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The University of Southampton
Southampton Marine and Maritime Institute
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Professor C. Patrick Doncaster BSc, DPhil

Professor of Ecology, Principal Investigator (Population Ecology)

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Professor C. Patrick Doncaster is Professor of Ecology within Biological Sciences at the University of Southampton.

Career History

2015-Present: Professor in Ecology. Biological Sciences, University of Southampton, UK.
2007-2015: Reader in Ecology. Biological Sciences, University of Southampton, UK.
1995-2007: Lecturer, Senior Lecturer in Ecology. Biological Sciences, University of Southampton, UK.
1990-1995: Post-doctoral Research Assistant. University of Oxford, UK.
1985-1990: Ingénieur de Recherche. Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Chizé, France.

Academic qualifications

1980: BSc Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia, UK.
1985: DPhil Zoology, University of Oxford, UK.

Research interests

  • Animal population dynamics and competition
  • Metapopulation dynamics and habitat loss
  • Wildlife corridors and species conservation
  • Density-dependent evolution, reproductive strategies and senescent ageing
  • Experimental design and statistical power
    Examples of Analysis of Variance and Covariance
  • Wildlife corridors for large mammals in Belize (Darwin Initiative project in collaboration with the Panthera Foundation, the University of Belize, and the Belize Forest Department)
  • Food refuge interactions in periwinkles (NERC project in collaboration with the University of Plymouth and the University of Bangor)
  • Simulation models of habitat permeability for mammalian wildlife (EPSRC DTA Studentship with the Centre for Doctoral Training in Complex Systems Simulation, in the Institute for Complex Systems Simulation at Southampton University)
  • Conceptual models of habitat loss (collaboration with Mathematics at Southampton University)
  • Invasion of Red-Bellied Beautiful squirrels into Argentina (collaboration with the University of Luján, Argentina)
  • Ecophysiology of bats (PhD student Louise Fairless, funded by Biological Sciences and the Kerkut Trust; co-supervisors Professor Phil Newland, Dr Felix Eigenbrod, Dr Lex Kraaijeveld)
  • Biodiversity of New Forest fungi and beetles in relation to historical continuity (PhD student Rebecca Spake, funded by BBSRC Studentship)

PhD Supervision

Alice Ball, Anthropogenic impacts on jaguar movement in wildlife corridors
Evelyn Pina, Interactions between jaguars (Panthera onca) and pumas (Puma concolor) with their prey and humans in the Yucatán Peninsula, Mexico

Research group

Ecology and Evolution

Affiliate research groups

Institute for Life Sciences (IfLS), Institute for Complex Systems Simulation (ICSS)

Research project(s)

Acoustic environmental monitoring: a low-cost efficient tool for evaluating human exploitation of tropical forests

Antimicrobial Tolerance in Bacterial Biofilms: An Inter-Disciplinary Approach

Persisters are dormant bacterial cells capable of surviving antibiotic treatment. Subpopulations of persister cells are present within bacterial biofilm communities. This inter-disciplinary project uses population ecology theory to understand the phenomenon of persister cells in bacterial populations.

Ecosystem Canaries: biodiversity measures as early warning signals

Food-refuge interactions in periwinkles - Dormant

A field-experimental study of the effects on periwinkle populations of clumping their limiting food and refuge resources.

Wildlife corridors for large mammals in Belize

Creation of a natural corridor for wildlife to connect the two largest areas of protected rainforest in Belize.

Investigating the combined effects of environmental pollutants

Generating a light-, noise- and electromagnetic radiation-scape of the Southampton area in relation to areas used by bats and their prey will enable us to visualise the complex relationships between ecologically important species and pollutants, whilst simultaneously bridging the gaps in our knowledge of what constitutes as disturbance to these cryptic species. Consequently, this study will catalyse the improvement of mitigation strategies to be employed during urban development projects.

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.

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Book Chapters

  • Macdonald, D., Doncaster, C. P., Newdick, M., Hofer, H., Mathews, F., & Johnson, P. (2015). Foxes in the landscape: ecology and sociality. In D. Macdonald, & R. Feber (Eds.), Wildlife Conservation on Farmland: Conflict in the Countryside (pp. 20-46). Oxford, GB: Oxford University Press.
  • Harmsen, B. J., Foster, R. J., Silver, S. C., Ostro, L. E. T., & Doncaster, C. P. (2010). The ecology of jaguars in the Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary, Belize. In D. W. Macdonald, & A. J. Loveridge (Eds.), The Biology and Conservation of Wild Felids (pp. 403-416). Oxford, GB: Oxford University Press.
  • Akçakaya, H. R., Mills, G., & Doncaster, C. P. (2007). The role of metapopulations in conservation. In D. W. Macdonald, & K. Service (Eds.), Key Topics in Conservation Biology (pp. 64-84). Oxford, UK: Blackwell Publishing.


  • Chavez, V. A., Doncaster, C. P., Dearing, J. A., Wang, R., Huang, J-L., & Dyke, J. G. (Accepted/In press). Detecting regime shifts in artificial ecosystems. ECAL2013: 12th European Conference on Artificial Life, Italy.
  • Watkins, A., Noble, J., & Doncaster, C. P. (2011). An agent-based model of jaguar movement through conservation corridors. In T. Lenaerts, M. Giacobini, H. Bersini, P. Bourgine, M. Dorigo, & R. Doursat (Eds.), Advances in Artificial Life, ECAL 2011: Proceedings of the Eleventh European Conference on the Synthesis and Simulation of Living Systems (pp. 846-853). MIT Press.

Module Coordinator

BIOL2004 Pure and Applied Population Ecology
BIOL2008 Quantitative Methods in Biological and Environmental Science


BIOL1020 Bioanalysis
BIOL3053 Spatial Ecology and Conservation
BIOL6052 Advanced Quantitative Methods

University of Southampton Contributions

2012-present: Leader and Academic Line Manager, Environmental Biosciences theme for Biological Sciences
2012-present: REF Committee member for UoA 5 Biological Sciences
2007-2012: Biological Sciences Integrity Officer
2005-2012: Chair, Biological Sciences IT Strategy Group
2004-2012: Examinations Officer, Hons Biology programmes

External Contributions

2007-present: Associate Editor of Acta Oecologica
2008-2011: NERC panel member
2015-present: Agence Nationale de la Recherche panel member

Professor C. Patrick Doncaster
Southampton Marine and Maritime Institute University of Southampton Southampton Boldrewood Innovation Campus Southampton SO16 7QF

Room Number: 85/6051

Professor C. Patrick Doncaster's personal home page
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