Faculty of Biological Sciences

Prof Keith Hamer

BSc, MSc, Manchester; PhD 1990, Glasgow.
Professor of Animal Ecology
School of Biology

Contact:  Manton 8.05, +44(0) 113 34 32983, email address for  

You can read more about Prof Hamer's interests here:

Research Interests

Population and Behavioural Ecology; Conservation Biology

Gannets on rockMy research focuses on wildlife ecology and the conservation of biodiversity in natural and managed landscapes and seascapes, with a particular emphasis on trophic ecology – what animals eat, how they get enough, and how this determines both their responses to environmental change and their contributions to broader ecosystem-level processes. Much of this work involves birds and insects (especially butterflies, dung beetles and ants), mainly in marine, forested and agricultural ecosystems. Current  topics include the importance of individual specialization in the foraging strategies of long-distance predators and the role of trophic flexibility in buffering impacts of environmental change. We are also investigating the patterns, causes and consequences of changes in biodiversity following degradation and fragmentation of tropical forests, and examining methods for improving biodiversity in oil palm landscapes of SE Asia and West Africa. 

Current projects:

  • Promoting biodiversity in sustainable oil-palm landcapes for West African smallholders (funded by DEFRA Darwin Initiative; http://www.fbs.leeds.ac.uk/staff/Hamer_K)
  • Flight heights of gannets and risks of offshore wind farms (funded by DECC)
  • Socially and Environmentally Sustainable Oil Palm Research (SEnSOR; http://www.sensorproject.net/)
  • Functional diversity and ecosystem processes in natural and managed tropical landscapes (funded by BBSRC)
  • Impacts of perturbation on the Ecology and epidemiology of Trichomonas gallinae in turtle doves (funded by RSPB)
  • Flexibility in foraging behaviour of shags (funded by NERC)  
  • Three-dimensional foraging behaviour of gannets: integrating location, altitude and depth (funded by NERC)

Faculty Research and Innovation

Studentship information

Undergraduate project topics:

  • 1. Drivers of distribution patterns: three potential projects examining the importance of different processes and species traits in determining distribution patterns at different spatial scales
  • 2. Impacts of habitat fragmentation: two potential projects using analysis of nestedness to examine impacts of forest fragmentation on birds and to test predictions of island biogeography theory
  • 3. Impacts of climate change on seabirds: a meta-analysis of published data

Postgraduate studentship areas:

  • 1. Foraging strategies, parental care and life history-environment interactions in birds
  • 2. Species richness and ecosystem functioning in natural, managed, degraded, fragmented and converted forests
  • 3. Biodiversity and sustainable management of mosaic landscapes
  • 4. Land-sparing vs land-sharing approaches to sustainable development

See also:

Modules managed

BLGY2144 - Population and Community Ecology
BLGY5118M - Population Dynamics

Modules taught

BLGY1128 - Living Planet
BLGY1304 - Research Experience and Skills Level 1
BLGY2144 - Population and Community Ecology
BLGY2301 - Research Experience and Skills Level 2
BLGY3241 - Conservation Biology
BLGY3340 - Biology Research Projects
BLGY5118M - Population Dynamics
BLGY5191M - Biodiversity and Conservation MSc and MRes Summer Project
BLGY5380M - Extended Research Project


Member of Athena Swan Working Group

Centre membership: The Earth and Biosphere Institute

Group Leader Prof Keith Hamer  (Professor of Animal Ecology)

Population and Behavioural Ecology; Conservation Biology 

Dr Jenny Dunn  (Visiting Research Fellow)

Farmland bird ecology and conservation 


Felicity Edwards (Primary supervisor) 90% FTE
Ruth Jeavons (Primary supervisor) 75% FTE
Jude Lane (Primary supervisor) 90% FTE
Elizabeth Morgan (Primary supervisor) 80% FTE
Andrea Barden (Co-supervisor) 50% FTE
Alexander Evans (Co-supervisor) 10% FTE
Rebecca Thomas (Co-supervisor) 20% FTE