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 Clare Benton

Clare Benton

PhD researcher

 01453 861400



Having completed my MSc at the Centre for Ecology and Conservation, I was taken on full-time by the Animal Health & Veterinary Laboratories Agency (AHVLA) as an Ecologist in their Wildlife Team, where I have worked since. My responsibilities include conducting TB diagnostic testing, stakeholder communications, GIS, data management and analysis as well as working on a range of projects relating specifically to wildlife vaccination; both oral and injectable. I am undertaking PhD studies on a part-time basis around my regular work.

Broad research specialisms:

  • Wildlife Disease – wildlife vaccines,
  • bio-security Bovine Tuberculosis


2007-2008 MSc Conservation & Biodiversity – University of Exeter (Cornwall Campus)
2003 -2006 BSc Biological Sciences (Conservation & Ecology) – University of Exeter


Research projects

Project Title: Spatio-temporal distribution and persistence of Mycobacterium bovis in wildlife populations

Supervisors: Dr Dez Delahay (AHVLA), Dr Dave Hodgson, Dr Angus Buckling

Funding Body: Animal Health & Veterinary Laboratories Agency (AHVLA)

Project Description:
Bovine TB (Mycobacterium bovis) remains an important disease of livestock in the UK. My PhD research is focused on investigating spatio-temporal patterns of M.bovis infection within wildlife populations. I am looking at variation in disease prevalence and incidence in space and time, as well as variation in the appearance of different genotypes of M.bovis using previously unanalyzed data obtained from spoligotyping, VNTR (variable nucleotide tandem repeat) typing and whole genome analysis of culture isolates, in collaboration with the University of Glasgow.


Oral Presentations:

  • Using molecular techniques to investigate TB dynamics in a wildlife host population (VI International M. bovis Conference, Cardiff, June 2014)
  • TB Wildlife Reservoirs (Bovine Tuberculosis Workshop, University of Glasgow, May 2013)
  • Fine scale TB transmission dynamics (European Wildlife Disease Association Student Chapter Workshop, Annecy, April 2013)

Poster Presentations:

  • Molecular Approaches and Long-Term Datasets: Uncovering the Drivers of Disease in Wildlife Populations (Highly Commended)
    10th Biennial Conference of the European Wildlife Disease Association, Edinburgh, August 2014
  • Spatio-temporal Patterns of M.bovis Molecular Types (Highly Commended)
    (Joint 61st WDA/10th Biennial EWDA Conference, Lyon, July 2012)
  • Seasonal variation in wildlife visits to farm buildings (Mammal Society Conference, Winchester, 2009)


  • Benton CH., Delahay, RJ., Robertson, A., McDonald, RA., Wilson, AJ., Burke, TA., Hodgson, DJ. (2016). Blood thicker than water: kinship, disease prevalence and group size drive divergent patterns of infection risk in a social mammal. Proceedings of the Royal Society B. Vol 283. No. 1835.
  • Benton CH., Delahay, RJ., Trewby, H., Hodgson, DJ. (2015). What has molecular epidemiology ever done for wildlife disease research? Past contributions and future directions. European Journal of Wildlife Research. 61(1),1-16.
  • Taylor, M., Wigmore, C., Hodgson, D., Wedell, N. & Hosken, D. (2008). Multiple mating increases female fitness in Drosophila simulans. Animal Behaviour. 76 (3) 963:970.


Supervision / Group

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