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Dr Jenni McDonald

Dr Jenni McDonald

Associate Research Fellow

 The Farmhouse 

 

The Farmhouse, University of Exeter, Penryn Campus, Cornwall, TR10 9FE, UK

I'm currently a postdoctoral research associate at the Exeter University (Penryn campus). I am working on a NERC grant with Dr. Dave Hodgson to investigate the demographic buffering hypothesis, a theory that predicts that important life history traits should be buffered against environmental change. I have a background in population ecology and disease ecology, and my research interests range from comparative demography and the evolution of life histories, to the socio-environmental importance of cat ownership in the UK.

I am a member of the Equality and Diversity Working Group.

Broad research specialisms:

  • Matrix population modelling
  • Bayesian population analysis
  • Capture-Mark-Recapture

Qualifications

2008 BSc (Hons) Zoology (1st) Reading University
2010 MSc Conservation and Biodiversity (Distinction) University of Exeter
2014 PhD Biological Science University of Exeter

Research

Research interests

Broad research interests

  • The ecological impact and social dimension of domestic cat ownership
  • Conservation
  • Animal welfare
  • Demographic patterns that allude to the evolution of wild life histories
  • Conservation
  • Disease ecology
  • Population biology
  • Comparative demography

Research projects

Are life histories really buffered against environmental change?

Has demographic buffering evolved to protect populations, or is it a consequence of demographic scales?

This three year project uses a global database of demographic models, coupled with simulated life histories, to interrogate the demographic buffering hypothesis – which predicts traits that have a large influence on fitness are stabilized against environmental change by buffering that trait.

The socio-environmental importance of cat ownership

I am interested in understanding the links between cats, cat owners, and biodiversity. The domestic cat is a valued companion animal but also a predator of native species. 

My previous research suggests owners are more receptive to management with obvious welfare benefits, however further work is required to improve our understanding of the ecological and cat welfare implications of this issue.

This is where The Small Cat Project comes in, a Citizen Science project setup to help discover the secret life of cats across Cornwall. This project aims to explore how cats interact with their environment. 

The disease and demographic dynamics of an infected badger population

By utilising novel statistical tools this project aims to estimate and understand key demographic and epidemiological parameters occurring within an infected badger population.

My previous work has focussed on the demographic and epidemiological mechanisms underlying badger population dynamics.

 

Key publications | Publications by category | Publications by year

Key publications


McDonald JL, Franco M, Townley S, Ezard THG, Jelbert K, Hodgson DJ (2017). Divergent demographic strategies of plants in variable environments. Nature Ecology & Evolution, 1(2), 0029-0029. Full text.
McDonald JL, Cleasby IR, Brodbelt DC, Church DB, O'Neill DG (2017). Mortality due to trauma in cats attending veterinary practices in central and south-east England. J Small Anim Pract, 58(10), 570-576. Abstract.  Author URL.
McDonald JL, Bailey T, Delahay RJ, McDonald RA, Smith GC, Hodgson DJ (2016). Demographic buffering and compensatory recruitment promotes the persistence of disease in a wildlife population. Ecology Letters (under final revision) Full text.
Mcdonald JL, Stott I, Townley S, Hodgson DJ (2016). Transients drive the demographic dynamics of plant populations in variable environments. Journal of Ecology, 104(2), 306-314. Abstract.  Full text.
Mcdonald JL, Maclean M, Evans MR, Hodgson DJ (2015). Reconciling actual and perceived rates of predation by domestic cats. Ecology and Evolution, 5(14), 2745-2745. Abstract.
McDonald JL, Smith GC, McDonald RA, Delahay RJ, Hodgson D (2014). Mortality trajectory analysis reveals the drivers of sex-specific epidemiology in natural wildlife-disease interactions. Proc Biol Sci, 281(1790). Abstract.  Author URL.  Full text.

