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Faculty of Health and Life Sciences

 Suzanne Richardson

Suzanne Richardson

PhD student



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


I am interested in the interactions between humans and wildlife, applying ecological principles in practical ways in the context of the human environment.  My background is in Zoology, in which I completed my BSc at Royal Holloway, University of London.  My undergraduate thesis was researching the behaviour of wild Buton macaques (Macaca brunnescens) in Southeast Sulawesi, Indonesia, a species which was particularly understudied.  This project work in conjunction with 'Operation Wallacea' developed my skills in research design and data analysis.  I then went on to complete my MSc in Wildlife Management and Conservation at Reading University in 2006. This masters covered a wide range of practical and theoretical aspects of conservation. My MSc thesis evaluated the distance sampling survey technique, using domestic sheep as a model population. This research was a joint project with the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT) and led to a publication in 'Wildlife Research'.  On completion of my MSc I was employed as a research assistant at the GWCT, during the five years at the Trust I gained valuable experience in a wide range of statistical and practical techniques which led to a series of publications.  Concurrently in my spare time I volunteered for Natural England and Bat Conservation Trust, gaining experience in bat conservation research and obtained my bat roost visitor license which led onto my PhD, starting in 2011 with Dr Fiona Mathews and Professor Dave Hosken at the University of Exeter. My PhD focuses on the impact of wind turbines on bats in the UK, with particular focus on understanding the reasons for their impact. This project is a DEFRA funded project and works in collaboration with Scottish Natural Heritage, Countryside Council for Wales, Department of Energy and Climate Change, Renewable UK, and Bat Conservation Trust.

Broad research specialism

  • Applied ecology
  • Wildlife management


2006 MSc Wildlife Management and Conservation, Reading University
2003 BSc (Hons) Zoology, Royal Holloway, University of London

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Research projects

Project Title: The impact of wind turbines on bats in the UK.

Supervisors: Dr Fiona Mathews and Professor Dave Hosken

Funding Body: Defra

Project Description: Numerous surveys to quantify the impact of wind turbines on bats have been conducted in America and in many countries in Europe. Despite high bat fatalities, no study has yet been conducted in the UK to quantify any impacts. To estimate the number of bat fatalities, trained search dogs are being used to find bat carcasses at wind turbine sites throughout the UK. In addition, at each site extensive acoustic monitoring is being conducted both at ground and at height to explore the relationship between activity index and the number of fatalities. I am using an Infra-Red camera to identify the relationship between activity index and actual numbers of bats within the 'rotor-swept area'. This will enable us to make a better estimate of the number of bats at risk of collision. I am also sampling insect diversity and biomass at individual turbines and control sites to investigate whether they are attracted to turbines and hence drawing in foraging bats.


S. M. Richardson. (2012). Can ground-level bat surveys be used as a predictor of activity at the level of turbine blades? 2nd prize for a poster presented at the student mammal conference.

M. J. Short, A. W. Weldon, S. M. Richardson, and J. C. Reynolds. (2012). Selectivity and Injury Risk in an IMproved Neck Snare for Live-Capture of Foxes. Wildlife Society Bulletin 36(2):208-219.

T. A. Porteus, M. Short, S. M. Richardson, J. C. Reynolds. (2011). Empirical Development of Strategy for the Control of Invasive American Mink by Trapping. European Journal of Wildlife Research 58:403-413.

T. A. Porteus, S. M. Richardson, and J. C. Reynolds. (2011). The Importance of Survey Design in Distance Sampling: Field Evaluation Using Domestic Sheep. Wildlife Research 38(3):221-234.

J. A. Ewald, N. J. Aebischer, S. M. Richardson, P. V. Grice, and A. I. Cooke.  (2010). The Effect of Agri-Environment Schemes on Grey Partridges at the Farm Level in England. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment 138(1-2): 55-63.

J. C. Reynolds, T. A. Porteus, S. M. Richardson, R. J. Leigh, and M. J. Short. (2010). Detectability of American Mink Using Mink Rafts to Solicit Field Signs in a Population Control Context. The Journal of Wildlife Management 74(7):1601-1606.

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