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Professor Dawn Scott

Dawn Scott

Executive Dean

School of Animal Rural & Environmental Sciences

Staff Group(s)
Head of School


Professor Scott is the Executive Dean for the School of Animal, Rural and Environmental Sciences.

Career overview

Prior to joining NTU, Professor Scott served as the Head of the School of Life Sciences at Keele University (2019-21) and as Deputy Head (Research and Enterprise) for the School of Pharmacy and Bimolecular Sciences (PABS) at the University of Brighton (2018-19). She joined Brighton as a Lecturer in 2001 and was promoted to Principle Lecturer in 2006. Following that, in 2010 she was promoted to Assistant Head for the School of PABS and also took on the role of Head of Biology and Biomedical Sciences Division in 2014. She became a Professor in Mammal Ecology and Conservation in 2018.

Professor Scott holds a BSc Hons in Biological Sciences and a PhD in 'Aspects of the ecology of desert-living small mammals' from the University of Durham, as well as a Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice from the University of Brighton. She was awarded a Senior Fellowship of the Higher Education Committee in 2017.

Research areas

Dawn's principal areas of research are focused on the interactions between humans and wildlife, such as, the consequences of anthropogenic change of the environment on mammalian communities, genetics, biodiversity and their ecology. This information is then integrated into developments of conservation biology theory and practice. She is also passionate about science communication and citizen science based research approaches.

There are four main themes she is currently working on in conservation biology. These fundamentally address some of the long term consequences of our current approaches to conservation.

Species responses to anthropogenic landscape change and management: Investigating the ecological response of species and biodiversity to habitat change and human activity, for example, urbanisation, wetland habitats, anthropogenic activities and management.

Human-wildlife coexistence: Investigating the ecological and socio-economic issues surrounding human-wildlife interactions in South Africa and in the UK.

‌Landscape conservation genetics: The genetic consequences of landscape structure and permeability on wildlife population genetics, using jackal and brown hyena populations in South Africa, and, hazel dormice and water voles in the UK as models to investigate this.

Behavioural responses to management to inform conservation practice: As part of an interdisciplinary team, she is investigating the impact of landscape and animal management on animal behaviour focusing on species of conservation concern including the white rhino in South Africa and urban mammals in the UK.

External activity

2018-present: Committee Member The Mammal Society

2019-2021: HUBS (Heads of Biology) Royal Society of Biology

2017- 2019: Naturehood Scientific Advisory Committee. Earthwatch Institute.

2017: Conference committee – ‘What’s the point of Conservation Science’ with ERT and UOB funded by BES, Brighton University Feb 2017. Publication being submitted to Nature.

2017: HEA Senior Fellowship (D3) Higher Education Academy.

2018: The Mammal Society: Training Committee Chair.

2013-2016: Royal Society of Biology, UK (Accreditation Panel).

2015- 2018: Council Member & Committee member - British Ecological Society. 1) Personnel Committee and 2) Education Training and Careers Committee and 3) Public Engagement Working Group (which reviews grants for funding). (Elected member)

2006-2019: Chair -Sussex Mammal Group

2010-2013: Trustee - Sussex Wildlife Trust.

2011: Scientific Committee - 29th European Mustelid Colloquium, Southampton.

2010: Conference Organiser - ialeUK ‘Future Landscape Ecology’ conference September.

2007-2011: Council Member - The Mammal Society

2003-2006: Member - Brighton and Hove City Council Wildlife Advisory Group

2002-2005:  Meetings Officer: Biogeography Research Group of the RGS with IBG

2007- current: IUCN Hyena Specialist Group

2005: Invited Expert - IUCN Global Mammal Assessment, Southwest Asia Region, Turkey, Nov.

Conference Contributions:

My research has been presented at international and national scientific conferences including:

  • International Mammal Congress, Belfast, Japan & South Africa.
  • International Association of Landscape Ecology UK Conference
  • International Elephant & Rhino Conservation and Research Symposium, Singapore
  • European Hedgehog Research Group
  • European Mustelid Colloquim, Southampton
  • British Ecological Society Annual Conference
  • The Mammal Society Annual Conference.
  • Royal Geographical Society -IBG conference and BES conference.

