Dr Jenni McDonald
Associate Research Fellow


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.


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