skip to content

Department of Zoology



• 2016–present: Research Associate - Conservation Evidence at the Conservation Science Group. Dept. Zoology, University of Cambridge, Cambridge (UK).  Editor of What Works in Conservation. Current PhD students- Thomas White (Cambridge University) and Lauren Moore (Nottingham Trent University)

• 2011–2016: Head of Conservation at Froglife Trust UK- overseeing as part of senior management the strategic conservation planning, funding and implementation, coordinating conservation staff between Froglife offices in London, Peterborough, Sheffield and Glasgow. Overseeing conservation research and delivery. Co-supervised PhD student Catia Matos (graduated 2017), MRes student Paul Furnborough (graduated 2016)

• 2011-2018 Honorary Research Associate University of Hull (UK), Faculty of Science

• 2011 (Jan-Nov): Postdoctoral Research Associate, working with Dr. Phil Wheeler on impact of biomass energy crops on farmland biodiversity, University of Hull (UK)- funded by People's Trust for Endangered Species.

• 2011: PhD Animal Ecology. University of Hull & Food and Environment Research Agency (UK). PhD thesis: Landscape ecology of brown hares and European rabbits in grassland areas in north-east England    

• 2007: MSc Taxonomy and Biodiversity Conservation. University of Bucharest, (Romania)

• 2003: BSc Veterinary Medicine. University of Agronomical Sciences and Veterinary Medicine, Bucharest, (Romania)


I am broadly interested in understanding the effects of anthropogenic changes on biodiversity and improving evidence-based solutions for counteracting negative effects at population or landscape scale. My main areas of work have been on:
(1) road impacts (mortality, fragmentation,  isolation, pollution) and evidence-based mitigation sollutions for amphibian and small and medium-sized mammals. This includes movement patterns and using road-based surveys for large-scale monitoring.

(2) harnessing the power of citizen science in long-term datasets for biodiversity monitoring, including for emerging diseases.

(3) how landscape management shapes the outcome of plant-animal interactions such as grazing and species distribution in relation to lagomorphs.

My current work at Conservation Evidence includes the update for the Bird Conservation book as well as editing the annual What Works In Conservation volume. 

Some of my research work has been featured widely in the media:


Key publications: 


• Junker, J., S. O. Petrovan, V. Arroyo-Rodríguez, R. Boonratana, D. Byler, C. A. Chapman, D. Chetry et al. (2020) "Severe Lack of Evidence Limits Effective Conservation of the World’s Primates." Bioscience10.1093/biosci/biaa082 

• Petrovan SO, Aldridge DC, Bartlett H, Bladon AJ, Booth H, Broad S, Broom DM, Burgess N, Cleaveland S, Cunningham AA, Ferri M, Hinsley A, Hua F, Hughes AC, Jones K, Kelly M, Mayes G, Radakovic M, Ugwu CA, Uddin N, Verissimo D, Walzer C, White TB, Wood J, Sutherland WJ. (2020) "Post COVID-19: a solution scan of options for preventing future zoonotic epidemics". OSFDOI 10.17605/OSF.IO/5JX3G

• Christie, A.P., Amano, T., Martin, P.A., Petrovan, S.O., Shackelford, G.E., Simmons, B.I., Smith, R.K., Williams, D.R., Wordley, C.F. and Sutherland, W.J., (2020). Poor availability of context-specific evidence hampers decision-making in conservationBiological Conservation. 10.1016/j.biocon.2020.108666

• Christie, A.P., Amano, T., Martin, P.A., Petrovan, S.O., Shackelford, G.E., Simmons, B.I., Smith, R.K., Williams, D.R., Wordley, C.F. and Sutherland, W.J., (2020). The challenge of biased evidence in conservation. Conservation Biology. ​

• Petrovan, S. O., Vale, C. G., & Sillero, N. (2020). Using citizen science in road surveys for large-scale amphibian monitoring: are biased data representative for species distribution?. Biodiversity and Conservation, 1-15.

• Geldmann, J., Alves-Pinto, H., Amano, T., Bartlett, H., Christie, A.P.... Petrovan, S.O.,... Green, R., Balmford, A; (2020). Insights from two decades of the Student Conference on Conservation Science. Biological Conservation, 243,

• Helldin JO, Petrovan SO. (2019) Effectiveness of small road tunnels and fences in reducing amphibian roadkill and barrier effects at retrofitted roads in Sweden. PeerJ 7:e7518

• Sutherland, W.J., Taylor, N.G., MacFarlane, D., Amano, T., Christie, A.P., Dicks, L., Lemasson, A.J., Littlewood, N.A., Martin, P.A., Ockendon, N., Petrovan, S.O., Robertson, R.J., Rocha, R., Shackelford, G.E., Smith, R.K., Tyler, E.H, Wordley, C.F.R. (2019) Building a tool to overcome barriers in research-implementation spaces: the Conservation Evidence database Biological Conservation, 238

• Matos, C., Petrovan, S. O., Wheeler, P. M., & Ward, A. I. (2019). Landscape connectivity and spatial prioritization in an urbanising world: A network analysis approach for a threatened amphibian. Biological Conservation237, 238-247.

