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Faculty of Health and Life Sciences

Dr Orly Razgour

Dr Orly Razgour

Senior Lecturer in Ecology and Director of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion


 01392 727681

 Hatherly C13B


Hatherly Building, University of Exeter, Prince of Wales Road, Exeter, EX4 4PS, UK


I am a molecular ecologist and conservation biologist, researching evolutionary and ecological responses to global environmental change.

My research sits at the interface between ecology, molecular biology, evolutionary biology and physical geography. I aim to understand how environmental heterogeneity at different spatial and temporal scales affects geographical distributions, genetic composition and ecological interactions. I carry out multidisciplinary research, combining genomic tools with ecological research and spatial, ecological and mathematical modelling. My research is applied in nature, aiming to provide the evidence base for managing our environment and conserving biodiversity. Much of my research has focused on bats as indicators of environmental change.

My group is involved in projects across Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Latin America and South-East Asia.


2013 PhD Biological Sciences, University of Bristol

2008 MSc Ecology, Institutes for Desert Research, Ben-Gurion University

2006 BSc Biodiversity Conservation, DICE, University of Kent


2019 – Present Senior Lecturer, University of Exeter

2016 – 2019 Lecturer, University of Southampton

2015 – 2021 NERC Independent Research Fellow

2015 – Present Associated Researcher, CIBIO/InBio. University of Porto

2013 – 2015 Impact Research Fellow, University of Stirling

2013 GIS Specialist, Bat Conservation Trust

Research group links

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Research interests

My research programme addresses biodiversity responses to global environmental changes through four main areas of investigation:

1. Genomic approaches to studying species responses to climate change

Understanding the genetic basis of environmental adaptations is essential for predicting biodiversity responses to global change. I use genomic datasets (ddRAD-sequencing, RNA-sequencing, metagenomics) and combine population genomics and ecological approaches to identify signatures of climatic adaptations and project their effects on population persistence. My research focuses on the role of phenotypic plasticity and the gut microbiota versus genetic adaptations in facilitating species responses to climate change.

2. Relating landscape and environmental heterogeneity to movement processes

Geographic and environmental features of the landscape can structure genetic variation via their effect on dispersal and gene flow. Landscape genetics offers an interdisciplinary approach for relating spatial genetic patterns to the effects of environmental heterogeneity on the movement of organisms. I am particularly interested in the effects of anthropogenic land use changes and fragmentation on landscape connectivity and movement, and relating landscape connectivity to species’ range shifts under future climate change.

3. Ecological interactions and resource partitioning across spatial scales

My research group develops approaches to integrate interspecific interactions into broad-scale distribution models and fine-scale analysis of community composition and ecological requirements. We also use DNA metabarcoding to identify fine-scale patterns of trophic and habitat partitioning among competing species.

4. Biogeography and evolutionary history

Understanding how past climatic fluctuations during the Pleistocene affected the distribution of species and patterns of genetic variation across their ranges can help predict biodiversity responses to future changes. My research combines genetic and environmental data with spatial modelling and approximate Bayesian computation model-based inference to determine how past climatic changes shaped the evolutionary history and biogeography of species with different distributions and ecological requirements.

Research networks

ClimBats COST Action Network on bats and climate change - Working Group leader (

Earth Hologenome Initative - Scientific Committee, project coordinator (

British Ecological Society Climate Change Group - Chair (

UNEP EUROBATS Agreement - Scientific Advisory Committee, Intersessional Working Group on bats and climate change 

