School of Natural and Environmental Sciences

Ecology Research Students

Bethany Cowan
Bethany Cowan

Project description

I am currently in the write up year of my MPhil, under the supervision of Dr Per Berggren and Dr Richard Bevan. My project is observing the population changes of the seal colony (Halichoerus grypus) over the course of a year at Lindisfarne National Nature Reserve, Northumberland.

I am investigating the potential behavioural impacts of introducing a drone (UAS - unmanned aerial system) as a new population monitoring technique. I'm looking at the effect upon their behaviour and assessing this against current traditional monitoring methods.

As well as seals, we are also investigating the impact upon seabirds, as the reserve is a critically important breeding UK habitat for Little Terns (Sternula albifrons). My work is in partnership with Natural England and wishes to produce broad guidance on implementing drones for marine mammal population monitoring.


Marine conservation, marine ecology, animal behaviour, seabird ecology, marine mammals, pinnipeds, wildlife photography


  • BSc Marine Zoology