Publications by category


Journal articles

Bearhop S, Cleasby IR, Bodey TW, Vigfusdottir F, McDonald JL, McElwaine G, Mackie K, Colhoun K (In Press). Climatic conditions produce contrasting influences on demographic traits in a long distance Arctic migrant. Journal of Animal Ecology Full text.
McDonald JL, Robertson A, Silk MJ (2018). Wildlife disease ecology from the individual to the population: Insights from a long-term study of a naturally infected European badger population. J Anim Ecol, 87(1), 101-112. Abstract.  Author URL.  Full text.
McDonald JL, Franco M, Townley S, Ezard THG, Jelbert K, Hodgson DJ (2017). Divergent demographic strategies of plants in variable environments. Nature Ecology & Evolution, 1(2), 0029-0029. Full text.
McDonald JL, Cleasby IR, Brodbelt DC, Church DB, O'Neill DG (2017). Mortality due to trauma in cats attending veterinary practices in central and south-east England. J Small Anim Pract, 58(10), 570-576. Abstract.  Author URL.
McDonald JL, Bailey T, Delahay RJ, McDonald RA, Smith GC, Hodgson DJ (2016). Demographic buffering and compensatory recruitment promotes the persistence of disease in a wildlife population. Ecology Letters (under final revision) Full text.
Weegman MD, Bearhop S, Fox AD, Hilton GM, Walsh AJ, McDonald JL, Hodgson DJ (2016). Integrated population modelling reveals a perceived source to be a cryptic sink. J Anim Ecol, 85(2), 467-475. Abstract.  Author URL.  Full text.
Mcdonald JL, Stott I, Townley S, Hodgson DJ (2016). Transients drive the demographic dynamics of plant populations in variable environments. Journal of Ecology, 104(2), 306-314. Abstract.  Full text.
Mcdonald JL, Maclean M, Evans MR, Hodgson DJ (2015). Reconciling actual and perceived rates of predation by domestic cats. Ecology and Evolution, 5(14), 2745-2745. Abstract.
Hodgson D, McDonald JL, Hosken DJ (2015). Resilience is Complicated, but Comparable: a Reply to Yeung and Richardson. Trends in Ecology and Evolution
Hodgson D, McDonald JL, Hosken DJ (2015). What do you mean, 'resilient'?. Trends in Ecology and Evolution Abstract.  Full text.
McDonald JL, Smith GC, McDonald RA, Delahay RJ, Hodgson D (2014). Mortality trajectory analysis reveals the drivers of sex-specific epidemiology in natural wildlife-disease interactions. Proc Biol Sci, 281(1790). Abstract.  Author URL.  Full text.
Weber NL, Carter SP, Dall SRX, Delahay RJ, McDonald JL, Bearhop S, McDonald RA (2013). Badger social networks correlate with tuberculosis infection. Current Biology, 23(20), R915-R916. Abstract.
Graham J, Smith GC, Delahay RJ, Bailey TC, McDonald RA, Hodgson D (2013). Multistate modelling reveals sex-dependent transmission, progression and severity of tuberculosis in wild badgers. Epidemiology and Infection, 141, 1417-1427.

Publications by year


In Press

Bearhop S, Cleasby IR, Bodey TW, Vigfusdottir F, McDonald JL, McElwaine G, Mackie K, Colhoun K (In Press). Climatic conditions produce contrasting influences on demographic traits in a long distance Arctic migrant. Journal of Animal Ecology Full text.

2018

McDonald JL, Robertson A, Silk MJ (2018). Wildlife disease ecology from the individual to the population: Insights from a long-term study of a naturally infected European badger population. J Anim Ecol, 87(1), 101-112. Abstract.  Author URL.  Full text.

2017

McDonald JL, Franco M, Townley S, Ezard THG, Jelbert K, Hodgson DJ (2017). Divergent demographic strategies of plants in variable environments. Nature Ecology & Evolution, 1(2), 0029-0029. Full text.
McDonald JL, Cleasby IR, Brodbelt DC, Church DB, O'Neill DG (2017). Mortality due to trauma in cats attending veterinary practices in central and south-east England. J Small Anim Pract, 58(10), 570-576. Abstract.  Author URL.

2016

McDonald JL, Bailey T, Delahay RJ, McDonald RA, Smith GC, Hodgson DJ (2016). Demographic buffering and compensatory recruitment promotes the persistence of disease in a wildlife population. Ecology Letters (under final revision) Full text.
Weegman MD, Bearhop S, Fox AD, Hilton GM, Walsh AJ, McDonald JL, Hodgson DJ (2016). Integrated population modelling reveals a perceived source to be a cryptic sink. J Anim Ecol, 85(2), 467-475. Abstract.  Author URL.  Full text.
Mcdonald JL, Stott I, Townley S, Hodgson DJ (2016). Transients drive the demographic dynamics of plant populations in variable environments. Journal of Ecology, 104(2), 306-314. Abstract.  Full text.

2015

Mcdonald JL, Maclean M, Evans MR, Hodgson DJ (2015). Reconciling actual and perceived rates of predation by domestic cats. Ecology and Evolution, 5(14), 2745-2745. Abstract.
Hodgson D, McDonald JL, Hosken DJ (2015). Resilience is Complicated, but Comparable: a Reply to Yeung and Richardson. Trends in Ecology and Evolution
Hodgson D, McDonald JL, Hosken DJ (2015). What do you mean, 'resilient'?. Trends in Ecology and Evolution Abstract.  Full text.

2014

McDonald JL, Smith GC, McDonald RA, Delahay RJ, Hodgson D (2014). Mortality trajectory analysis reveals the drivers of sex-specific epidemiology in natural wildlife-disease interactions. Proc Biol Sci, 281(1790). Abstract.  Author URL.  Full text.

2013

Weber NL, Carter SP, Dall SRX, Delahay RJ, McDonald JL, Bearhop S, McDonald RA (2013). Badger social networks correlate with tuberculosis infection. Current Biology, 23(20), R915-R916. Abstract.
Graham J, Smith GC, Delahay RJ, Bailey TC, McDonald RA, Hodgson D (2013). Multistate modelling reveals sex-dependent transmission, progression and severity of tuberculosis in wild badgers. Epidemiology and Infection, 141, 1417-1427.

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