Research grants

  • 2022 Natural Environment Research Council
    NERC Standard Grant – ‘Understanding population level effects of artificial lighting on biodiversity - a novel interdisciplinary approach using bats as models’
  • 2022 JNCC
    Developing molecular approaches to study historic population declines in UK bats
  • 2022 Exeter University
    Developing a cross-European Adaptation Hologenomics network
  • 2020 GW4
    Valuing ecosystem services provided by UK bats under climate change
  • 2019 EU COST Action
    Climate change and bats: from science to conservation (CLIMBATS)
  • 2019 NERC
    Pilot project grant: Identifying the genomic basis of adaptations to arid environments in bats
  • 2019 NERC
    INSPIRE NERC DTP PhD studentship: Investigating the effects of environmental change on tropical montane bats
  • 2018 FCT (Portugal)
    BatPine: Promoting the resilience of ecosystem services to climate change: a case study with pine plantations, pine processionary moth and bats
  • 2018 NERC
    SPITFIRE NERC DTP PhD Studentship: Factors affecting the distribution of cryptic anurans in Malaysian montane forests
  • 2017 NERC
    SPITFIRE NERC DTP PhD Studentship: How will greening the desert affect bats and the ecosystem services they provide?
  • 2017 Global Biodiversity Information Facility
    Biodiversity Information for Development Grant: Mobilising Bat Occurrence Data in Zambia
  • 2015 NERC Advanced Fellowship
    Developing an integrated framework for investigating biodiversity responses to global environmental change
  • 2014 British Ecological Society (UK)
    Up in the air: researching ecological connectivity in sky island bats of the Ethiopian Highlands
  • 2014 Rufford Foundation
    Using genetic tools to assess the conservation status of cave-dwelling bats in southern Africa
  • 2014 Scottish Alliance for Geoscience, Environment and Society
    Early Career Researcher Exchanges Grant
  • 2013 University of Stirling Impact Fellowship
    Fight or flight: The spatial genomics of bat species response to climate change

