Dr Simon Goodman

Dr Simon Goodman


  • 2004-present Lecturer in Evolutionary Biology, School of Biology, University of Leeds
  • 2000-2004 Research Fellow, Institute of Zoology, Zoological Society of London
  • 1996-2000 Post-doc, Institute of Cell, Animal and Population Biology, University of Edinburgh
  • 1995-1996 Research Assistant, Dept. Genetics, University of Cambridge
  • 1991-1995 PhD, Dept. Genetics, University of Cambridge
  • 1988-1991 Honours degree, Dept. Genetics, University of Sheffield

Research interests

My research interests lie at the intersection of population genetics, disease ecology and conservation biology, and how addressing questions in these areas can inform solutions for more effective conservation of biodiversity. My works uses a combination of theoretical and empirical approaches, for example using models to test hypotheses about the evolution of disease resistance, comparative genomic techniques to examine genetic variation in host candidate genes in relation to specific wildlife diseases, or the importance of virus adaptation in host switches. I also use patterns of genetic variation in species of conservation concern or pathogens/vectors to understand conservation threats and inform management strategies. I have worked on a wide range of taxa including mammals (seals and sea lions, porpoises, deer, bats), invertebrates (mosquitoes, ticks), plus parasites and pathogens (haemoparasties, nematode worms, protozoa, Canine Distemper Virus and other paramxyoviruses).

Research in my group on disease ecology focuses on understanding disease risks to wildlife by looking at the ecology, abundance, distribution, structure and evolution of parasite and vector (e.g. mosquitoes and ticks) populations, and how these relate to environmental change and human activities. Since 2003, I have been principle investigator on a project evaluating wildlife disease introduction risks and impacts for the Galapagos Islands, which has involved coordinating collaborations with colleagues from the UK, USA and Ecuador. Our work in this area led to the development of critical new biosecurity measures for the Galapagos islands, and changes in Ecuadorian law aimed reducing the risk of new vector and disease introductions to the archipelago. For this work we were awarded the inaugural University of Leeds Vice-Chancellors Award for Research Impact (Medicine & Biological Sciences) in August 2015. More recently we have been evaluating the role of Trichomonas in declines of endangered turtle doves in the UK.

I have also worked extensively on marine mammal ecology, with a particular focus on threatened land locked seal populations such as the Caspian seal. Here I have led a large international team since 2004, using aerial surveys and satellite telemetry to look at population abundance and habitat use, and well as integrating work on genetics and health. In recognition of my expertise in this area I was invited to join the IUCN pinniped specialist group in 2008, and authored the Red List evaluations for Caspian and Baikal seals.

Much of my research has been in developing or middle income countries, and a major component of all my research has been to foster collaborations with local researchers and to put capacity building of both human and physical resources at the center of the work. Ultimately sustainable solutions to biodiversity and human health threats need highly skilled and experienced local scientists. To this end we seek to train scientists from the countries we work in and provide them with resources they need to enhance their own capacity to address important biodiversity and health issues themselves.

More information about my work, and opportunities to join the group can be found on my personal webpage: www.goodmanlab.org

<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="https://biologicalsciences.leeds.ac.uk/dir/research-projects">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>


  • BSc 1991, University of Sheffield
  • PhD 1996, University of Cambridge

Professional memberships

  • IUCN Pinniped Specialist Group

Student education

Undergraduate research project topics:

  • Population genetics & genomics, Evolutionary biology, Disease ecology & parasitology, Conservation Biology, Marine mammals

Postgraduate research projects & PhD studentship areas:

  • Population genetics & genomics, Evolutionary biology, Disease ecology & parasitology, Conservation Biology, Marine mammals

See also:

Research groups and institutes

  • Ecology and Evolution
  • Ecology and Conservation
  • Heredity, Development and Disease

Current postgraduate researchers

<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>We welcome enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="https://phd.leeds.ac.uk">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>
    <li><a href="//phd.leeds.ac.uk/project/1677-evaluating-the-potential-consequences-of-climate-heating-for-caspian-seals-and-ecosystem-services-in-the-caspian-sea">Evaluating the potential consequences of climate heating for Caspian seals and ecosystem services in the Caspian Sea</a></li>