• Bates, K. A., Shelton, J. M., Mercier, V. L., Hopkins, K. P., Harrison, X. A., Petrovan, S. O., & Fisher, M. C. (2019). Captivity and infection by the fungal pathogen Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans perturb the amphibian skin microbiome. Frontiers in Microbiology10, 1834. doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2019.01834

• Petrovan, S. O., & Schmidt, B. R. (2019). Neglected juveniles; a call for integrating all amphibian life stages in assessments of mitigation success (and how to do it). Biological Conservation236, 252-260.

• Grant EH, Muths E, Schmidt BR, Petrovan SO (2019) Amphibian conservation in the Anthropocene. Biological Conservation .

• Jarvis, LE, Hartup, M & Petrovan, SO (2019). Road mitigation using tunnels and fences promotes site connectivity and population expansion for a protected amphibian. European Journal of Wildlife Research65(2), 27.

• Wheeler, PM, Ward, AI, Smith, GC, Croft, S, & Petrovan, SO (2019). Careful considerations are required when analysing mammal citizen science data– A response to Massimino et al. Biological Conservation. 

• Matos, C., Petrovan, S. O., Wheeler, P. M., & Ward, A. I. (2019). Short‐term movements and behaviour govern the use of road mitigation measures by a protected amphibian. Animal Conservation (22) 285-296

• Shackelford, G. E., Haddaway, N. R., Usieta, H. O., Pypers, P., Petrovan, S. O., & Sutherland, W. J. (2018). Cassava farming practices and their agricultural and environmental impacts: a systematic map protocol. Environmental Evidence 7:30

• Sutherland, W.J., Dicks, L.V., Ockendon, N., Petrovan, S. & Smith, R.K. (2018) What Works in Conservation 2018. Open Book Publishers: Cambridge, UK. DOI: 10.11647/OBP.0131

• Petrovan, S. O., Junker, J., Wordley, C. F., Kühl, H., Orth, L., Smith, R., & Sutherland, W. J. (2018) Evidence-based synopsis of interventions, a new tool in primate conservation and research. International Journal of Primatology 

 Junker, J., Kühl, H.S., Orth, L., Smith, R.K., Petrovan, S.O. and Sutherland, W.J. (2017) Primate conservation: Global evidence for the effects of interventions. University of Cambridge, UK

• Franklinos, LH, Lorch, JM, Bohuski, E, Rodriguez-Ramos Fernandez, J, Wright, ON, Fitzpatrick, L, Petrovan, S, Durrant, C, Linton, C, Baláž, V, Cunningham, AA, Lawson, B. (2017) Emerging fungal pathogen Ophidiomyces ophiodiicola in wild European snakes Scientific Reports 7: 3844 doi:10.1038/s41598-017-03352-1    

• Petrovan, SO, Dixie, J, Yapp, E, Wheeler PM.  (2017) Bioenergy crops and farmland biodiversity: benefits and limitations are scale-dependant for a declining mammal, the brown hare. European Journal of Wildlife Research 63: 49. doi:10.1007/s10344-017-1106-5   

• Matos C, Petrovan S, Ward AI, Wheeler P. (2017Facilitating permeability of landscapes impacted by roads for protected amphibians: patterns of movement for the great crested newtPeerJ 5:e2922

White, K. J., Mayes, W. M., & Petrovan, S. O. (2017) Identifying pathways of exposure to highway pollutants in great crested newt (Triturus cristatus) road mitigation tunnels. Water and Environment Journal, 31(3), 310-316.

• Petrovan SO, Schmidt BR (2016) Volunteer Conservation Action Data Reveals Large-Scale and Long-Term Negative Population Trends of a Widespread Amphibian, the Common Toad (Bufo bufo). PLoS ONE 11(10): e0161943. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0161943 

Lawson, B, Petrovan SO & Cunningham A.A (2015) Citizen science and wildlife disease surveillance Ecohealth, 12, 693-702. 

 Petrovan, SO, Ward, AI & Wheeler, PM (2013) Habitat selection guiding agri-environment schemes for a mammalian farmland specialist, the brown hare Animal Conservation 16 (3) 344-352. DOI: 10.1111/acv.12002

• Petrovan SO, Ward A.I, Wheeler P. (2011) Detectability counts when assessing populations for biodiversity targets. PlosONE  6(9):e24206.

• Petrovan SO, Barrio I.C., Ward A.I, Wheeler P. (2011) Farming for pests? Local and landscape-scale effects of grassland management on rabbit abundances European Journal of Wildlife Research 57 27-34.  

Other publications: 


•  Hill, IDC, Rossi, CA, Petrovan, SO, Hartup, M, Clark, F, Downie, JR (2019) Mitigating the effects of a road on amphibian migrations: a Scottish case study of road tunnels. Glasgow Naturalist 27 (The Amphibians and Reptiles of Scotland)

•  Petrovan, SO (2019) Towards an evidence-based approach for road mitigation schemes for amphibians and reptiles in the UK–a reviewGlasgow Naturalist 27 (The Amphibians and Reptiles of Scotland)

• Petrovan, SO, Leu, M (2017) Hunting and Consumption of Passerine Birds by Wild Mallards (Anas platyrhynchos) Waterbirds 40 (2), 187-190 doi: 10.1675/063.040.0212   

Wormald K, Downie R, Petrovan S, Neal, R. (2015) The Froglife Trust: Working for amphibians and reptiles in the UK and beyond The Herpetological Bulletin, 1-6.


Research Associate

Contact Details