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Journal articles

Razgour O, Montauban C, Festa F, Whitby D, Juste J, Ibáñez C, Rebelo H, Afonso S, Bekaert M, Jones G, et al (In Press). Applying genomic approaches to identify historic population declines in European forest bats. Journal of Applied Ecology Abstract.
Novella-Fernandez R, Juste J, Ibáñez C, Rebelo H, Russo D, Alberdi A, Kiefer A, Graham L, Paul H, Doncaster CP, et al (In Press). Broad-scale patterns of geographic avoidance between species emerge in the absence of fine-scale mechanisms of coexistence. Diversity and Distributions: a journal of conservation biogeography
Razgour O (In Press). Global genetic diversity status and trends: towards a suite of Essential Biodiversity Variables (EBVs) for genetic composition. Biological Reviews Abstract.
Moraes B, Razgour O, Souza- Alves JP, Boubli J, Bezerra B (In Press). Habitat suitability for primate conservation in north-east Brazil. Oryx: journal of fauna and flora international
Novella-Fernandez R, Ibañez C, Juste J, Clare EL, Doncaster CP, Razgour O (In Press). Trophic resource partitioning drives fine-scale coexistence in cryptic bat species. Ecology and Evolution
Leonard A, Abalos J, Adhola T, Aguirre W, Aizpurua O, Ali S, Andreone F, Aubret F, Ávila-Palma HD, Alcantara LFB, et al (2024). A global initiative for ecological and evolutionary hologenomics. Trends in Ecology & Evolution
Augusto AM, Raposeira H, Horta P, Mata VA, Aizpurua O, Alberdi A, Jones G, Razgour O, Santos SAP, Russo D, et al (2024). Bat diversity boosts ecosystem services: Evidence from pine processionary moth predation. Sci Total Environ, 912 Abstract.  Author URL.
Plowright RK, Ahmed AN, Coulson T, Crowther TW, Ejotre I, Faust CL, Frick WF, Hudson PJ, Kingston T, Nameer PO, et al (2024). Ecological countermeasures to prevent pathogen spillover and subsequent pandemics. Nat Commun, 15(1). Abstract.  Author URL.
Mitchell C, Bolam J, Bertola LD, Naude VN, Gonçalves da Silva L, Razgour O (2024). Leopard subspecies conservation under climate and land‐use change. Ecology and Evolution, 14(5). Abstract.
Froidevaux JSP, Toshkova N, Barbaro L, Benítez-López A, Kerbiriou C, Le Viol I, Pacifici M, Santini L, Stawski C, Russo D, et al (2023). A species-level trait dataset of bats in Europe and beyond. Scientific Data, 10(1). Abstract.
Festa F, Ancillotto L, Santini L, Pacifici M, Rocha R, Toshkova N, Amorim F, Benitez-Lopez A, Domer A, Hamidovic D, et al (2023). Bat responses to climate change: a systematic review. BIOLOGICAL REVIEWS, 98(1), 19-33.  Author URL.
Mata‐Guel EO, Soh MCK, Butler CW, Morris RJ, Razgour O, Peh KS (2023). Impacts of anthropogenic climate change on tropical montane forests: an appraisal of the evidence. Biological Reviews, 98(4), 1200-1224. Abstract.
Bhalla IS, Razgour O, Rigal F, Whittaker RJ (2023). Insectivorous bats in Indian rice fields respond to moonlight, temperature, and insect activity. Landscape Ecology, 38(11), 2947-2963. Abstract.
Bhalla IS, Razgour O, Rigal F, Whittaker RJ (2023). Landscape features drive insectivorous bat activity in Indian rice fields. Landscape Ecology, 38(11), 2931-2946. Abstract.
Bhalla IS, Razgour O, Rigal F, Whittaker RJ (2023). Landscape features drive insectivorous bat activity in Indian rice fields. LANDSCAPE ECOLOGY, 38(11), 2931-2946.  Author URL.
Jenkins GB, Beckerman AP, Bellard C, Benitez-Lopez A, Ellison AM, Foote CG, Hufton AL, Lashley MA, Lortie CJ, Ma Z, et al (2023). Reproducibility in ecology and evolution: Minimum standards for data and code. ECOLOGY AND EVOLUTION, 13(5).  Author URL.
Horta P, Raposeira H, Baños A, Ibáñez C, Razgour O, Rebelo H, Juste J (2022). Counteracting forces of introgressive hybridization and interspecific competition shape the morphological traits of cryptic Iberian Eptesicus bats. Scientific Reports, 12(1). Abstract.
Bellard C, Benítez‐López A, Razgour O, Santini L, Zhan A (2022). Recent developments in <i>Diversity and Distributions</i> and trends in the field. Diversity and Distributions, 28(10), 2038-2041.
Schäckermann J, Morris EJ, Alberdi A, Razgour O, Korine C (2022). The Contribution of Desert-Dwelling Bats to Pest Control in Hyper-Arid Date Agriculture. Diversity, 14(12), 1034-1034. Abstract.
Novella-Fernandez R, Juste J, Ibañez C, Nogueras J, Osborne PE, Razgour O (2022). The role of forest structure and composition in driving the distribution of bats in Mediterranean regions. Scientific Reports, 12(1). Abstract.
Riley J, Zeale MRK, Razgour O, Turpin J, Jones G (2021). Predicting the past, present and future distributions of an endangered marsupial in a semi‐arid environment. Animal Conservation, 24(5), 890-903. Abstract.
Aizpurua O, Nyholm L, Morris E, Chaverri G, Herrera Montalvo LG, Flores-Martinez JJ, Lin A, Razgour O, Gilbert MTP, Alberdi A, et al (2021). The role of the gut microbiota in the dietary niche expansion of fishing bats. Animal Microbiome, 3(1). Abstract.
Rocha R, Aziz SA, Brook CE, Carvalho WD, Cooper‐Bohannon R, Frick WF, Huang JC, Kingston T, López‐Baucells A, Maas B, et al (2020). Bat conservation and zoonotic disease risk: a research agenda to prevent misguided persecution in the aftermath of COVID‐19. Animal Conservation, 24(3), 303-307.
