British Conservation Biologist

Happily, I passed my PhD exam 7 Feb 2022


I am a quantitative spatial ecologist based in northern England. 

My research provides evidence for conservation status assessments of wild fauna in temperate regions. I use geo-spatial tools and statistical methods to describe the distribution of animals and the ecosystems they occupy.  I focus particularly on vertebrates, how they use the landscape, their environmental and habitat preferences, and how they are influenced by human activities.  My findings inform policy development for habitat management and animal legal protections. I share a societal perspective, having empathy towards the sometimes necessary human activities which inadvertently affect animal populations.

My recent PhD at Manchester Metropolitan University concerns lagomorphs: mountain hares (Lepus timidus) and European brown hares (L. europaeus) occupying peatland habitats in the Peak District of northern England.  Highlights include:

Mountain hare population abundance and density estimate. Reporting an isolated population of ~3,500 individuals. Results are intriguing. Although the isolated Peak District mountain hare population has effectively the same fitness and susceptibility to demographic and environmental stochasticity across its range, it exhibits intensely localised abundance, caused by human factors.  Findings were published in Ecology and Evolution Bedson et al. 2022 Highest densities of mountain hares (Lepus timidus) associated with ecologically restored bog but not grouse moorland management

Ecological niche model. This identifies clear separation in the environmental and habitat preferences of the two lagomorph species, facilitated by subtle physiological and dietary differences.  Climate change is the number one threat to mountain hares. Findings were published in Acta Oecologica Bedson et al. 2021 Splitting hares: Current and future ecological niches predicted as distinctly different for two congeneric lagomorphs

Survey methods evaluations. I spent an entire winter comparing methods, to find which provided the most reliable (cv) density estimate for the least amount of effort and which was most suitable for time-series studies. This was published in Wildlife Biology (Oikos).  Bedson et al. 2021 Estimating density of mountain hares using distance sampling: a comparison of daylight visual surveys, night-time thermal imaging and camera traps

Genetic diversity. Genotyping hare species with microsatellites.  Owing to ancient migratory patterns, the mountain hare founder population, in Scotland, has the lowest diversity of all hare species in Europe.  My research is identifying genetic diversity in the Peak District and hybridisation with European brown hares.

Alongside since 2012 I have been assisting United States Fish and Wildlife Service with monitoring a critically-endangered sub-population of grizzly bears (Ursus arctus horribilis) in north west Montana, USA. These bears are the subject of genetic rescue translocation efforts.

Previously for my Master’s Conservation Biology, I assessed antelope population, age and sex structure, in Namibia and Tanzania at the Naankuse Wildlife Foundation. 

Please click on my website links to read more about my research interests.

Find out more on ResearchGate

If you have wildlife, environmental or GIS research opportunities, please contact me immediately. 

My email is