Public engagement:

Invited Lectures/public talks/community engagement events, I regularly present talks for local and national groups.

2021: Keele Postgraduate Plenary Speaker, Science Communication

2021: London Natural History Society, Urban Foxes

2020: Devon and Cornwall Mammal group

2020: Women in Science Invited speaker, Keele University, FNS

2019: Linnaean Society London, public lecture “Adaptions of urban mammals”

2019: Shoreham society: Urban mammals invited speaker

2018: Brains at the Bevy - local community invited speaker

2018: Inaugural Public lecture.

2017: Soap Box Science Speaker: (

2017: Story Collider for BSF (

2017: British Science Festival (BSF) Lecture: Wild Fury Urbanites.

2017: Hampshire Mammal Group: Annual meeting invited speaker.

2017: Brighton Museums Garden Wildlife event day

2016: Brighton and Hove Wildlife Forum - Urban mammals.

2014-2019: MSc in Citizen Science, University of Gloucester

2014 & 2016: Ferring Conservation and Wildlife group – Urban mammals.

2015: London Borough Council with RSPCA - Urban foxes.

2015: Earthwatch Institute Webinar-Rhinos in South Africa.

2015: ‘Foxycology’ Public lecture hosted by League Against Cruel Sports.

2013: Session Chair - Thinking beyond protected areas: human-wildlife coexistence in changing landscapes hosted by Earthwatch Institute.

2008: Royal Geographical Society, ‘Brown Hyenas of South Africa’.

2006:  University of Rouen, (SOCRATES exchange) France. Teaching survey techniques.

2004: National University of Mongolia, desert ecology field course lecturer for Steppe Forward Program with ZSL.


Penny, S. G., White, R. L., Mactavish, D., Mactavish, L., Scott, D. M. & Pernetta, A. D. 2021. No evidence that horn trimming affects white rhinoceros horn use during comfort behaviour and resource access. Animal Biology. Online:

Penny, S. G., White, R. L., Mactavish, D., Mactavish, L., Scott, D. M. & Pernetta, A. D. 2020a. Does dehorning lead to a change in inter-calf intervals in free-ranging white rhinoceros? Pachyderm, 61, 191-193.

Penny, S. G., White, R. L., Mactavish, L., Scott, D. M. & Pernetta, A. P. 2020b. Negligible hormonal response following dehorning in free-ranging white rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum). Conservation Physiology, 8, coaa117

Scott, D.M., Baker, R., Tomlinson, A. et al. (2020) Spatial distribution of sarcoptic mange (Sarcoptes scabiei) in urban foxes (Vulpes vulpes) in Great Britain as determined by citizen science. Urban Ecosystems 23, 1127–1140.

Tolhurst, B.A., Baker, R.J., Cagnacci, F., Scott, D.M. (2020) Spatial Aspects of Gardens Drive Ranging in Urban Foxes (Vulpes vulpes): The Resource Dispersion Hypothesis Revisited. Animals, 10, 1167.

Noonan, M.J. et al (including Scott D.M.) (2020). Body size-dependent underestimation of mammalian area requirements. Conservation Biology 34 (4).

Baker, R., Scott, D.M., King P. & Overall, A. (2020). Genetic structure of regional water vole populations and footprints of reintroductions: a case study from southeast England. (2020). Conservation Genetics 21 (6)

Schaus J., Uzal A., Gentle LK, Baker PJ, Bearman-Brown L, Bullion S, Gazzard A, Lockwood H, North A, Reader T, Scott DM, Sutherland CS, Yarnell RW. (2020) Application of the Random Encounter Model in citizen science projects to monitor animal densities. Remote Sensing in Ecology and Conservation 6(4).