Alberdi A, Razgour O, Aizpurua O, Novella-Fernandez R, Aihartza J, Budinski I, Garin I, Ibanez C, Izagirre E, Rebelo H, et al (2020). DNA metabarcoding and spatial modelling link diet diversification with distribution homogeneity in European bats. Nature Communications, 11
White R, Razgour O (2020). Emerging zoonotic diseases originating in mammals: a systematic review of effects of anthropogenic land-use change. Mammal Review, 50, 336-352.
Razgour O, Kasso M, Santos H, Juste J (2020). Up in the air: threats to Afromontane biodiversity from climate change and habitat loss revealed by genetic monitoring of the Ethiopian Highlands bat. Evolutionary Applications: evolutionary approaches to environmental, biomedical and socio-economic issues, 14, 794-806.
Centeno‐Cuadros A, Razgour O, García‐Mudarra JL, Mingo‐Casas P, Sandonís V, Redondo A, Ibáñez C, Paz O, Martinez‐Alós S, Pérez Suarez G, et al (2019). Comparative phylogeography and asymmetric hybridization between cryptic bat species. Journal of Zoological Systematics and Evolutionary Research, 57(4), 1004-1018.
Razgour O, Forester B, Taggart JB, Bekaert M, Juste J, Ibáñez C, Puechmaille SJ, Novella-Fernandez R, Alberdi A, Manel S, et al (2019). Considering adaptive genetic variation in climate change vulnerability assessment reduces species range loss projections. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 116(21), 10418-10423. Abstract.
Alberdi A, Razgour O, Aizpurua O, Novella-Fernandez R, Aihartza J, Budinski I, Garin I, Ibáñez C, Izagirre E, Rebelo H, et al (2019). Diet diversification shapes broad-scale distribution patterns in European bats. Abstract.
Amorim F, Razgour O, Mata VA, Lopes S, Godinho R, Ibáñez C, Juste J, Rossiter SJ, Beja P, Rebelo H, et al (2019). Evolutionary history of the European free‐tailed bat, a tropical affinity species spanning across the Mediterranean Basin. Journal of Zoological Systematics and Evolutionary Research, 58(1), 499-518.
Razgour O, Taggart JB, Manel S, Juste J, Ibáñez C, Rebelo H, Alberdi A, Jones G, Park K (2018). An integrated framework to identify wildlife populations under threat from climate change. Mol Ecol Resour, 18(1), 18-31. Abstract.  Author URL.
Vasconcelos R, Razgour O, Tarroso P, Fasola M, Carranza S, Alves PC (2018). Combining molecular and landscape tools for targeting evolutionary processes in reserve design: an approach for islands. PLOS ONE, 13(7), e0200830-e0200830.
Razgour O, Persey M, Shamir U, Korine C (2018). The role of climate, water and biotic interactions in shaping biodiversity patterns in arid environments across spatial scales. Diversity and Distributions, 24(10), 1440-1452. Abstract.
Razgour O, Rebelo H, Di Febbraro M, Russo D (2016). Painting maps with bats: Species distribution modelling in bat research and conservation. Hystrix, 27(1). Abstract.
Jones M, Bertola LD, Razgour O (2016). Predicting the effect of interspecific competition on habitat suitability for the endangered african wild dog under future climate and land cover changes. Hystrix, 27(1). Abstract.
Razgour O (2015). Beyond species distribution modeling: a landscape genetics approach to investigating range shifts under future climate change. Ecological Informatics, 30, 250-256. Abstract.
Alberdi A, Gilbert MTP, Razgour O, Aizpurua O, Aihartza J, Garin I (2015). Contrasting population-level responses to Pleistocene climatic oscillations in an alpine bat revealed by complete mitochondrial genomes and evolutionary history inference. Journal of Biogeography, 42(9), 1689-1700. Abstract.
Razgour O, Salicini I, Ibáñez C, Randi E, Juste J (2015). Unravelling the evolutionary history and future prospects of endemic species restricted to former glacial refugia. Molecular Ecology, 24(20), 5267-5283. Abstract.
Razgour O, Rebelo H, Puechmaille SJ, Juste J, Ibáñez C, Kiefer A, Burke T, Dawson DA, Jones G (2014). Scale-dependent effects of landscape variables on gene flow and population structure in bats. Diversity and Distributions, 20(10), 1173-1185. Abstract.
Hope PR, Bohmann K, Gilbert MTP, Zepeda-Mendoza ML, Razgour O, Jones G (2014). Second generation sequencing and morphological faecal analysis reveal unexpected foraging behaviour by Myotis nattereri (Chiroptera, Vespertilionidae) in winter. Front Zool, 11 Abstract.  Author URL.
Razgour O, Juste J, Ibáñez C, Kiefer A, Rebelo H, Puechmaille SJ, Arlettaz R, Burke T, Dawson DA, Beaumont M, et al (2013). The shaping of genetic variation in edge-of-range populations under past and future climate change. Ecol Lett, 16(10), 1258-1266. Abstract.  Author URL.
Razgour O, Korine C, Saltz D (2011). Does interspecific competition drive patterns of habitat use in desert bat communities?. Oecologia, 167(2), 493-502. Abstract.
Razgour O, Clare EL, Zeale MRK, Hanmer J, Schnell IB, Rasmussen M, Gilbert TP, Jones G (2011). High-throughput sequencing offers insight into mechanisms of resource partitioning in cryptic bat species. Ecol Evol, 1(4), 556-570. Abstract.  Author URL.
Razgour O, Hanmer J, Jones G (2011). Using multi-scale modelling to predict habitat suitability for species of conservation concern: the grey long-eared bat as a case study. Biological Conservation, 144(12), 2922-2930.
Razgour O, Korine C, Saltz D (2010). Pond characteristics as determinants of species diversity and community composition in desert bats. Animal Conservation, 13(5), 505-513. Abstract.


