Please see my Publications page for a list of all of my peer-reviewed research.
My main research interest is 'Evidence based decision making in Ex-situ and In-situ Conservation'.
This is a very broad area but very relevant to modern conservation as we often only have very little data, which is often of poor quality, on which to base decisions. Conservation science suffers from small sample sizes because by definition there are very few of the focal animals available for study - they are endangered that is why we need to conserve them. The other major problem is consistency in data, every zoo is different and every wild habitat is different so if we try and increase our sample sizes by undertaking multi-zoo or multi-site studies we complicate our study by having a wide range of confounding factors. These are other issues which may be impacting on the focus of the study and influencing the results. This means that traditional statistical analysis is often not reliable or useful.
My research portfolio has been and remains very diverse - that is because I am interested in lots of different things! But the key underlying focus is looking at tools and processes that support systematic and robust analysis of data so that the best evidence is used for decision making. These include Risk Analysis, Multi-Criteria Ranking Tools, Decision Trees and Epidemiological Frameworks.
My zoo based studies are often multi-institutional studies making use of the power of ZIMS and questionnaires to collect data for risk factor analysis - current projects using this technique are 'Reproductive Failure in Guenons' and 'Neonatal Mortality in Maned Wolves'.
My veterinary based research is focused around environmental and husbandry influences on clinical disease and how to develop best practice to improve health and welfare. Current projects include 'Epidemiology of Foot Lesions in Polar Bears'. I am also interested in tools to assess animal welfare and how welfare audits can translate into real outcomes.
Social behavioural in zoo animals is a further key research area. I feel strongly that failure to house animals in zoos in social groups that reflect their wild social structures compromises reproduction, rearing, natural behaviours and therefore welfare and well-being. Increasingly this is being recognised in species like elephants. I am currently working on projects investigating the impact of social structure on guenons, marmosets and rhino.