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Sophia Cooke

Sophia Cooke

PhD Candidate

Room 3.01 David Attenborough Building
Office Phone: 01223 (7)62936


I graduated with a B. A. (Hons) in Natural Sciences from the University of Cambridge in 2012 having specialised in Zoology. Following this, I worked as a Research Assistant for Dr Hannah Rowland in Cambridge’s Zoology Department for eight months. I assisted with a wide range of projects, including studies on antipredator defences in moths and provisional behaviour and taste perception in birds.

In 2013/14 I studied for a Masters in Species Identification and Survey Skills at the University of Reading. As part of my course I undertook a research project with the RSPB, studying the impact of Western Marsh Harriers Circus aeruginosus on breeding Northern Lapwings Vanellus vanellus in the Norfolk Broads.

In early 2015 I set up a research project in the Galapagos Islands, focusing on an introduced bird species, the Smooth-billed Ani Crotophaga ani, in conjunction with Christ’s College Cambridge, the Charles Darwin Foundation and the Galapagos National Park. This is intended to be a long-term project which will attempt to quantify the impacts this bird is having on native fauna and ecosystems, analyse whether control or eradication is needed and how either of these might best be achieved. 

Research Group

Conservation Science Group:
PhD Candidate

Research Interests

For my PhD I am studying the effects of roads on bird populations in the UK in attempt to quantify population declines due to traffic increases over the last forty years. I am using data from multiple sources such as the BTO’s BBS data and traffic data from Highways England to study the relationship between road density and bird population trends and to understand which aspects of roads e.g. noise/light levels are most important in predicting the impact they have. I am also undertaking similar analyses on the impact of roads on bats, using long-term monitoring data and with these results combined, will go on to investigate possible methods of mitigation.