Razgour O, Ibáñez C, Puechmaille SJ, Juste J (2023). Myotis nattereri Species Complex (M. nattereri, M. crypticus, and M. escalerai). In  (Ed) Handbook of the Mammals of Europe, Springer International Publishing, 355-395.
Razgour O, Ibáñez C, Puechmaille SJ, Juste J (2023). Myotis nattereri Species Complex (M. nattereri, M. crypticus, and M. escalerai). In  (Ed) Handbook of the Mammals of Europe, Springer International Publishing, 1-41.
Razgour O (2023). Plecotus austriacus Species Complex (P. austriacus, P. kolombatovici, P. gaisleri, P. teneriffae). In  (Ed) Chiroptera, Springer Nature, 635-669.
Razgour O (2023). Plecotus austriacus Species Complex (P. austriacus, P. kolombatovici, P. gaisleri, P. teneriffae). In  (Ed) Handbook of the Mammals of Europe, Springer Nature, 1-35.
Razgour O (2020). Plecotus austriacus Species Complex (P. austriacus, P. kolombatovici, P. gaisleri, P. teneriffae). In Hackländer K, Zachos F (Eds.) Handbook of the Mammals of Europe, Springer. Abstract.

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External Engagement and Impact


2014 – John Marsden Medal for best UK doctoral thesis in Biology, The Linnean Society of London

2013 – Faculty of Science Commendation for outstanding PhD thesis, University of Bristol

2012 – Vincent Weir Scientific Award for contribution to bat conservation research

2012 – Student talk prize Population Genetics Group Meeting, Glasgow

2011 – Student talk prize Ecological Genetics Group Meeting, London

2008 – Merav Ziv Award, Ben-Gurion University

2007 – Frederick Siegmund Prize, Ben-Gurion University

Advice to Government, Parliament, devolved and English regional administrations, other national, international, regional or local agencies; advice to non-government organisations and to private practice

Trustee of the Bat Conservation Trust

Chair British Ecological Society Climate Change Ecology Special Interest Group

Member of the Scientific Advisory Committee for UNEP EUROBATS Agreement

Natural England, Favourable Conservation Status reporting

EU Habitat Directive Article 17 reporting

Editorial responsibilities

Senior Editor Diversity and DIstributions

Associate Editor Journal of Applied Ecology

Editorial Board Mammal Review

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Supervision / Group

Postgraduate researchers

  • Connor Butler 2018-2022 NERC DTP PhD University of Southampton: Factors affecting the distribution of cryptic anurans in Malaysian montane forests
  • Penelope Fialas Valuing ecosystem services provided by UK bats under climate change; GW4 PhD studentship
  • Pedro Horta 2017-2021 PhD, CIBIO, University of Porto: Hybridisation as adaptive process of cryptic bat species to climate change
  • Erik Omar Mata Guel 2019-2022 CONACyT funded PhD University of Southampton: Effects of climate change on tropical montane forests
  • Evie Morris 2017-2021 NERC DTP PhD, University of Southampton: How will greening the desert affect bats and the ecosystem services they provide?
  • Roberto Novella-Fernandez 2016-2020 PhD University of Southampton: Investigating the role of ecological interactions in shaping species distributions and range shifts under climate change
  • Cristian Pizzigalli 2021-2025 - FCT PhD scholarship, CIBIO, University of Porto
  • Peter Syme 2019-2023 NERC DTP PhD University of Southampton: Investigating the effects of environmental change on tropical montane bats

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