Bearman Brown, L. Baker, P., Scott, D.M, Uzal, A., Evans, L.C., Yarnell, R.W. (2020) Over-Winter Survival and Nest Site Selection of the West-European Hedgehog (Erinaceus europaeus) in Arable Dominated Landscape. Animals 10(9): 1449

Penny, S. G., White, R. L., Scott, D. M., Mactavish, L. & Pernetta, A. P. 2019. Using drones and sirens to elicit avoidance behaviour in white rhinoceros as an anti-poaching tactic. Proceedings of the Royal Society B, 286, 20191135.

Baker R. J., Scott D. M., Keeling C. & Dwight C. (2019) The response of water voles Arvicola amphibious to 'displacement' when using water draw-down and habitat removal in grazing marsh habitat, lowland England. Conservation Evidence, 16, 37-42

Yarnell, R. Surgey, J., Grogan, A. Thompson, R, Davies, K., Kimborough, C and Scott D. (2019). Should rehabilitated hedgehogs be released in winter? A comparison of survival, nest use and weight changes in wild and rescued animals, European Journal of Wildlife Research, 65:6 (1.1K downloads in 6 weeks)

Scott, D., Baker, R., Charman, N., Karlsson, H., Yarnell, R., Mill, A., Smith, G. & Tolhurst, B. (2018) A citizen science based survey method for estimating the density of urban carnivores. PlosOne May 2018 (>1000 views).

White, R., Eberstein, K. & Scott, D. (2018) Birds in the playground: Evaluating the effectiveness of an urban environmental education project in enhancing school children’s awareness, knowledge and attitudes towards local wildlife. PlosOne 6 Mar 2018, 13, 3

Baker, R., Scott, D., Keeling, C. & Dwight, C., (2018) Overwinter survival and post-release movements of translocated water voles: implications for current mitigation guidance. European Journal of Wildlife Research, 64:1-13 (30%)

Hudson L.N. et al (inc D.M Scott) (2017) The database of the PREDICTS (Projecting Responses of Ecological Diversity In Changing Terrestrial Systems) project. Ecology and Evolution 7(1):145-188.

Matt W. Hayward, Laura Porter, József Lanszki , Jan F. Kamler, Jacalyn M. Beck, Graham I. H. Kerley, David W. Macdonald, Robert A. Montgomery, Dan M. Parker, Dawn M. Scott,  John O’Brien, Richard W. Yarnell (2017). Factors affecting the prey preferences of jackals (Canidae). Mammalian Biology. Vol 85 p77-85.

James, R., Scott D., Yarnell, R. and Overall. A. (2017). Food availability and population structure: How do clumped and abundant sources of carrion affect the genetic diversity of the black-backed jackal? Journal of Zoology. 301: 3 pp184-192.

Tolhurst, B. Grogan, A. Hughes, H and Scott, D.M. (2016). Effects of temporary captivity on ranging behaviour in urban red foxes (Vulpes vulpes). Applied Animal Behaviour Science. Vol 181 p182-190.

James, R, James, P. Scott, D.M., & Overall, A.D.J. (2015).Characterization of six cross-species microsatellite markers suitable for estimating the population parameters of the black-backed jackal (Canis mesomelas) using a non-invasive genetic recovery protocol. Cogent Biology. 11/2015; 1:1108479.

Glass, D., Scott, D.M., Donoher, D. & Overall, A.D.J (2014) The Origins of the Co. Kildare Dormouse. Biology & Environment Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy 04/2015; 115(1):1-6.

Yarnell, R.W. Phipps, W.L., Dell, S., MacTavish, L.M. and Scott, D.M. (2014). Evidence that vulture restaurants increase the local abundance of mammalian carnivores in South Africa. African Journal of Ecology. 53(3) p287-294

Scott, D.M., Berg, M., Tolhurst, B., Chauvenet, A., Smith, G., Neaves, K., Lochhead, J. & Baker, P., (2014) Changes in the Distribution of Red Foxes (Vulpes vulpes) in Urban Areas in Great Britain: Findings and Limitations of a Media-Driven Nationwide Survey. PLoS ONE 06/2014.

