Dr Alastair Ward

Dr Alastair Ward


I joined the University of Leeds in January 2022 as Associate Professor of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Management. I was awarded a PhD in Environment from the University of York in 2001 after which I worked for the British Deer Society for 16 months. I then moved into civil service, working for the Central Science Laboratory as a wildlife researcher from 2003-2009, which then joined the Food and Environment Research Agency, then the Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency and finally the Animal and Plant Health Agency between 2009-2016, where I became Team Leader and then Deputy Head of Department in the National Wildlife Management Centre. As part of these roles I undertook a secondment to Defra’s Invasive Non-Native and Protected Species Team from 2011-2012 working on aquatic biosecurity policy, and a further secondment to the Deer Initiative as Research and Operations Director from 2016-2018. I worked part-time for the APHA from 2015 in order to become a part-time Senior Lecturer in Zoology at the University of Hull. I moved to full-time work for the University of Hull from 2019 on becoming the Head of Department for the Department of Biological and Marine Sciences.


  • Programme Leader, Zoology

Research interests

I get excited about all aspects of human-wildlife conflict resolution. My motivation is to contribute to the co-existence of people and wildlife. I like to understand how wildlife populations and individual animals operate across their landscapes, how they interact with people (and vice versa) and impact anthropocentric interests, how people use information to make decisions about managing those impacts, and how those decisions can be influenced to ensure the successful delivery of well-considered management plans. Consequently, my research tends to be collaborative and inter-disciplinary, blending ecology, social science and conservation psychology. Recent research themes have included invasive non-native species assessment and management, protected species conservation, woodland biodiversity conservation, biosecurity and wildlife disease.

<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>


  • Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice (University of Hull)
  • PhD in Environment (University of York)
  • MRes Ecology and Environmental Management (University of York)
  • BSc Zoology (University of Glasgow)

Professional memberships

  • Advance HE (Fellow)
  • IUCN/SSC Deer Specialist Group
  • British Deer Society, Science and Research Committee (Chair)
  • The Mammal Society, Science Committee

Student education

My approach to teaching and learning is interactive, blended and inclusive. I strive to ensure that all students have access to all learning opportunities by employing technology (such as 360 degree video cameras for online fieldtrips), promoting interactive engagement (eg using Mentimeter and Socrative during structured teaching sessions) and providing opportunities for deeper learning via the provision of supplementary resources.

I primarily teach topics on wildlife ecology, field ecology, biological conservation, wildlife management and environmental management.
I enthusiastically supervise undergraduate and postgraduate research projects, and favour developing project ideas in partnership with students. In recent years this has resulted in projects investigating the biodiversity of farm hedgerow gaps, behavior of female red deer in relation to their maternal status, the biogeography of mammoths, recolonization of Scotland by Eurasian beaver and niche overlap between extinct and extant bovids on Mediterranean islands.


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>