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The University of Southampton
Biological Sciences
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Dr Orly Razgour BSc, MSc, PhD

Lecturer in Ecology, Principal Research Fellow,Principal Investigator (Global Change Genetics)

Dr Orly Razgour's photo
Related links
The Global Change Genetics Group
Research Gate: Orly Razgour

Dr Orly Razgour joined Biological Sciences in May 2016 as a NERC Independent Research Fellow and proleptic Lecturer in Ecology.

I am a molecular ecologist and conservation biologist, researching evolutionary and ecological responses to global environmental change.

Career History

2016-Present: NERC Independent Research Fellow / proleptic Lecturer in Ecology. University of Southampton, UK.
2015-Present: Official Research Collaborator, CIBIO/InBio. University of Porto, Portugal.
2015-2016: NERC Independent Research Fellow. University of Bristol, UK.
2013-2015: Impact Research Fellow. University of Stirling, UK.
2013: GIS Specialist. The Bat Conservation Trust, UK.

Academic Qualifications

2009-2012: PhD Ecology & Conservation Genetics. University of Bristol, UK.
2006-2008: MSc Ecology. Blaustein Institute for Desert Research, Ben-Gurion University, Israel.
2003-2006: BSc Conservation Biology. DICE, University of Kent, UK.

Orly Razgour

My research sits at the interface between ecology, conservation and molecular biology. My main research aims are to examine evolutionary and ecological responses to global change, and to understand how environmental heterogeneity at different spatial and temporal scales affects geographical distributions, genetic composition and ecological interactions. I carry out multidisciplinary research, combining novel genetic and genomic tools with ecological research and spatial, ecological and mathematical modelling. My research is applied in nature, aiming to provide the evidence base for managing our environment and conserving biodiversity.

I am involved in projects across Europe, in the Middle East, Ethiopia and southern Africa.

My research programme encompasses four main areas of investigation:

1. Genomic approaches to studying species responses to climate change

Understanding the genetic basis of environmental adaptations is essential for predicting biodiversity responses to global changes. These projects use genomic datasets (ddRAD-sequencing and RNA-sequencing) and combine population genomics and ecological approaches to identify signatures of climate-driven local adaptations in wild populations of non-model organisms. Working on several bat species with different distributions and ecological requirements, I investigate genetic adaptations to warmer and drier climatic conditions and their population level consequences.

2. Relating landscape and environmental heterogeneity to movement ecology

Geographic and environmental features of the landscape, such as barriers and habitat discontinuity, can structure genetic variation at the individual and population levels via their effect on dispersal and gene flow. Landscape genetics offers an interdisciplinary approach for relating spatial genetic patterns to the effects of environmental heterogeneity on the movement of organisms. I am particularly interested in:

- Landscape effects on movement across spatial scales.

- Effects of anthropogenic land cover changes and fragmentation on landscape connectivity and movement.

- Relating landscape connectivity to species’ range shifts under future climate change.

3. Ecological modelling of distributions, biotic interactions and conservation requirements

My research addresses the role of climate and environmental variables versus interspecific interactions in structuring patterns of distribution, diversity and activity of bats across multiple spatial scales. I use statistical approaches, ecological niche modelling and niche and range overlap analysis to integrate interspecific interactions into broad-scale distribution models and fine-scale analysis of community composition and ecological requirements.

4. Phylogeography and evolutionary history

Understanding how past climatic fluctuations during the Pleistocene affected the distribution of species and patterns of genetic variation across their ranges can help predict biodiversity responses to future changes. My research combines genetic and environmental data with spatial modelling and model-based inference of evolutionary history to determine how past climatic changes shaped the current distribution of genetic variation in species with different distributions and ecological requirements. Past responses and evidence of niche conservatism are used to predict the effects of future climate change on edge of range populations, cryptic species, widely distributed species and endemic species.

Contact me if you are interested in MRes/MSc projects working with bats in Malawi with African Bat Conservation.

Phd Supervision

Roberto Novella Fernandez: Investigating the role of ecological interactions in shaping species distributions and range shifts under climate change. Funded by Biological Sciences.

Pedro Horta: Bats as bioindicators of environmental changes: spatial structure of populations under climate change and land-cover variations across altitudinal gradients. CIBIO/InBio, University of Porto, Portugal (co-supervisor). 

Manuel Lopes-Lima: Under the surface: combining ecological and evolutionary analysis to conserve freshwater mussels in the Iberian Peninsula. CIBIO/InBio, University of Porto, Portugal (co-supervisor).

Evie Morris: How will greening the desert affect bats and the ecosystem services they provide? Funded by SPITFIRE NERC DTP Studentship. 

Joanna Riley: Ecology and distribution of sandhill dunnarts in the Great Victoria Desert, Western Australia. University of Bristol (co-supervisor).

Research group

Ecology and Evolution

Affiliate research group

Computational and Systems Biology

Research project(s)

Developing an integrated framework for investigating biodiversity responses to global environmental change

Tropical Montane Forests: The Ecology and Conservation of Cryptic Anurans

The project aims to develop methods for assessing the status of cryptic tropical montane anurans and the drivers of their decline, leading to a framework for monitoring these indicator species.

How will greening the desert affect bats and the ecosystem services they provide?

Up in the air: researching ecological connectivity in sky island bats of the Ethiopian Highlands

Promoting the resilience of ecosystem services to climate change: a case study with pine plantations, pine processionary moth and bats

Mobilising bat occurrence data in Zambia

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BIOL1001: Experimental and Field Biology
BIOL3056 Global Change Biology
BIOL3072 Behavioural Ecology
BIOL2047 Animal Conservation

Co-organising the Biological Sciences Seminar Series

International NGOs
Research Director of Bats without Borders, a charitable organisation for the conservation of southern African bats.

Member of UNEP/EUROBATS ‘bats and climate change’ Working Group.

Consultation on science, planning and conservation
EU Habitat Directive Article 17 Reporting 2013; UK Biodiversity Action Plan Bat Steering Group Meeting (invited speaker 2012, 2013); Devon local planning authorities; Natural Resources Wales; Bat Conservation Trust; Vincent Wildlife Trust; Natural England Countryside Stewardship Scheme.

Favourable Conservation Status reporting for endangered UK species (2017-2018).

Advisor on the conservation organisations consortium HLF £4.6 million ‘Back from the brink’ project to save threatened UK species.



Dr Orly Razgour
School of Biological Sciences
Faculty of Environmental and Life Sciences
Life Sciences Building 85
University of Southampton
Highfield Campus
SO17 1BJ

Room Number: 85/6059

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