Thorn, M. Green, M., Davies-Mostert H., Marnewick, K and Scott D.M (2014) Determinants of attitudes to carnivores: implications for mitigating human-carnivore conflict in South African farmland. Oryx 49 (02)

Thorn, M. Green, M., Scott D.M and K. Marnewick (2013) Characteristics and determinants of human-carnivore conflict in South African farmland. Biodiversity and Conservation 22 (8) p1715-1730

Yarnell, R.W. Phipps, W.L., Burgess, L.P., Ellis, J., Harrison, S.W.R., Dell, S., MacTavish, L.M. and D.M. Scott. (2013). The influence of large predators on the feeding ecology of two African mesocarnivores: the black backed jackal and the brown hyena. South African Journal of Wildlife Research 43 (2): 155-166.

Thorn, M. Green, M. Dalerum, F., Bateman, P.W. and Scott D.M. (2012) What drives human –carnivore conflict in the North West Province of South Africa. Biological Conservation, Vol. 150 pp23-32.

Scott, D.M., Southgate, F. Overall, A., Waite, S and Tolhurst, B. (2012). The Eurasian water shrew (Neomys fodiens): an unsuitable candidate species for a vertebrate bio-indicator of aquatic pollution. Journal of Zoology vol 286 (1): 30-37.

Thorn, M. Green, M. Keith, M., Marnewick, K., Bateman, P.W., Cameron, E. Z. and Scott D.M. (2011). Large scale distribution patterns of carnivore populations in northern South Africa: implications for conservation and management. Oryx, Issue 45, Vol 4: pp 579-586.

Thorn, M., Green, M. Bateman, P.W., Waite, S. and Scott, D.M. (2011) Brown hyaenas on roads: Estimating carnivore occupancy and population size using spatially auto-correlated sign survey replicates. Biological Conservation, Vol 144 (6): 1799-1807.

Thorn, M., Green M., Bateman, P., Cameron, E., Yarnell. R and Scott D.M. (2010) Comparative efficacy of sign surveys, spotlighting and audio playbacks in a landscape-scale carnivore survey. South African Journal of Wildlife Research Vol 10:1 pp 77-96.

Van der Merwe, I., Tambling C., Thorn, M., Scott, D., Yarnell, R., Green, M., Cameron , E. & Bateman, P. (2009) An assessment of diet overlap of two mesocarnviores in the North West Province. African Zoology. 44 (2):288-291.

Thorn M., Scott, D.M., Green, M., Bateman, P., Cameron, E. (2009) Estimating brown hyaena occupancy using baited camera traps. South African Journal of Wildlife Management. 39 (1): 1-10.

Scott, D.M., Joyce, C.B and Burnside, N.G. (2008) The influence of habitat and landscape on small mammals in Estonian coastal wetlands. Estonia Journal of Ecology, 57: 4.

Yarnell, R.W., Metcalfe, D.J., Dunstone, D., Burnside, N.B. and Scott, D.M. (2008) The impact of fire on activity and habitat use by the short-snouted sengi (Elephantulus brachyrhynchus). African Zoology 43:1

Yarnell, R.W., Scott, D.M., Chimimba C. and Metcalfe, D.J. (2007) Untangling the roles of fire, grazing and rainfall on small mammal communities in grassland ecosystems. Oecologia 154: 387-402.

Burnside N.G., Joyce, C.B., Puurmann, E. and Scott D.M. (2007) Use of vegetation classification and plant indicators to assess wetland abandonment in Estonian Coastal wetlands. Journal of Vegetative Science, 18 (5): 645-654.

Yarnell R. W and Scott, D.M. (2006) Notes on the ecology of the short-snouted sengi (Elephantulus brachyrhynchus) at a game ranch in North-west Province, South Africa. Afrotherian Conservation. No. 4 p2-4. IUCN Specialist Group Publication

Scott, D.M., Rakotondraparany, F. Brown, D., Mahood, S. Denton, B. and Silburn, A (2006). The impacts of forest clearance on lizard, small mammal and bird communities in the arid spiny forest Southern, Madagascar. Biological Conservation, 127: p72-87.

