my supervisor Dr. Fiona Mathews.

I am a member of The Mammal Society, The British Ecological Society, The Society of Biology and the Bat Conservation Trust.

For further information about this project please visit my website at:


2012 MSc Evolutionary and Behavioural Ecology, University of Exeter
2011 BSc Biology, University of Sussex


Research projects

Project Title: “Habitat fragmentation and mammal conservation: productivity, stress and social networks"

Supervisors: Dr. Fiona Mathews and Dr. Darren Croft

Funding Body: NERC

Project Description:

Habitat loss and fragmentation are the primary threats facing global biodiversity. The extent to which anthropogenic alterations to the environment pose a threat to biodiversity have traditionally been assessed by determining the presence/absence of a species, mapping population distribution, calculating gene flow and genetic variation, and estimating population size, i.e. the focus has largely been on parameters at the population level. There is a trend towards complementing this research with an understanding of the underlying physiological and behavioural responses of individuals to habitat disturbance. Exploring the effects of habitat disturbance on physiological and behavioural parameters not only provides an opportunity to elucidate the mechanisms by which fragmentation causes population declines but they may act as “early indicators of populations in trouble before the stress of a disturbance significantly impacts reproduction or other measures of performance”(Ellis, McWhorter, & Maron, 2011). During the course of my PhD I will explore the effects of fragmentation on the behaviour and physiology of bats in the UK through a number of complementary avenues of research.

Ellis, R. D., McWhorter, T. J., & Maron, M. (2011). Integrating landscape ecology and conservation physiology. Landscape Ecology, 27(1), 1–12. doi:10.1007/s10980-011-9671-6


Find our more on my blog -

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