Urban mammals behaviour, welfare and disease in Brighton

Internship host:

University of Brighton, UK.


Our research group is studying various aspects of wild mammal populations in UK towns and cities, focussing on Brighton. We have a number of datasets that we need help with analysing due to time constraints, most notably in the form of : i) GPS tracking data for foxes, hedgehogs and badgers; and ii) photos and videos of foxes and gastropod molluscs accessing the same food resources.

Scientific objectives:

  • To determine whether there is niche partitioning between carnivores (including intra-guild) in urban areas.
  • To determine spatio-temporal risk factors for transmission of helminth parasites via quantifying host (fox, gastropod, hedgehog) behaviour and mapping contaminants in the urban environment.

Implementation terms (techniques, work to be done, workflow etc.):

Help with collating and analysing a photo/video dataset ; which will involve using camera trap software Time Lapse 2, Excel, and R ; and a spatial dataset of animal locations, for which the research staff is considering a resource selection function (RSF) framework as computed in R.

However there are also some field tasks available that an intern may wish to assist with including the following.

  • To provide supplementary feeding to urban mammals and operate camera traps, for an experiment investigating mammal resource use in gardens.
  • To deploy deterrents and operate camera traps, for an experiment investigating the efficacy of chemical (natural versus artificial) repellents for wildlife management.

Desired skills:

The successful applicant have to be methodical and motivated, and preferably with some of the skills/attributes below:

  • Analysis of data in R
  • GIS skills (ArcGIS, QGIS)
  • Willingness to do night fieldwork
  • Driving licence
  • Ability to work with other students and research staff