Scott, D.M., Gladwin, K. & Barton, N. (2005). Comparison of the diet of two desert-living owls, long-eared owl (Asio otus) and little owl (Athene noctua) from southern Mongolia. Mongolian Journal of Biological Sciences Vol 3(1): 31-37.

Bond G., Burnside N.G., Metcalfe D.J., Scott D.M. & Blamire J. (2005) The effects of land-use and landscape texture on barn owl (Tyto alba) breeding success in southern England. Landscape Ecology (20) 5: pp. 555-566.

Scott D.M., Waite, S., Maddox, T., Freer, R. & Dunstone, N. (2005). The validity and precision of spotlighting for surveying desert mammal communities. Journal of Arid Environments. 61 (4): 589-601.

Dunstone, N, Freer, R, Acosta Jamett, G, Durbin, L, Wyllie, I, Mazzolli, M & Scott, D. (2001). Habitat use, activity and diet of the Kodkod (Oncifelis guigna) in the Parque Nacional Laguna San Rafael, XI region, Chile. Boletín Museo Nacional Historia Natural (Chile) 51:147-158.

Scott, D.M. & Dunstone N. (2000). Environmental determinants of the composition of desert-living rodent communities in the north-east Badia region of Jordan. Journal of Zoology London 251: 481-494.

Press expertise

  • Urban mammals
  • Conservation ecology
  • Human wildlife interactions
  • Citizen science

Previous Media Contributions:

Filming (Featured Contributor):

2021: BBC Springwatch- hedgehogs feature.

2021: Meet the Foxes Channel 5

2018: BBC ‘Winterwatch’.

2017: BBC ‘Springwatch’ & ‘Autumnwatch’: Badger habitat use & Testing fox intelligence.

2017: WildUk BBC: Urban Wildlife feature.

2017: BBC The British Garden.  BBC & Windfall Films.

2016: SVT (Swedish Television): Human Animal Conflict - Mitt i Naturen

2015: BBC/Pinstripe productions, ‘Natures Boldest Thieves’, broadcast BBC1 January 2015.

2015: BBC ‘Springwatch’: Minsmere badgers

2014: BBC South East - Medmerry project interview

2014: BBC ‘Autumnwatch’: urban badgers

2014: BBC ‘Winterwatch’ & ‘Unsprung’: urban foxes and hedgehogs

2014: BBC ‘Springwatch’ & ‘Unsprung’: foxes

2013: BBC ‘Urban Jungle’ 30 minute feature on urban wildlife.

2013: BBC ‘Autumnwatch’: urban foxes

2012: BBC South East, Hedgehogs feature

2012: Channel 4/Windfall films:  ‘Foxes live: Wild in the City”.

2011: BBC The One Show, stoats and weasel feature

2011: BBC Countryfile, Water vole feature

Radio and News interviews:

2020: BBC News impact of lockdown on wildlife

2017: Radio interview BBC South East

2013/14: BBC South East – 2 features - urban foxes, hedgehogs.

2012: Radio-interviews BBC London & BBC South East, urban foxes

Broadcast advisory input:

2014: BBC ‘Animal relationships’, foxes.

2014: BBC ‘Cats’ the series.

Interviews for content contribution to commercial books:

2021: Photojournalist book on foxes. In production

2021:  Aesops' Animals: The science behind the fables. Jo Winpenny,

2017: Urban Jungle by Victoria Woodgate: ISBN: 9781783708246

2016: Lucy Jones: Foxes Unearthed (2016) Elliott and Thompson Limited. ISBN: 9781783961498

2015: Tristan Donovan Feral Cities: Adventures with Animals in the Urban Jungle. (2015) Chicago Review Press ISBN: 1569760675.