Selected Publications

Invasive species are the main threat to island biodiversity; seabirds are particularly vulnerable. Gough Island is an Important Bird and Biodiversity Area, and one of the most important seabird colonies globally. House mice, introduced by sealers in the 19th century, kill the eggs and chicks seabirds on the island, but no one knew how many were lost. We compared the breeding success of ten seabird species on Gough Island to those of similar species from predator-free islands and found that seabirds on Gough Island lost around 1,700,000 eggs/chicks annually. MacGillivray’s Prion, Atlantic Petrel, and Tristan Albatross are likely to become extinct if the mice are not removed.
Ibis (2018). doi: 10.1111/ibi.12664, 2018

We investigated densities of non-native European and endemic Irish hares in Northern Ireland using camera traps and Random Encounter Models, a method of calculating wildlife population densities in species where you can’t identify individuals, and distance sampling. We found that the European hare had almost entirely displaced the Irish hare in some sites. This could have important implications for the ecological and genetic security of the Irish hare.
Remote Sens Ecol Conserv. 2:45-58, 2016


More Publications

(2018). Hare Survey of Ireland 2018/2019: Interim Report (June) 2018. Report produced for the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht.

(2018). Lagomorpha Life History. In: Vonk J, Shackelford TK (eds.) Encyclopedia of Animal Cognition and Behavior. Springer.

PDF Source Document

(2018). Lagomorpha Navigation. In: Vonk J, Shackelford TK (eds.) Encyclopedia of Animal Cognition and Behavior. Springer.

PDF Source Document

(2017). Current ornithological research in Ireland - seventh Ornithological Research Conference, UCC, November 2017. Irish Birds. 10:598-638.


(2017). A multi-disciplinary perspective on emergent and future innovations in peer review. F1000Research. 6:1151.

PDF Source Document

(2017). Conferencing in 140 characters. Nature. 549:458.

PDF Source Document


As a teacher I aim to provide my students with skills, knowledge and confidence critical to their academic and personal development. I take an inclusive approach, developing strong relationships and encouraging discussion.

Module development
2017 BL6024 Quantitative skills for biologists using R.
Quantitative skills required by postgraduate students to successfully conduct and publish their research, with a focus on data analysis and graphing, statistics, and basic modelling, as generally implemented by zoologists and ecologists.

University College Cork (2017-18)
- BL6024 Quantitative skills for biologists using R.

Current students
- Samantha Ball (PhD). Managing hares at Dublin airport. University College Cork.
- Alan McCarthy (MRes). Top-down and bottom-up factors affecting breeding Hen Harriers in Ireland. University College Cork.
- Alan McCarthy (PhD, 2019 - ). Wintering ecology of Hen Harriers in Ireland. University College Cork.


Prospective Students
I am always interested in hearing from prospective students who are interested in joining the research group. I encourage women, queer, indigenous, and other minority group scholars to get in touch. I support flexible working hours and locations.

Contact me for information.

Current Opportunities

30/10/18 - Master’s (research) position
Study: Reproductive history and parasites of Irish hares at Dublin Airport
Start date: Autumn 2019 (prospective)

Supervisors: Dr. Fidelma Butler (University College Cork); Dr. Anthony Caravaggi (University of South Wales); Samantha Ball (University College Cork)

Irish hare, Lepus timidus hibernicus. Photo by Joachim S. Muller.

The Irish hare (Lepus timidus hibernicus) is a subspecies of mountain hare (L. timidus) that is endemic to the island of Ireland. A large number of hares are found at Dublin Airport, particularly on the enclosed land encompassing the airfield itself. The Master’s position will be part of a larger project, led by a PhD-level study, that aims to quantify population parameters and risk factors for the airport population and the Dublin Airport Authority. Studying the reproductive capacity and parasite burden of the hares will increase our understanding of population dynamics and relative health, increasing the interpretive strength of associated studies as well as mitigation methods.

Prospective students should note that the position is currently seeking funding, e.g. Government of Ireland Postgraduate Scholarships. Thus, we are soliciting expressions of interest, only. Once funding has been secured, the successful student will be supported by an experienced team with substantial research and supervisory experience.

If you are interested, contact Dr. Fidelma Butler(f.butler[at] or Dr. Anthony Caravaggi(ar.caravaggi[at] in the first instance. Please include a CV.

We encourage applications from all minority group scholars.