The secret life of poo: from chemistry to conservation

9 May 2023 19:00-20:00, Preston, United Kingdom

Abstract: Conservation physiology integrates the measurement of hormones and other biomarkers that indicate physiological or pathological processes, to assess the health, well-being and reproduction of wildlife. Animal dung contains all sorts of useful information, and non-invasive monitoring of hormone metabolites is increasingly used in a wide range of species, both in zoos and in the wild. These techniques allow us to understand normal physiology and investigate when things aren’t as we might expect, helping us to provide optimal conditions for individuals and populations to thrive and maximize the contribution they can make to global conservation efforts. During this talk, I will present some of the common questions and challenges we face, and highlight the importance of poo to support conservation breeding programmes and increase our knowledge of understudied species.
Bio-sketch: I am a Conservation Physiologist and Lead Conservation Scientist at Chester Zoo, specialising in biomarker research and development. My research focuses around developing and applying physiological biomarkers to understand animal reproduction, health and well-being. I received my bachelors, masters and doctoral degrees at the University of Liverpool; my doctoral research was in collaboration with Chester Zoo, investigating factors associated with reproductive success in eastern black rhinoceros housed in European zoos. I then spent five years as a postdoctoral researcher at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, USA, working on elephant health and well-being, before returning to Chester Zoo in 2019.
Sponsorship & supporting organisations
University of Central Lancashire
Darwin Building, University of Central Lancashire

Darwin Lecture Theatre, Darwin Building, University of Central Lancashire, Marsh Lane, Preston, PR1 2HE, United Kingdom

Organised by
Lancaster University
Contact information
Showing all upcoming events
Start Date
End Date
Subject area
Event type


E-mail Enquiry