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Department of Zoology



• 2016–present: Senior Research Associate (Research Associate 2016-2021) - 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), Lauren Moore (Nottingham Trent University) and Ashley Simkins (Cambridge 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 wildlife 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 running the international expert assessments of evidence as well as editing the annual What Works In Conservation volume. I also contribute as an author to various elements of evidence synthesis. 

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

Toads: Amphibians surprise biologists by climbing trees | New Scientist

Climate change threat to seabirds must be properly considered for their conservation to be effective (

Wildlife and livestock a risk factor in future pandemics, say studies | Infectious diseases | The Guardian


Key publications: 


• Häkkinen, H., Taylor, N. G., Pettorelli, N., Sutherland, W. J., Aldará, J., Anker‐Nilssen, T., ... & Petrovan, S. (2023). Co‐developing guidance for conservation: An example for seabirds in the North‐East Atlantic in the face of climate change impacts. Conservation Science and Practice, e12985.

• Moore, L. J., Petrovan, S. O., Bates, A. J., Hicks, H. L., Baker, P. J., Perkins, S. E., & Yarnell, R. W. (2023). Demographic effects of road mortality on mammalian populations: a systematic review. Biological Reviews.

• Häkkinen, H., Petrovan, S. O., Taylor, N. G., Sutherland, W. J., & Pettorelli, N. (2023). Seabirds in the North-East Atlantic: Climate change vulnerability and potential conservation actions. Open Book Publishers.

• White, T. B., Mukherjee, N., Petrovan, S. O., & Sutherland, W. J. (2023). Identifying opportunities to deliver effective and efficient outcomes from business-biodiversity action. Environmental Science & Policy, 140, 221-231.

White, T. B., Petrovan, S. O., Bennun, L. A., Butterworth, T., Christie, A. P., ... & Sutherland, W. J. (2023). Principles for using evidence to improve biodiversity impact mitigation by business. Business Strategy and the Environment.  

• White, K. J., Petrovan, S. O., & Mayes, W. M. (2023). Pollutant accumulation in road mitigation tunnels for amphibians: A multisite comparison on an ignored but important issue. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution, 11, 228.

• Petrovan, S. O., Al-Fulaij, N., Christie, A., & Andrews, H. (2022). Why link diverse citizen science surveys? Widespread arboreal habits of a terrestrial amphibian revealed by mammalian tree surveys in Britain. Plos one, 17(7), e0265156.

• Bartlett, H., Holmes, M. A., Petrovan, S. O., Williams, D. R., Wood, J. L., & Balmford, A. (2022). Understanding the relative risks of zoonosis emergence under contrasting approaches to meeting livestock product demand. Royal Society Open Science, 9(6), 211573.

 • Downey, H., Bretagnolle, V.,...Petrovan, S.O.... & Sutherland, W. J. (2022). Principles for the production of evidence‐based guidance for conservation actions. Conservation Science and Practice, 4(5), e12663.

 • White, T., Petrovan, S., Christie, A., Martin, P., & Sutherland, W. (2022). What is the price of conservation; a review of the status quo and recommendations for improving cost reporting. BioScience 72 (5), 461-471

• Hakkinen, H., Petrovan, S., Sutherland, W., Dias, M. P., Ameca, E. I., Oppel, S., ... & Pettorelli, N. (2022). Linking climate change vulnerability research and evidence on conservation action effectiveness to safeguard seabird populations in Western Europe. Journal of Applied Ecology (in press)

• Christie, A. P., White, T. B., Martin, P. A., Petrovan, S. O., Bladon, A. J., Bowkett, A. E., ... & Sutherland, W. J. (2021). Reducing publication delay to improve the efficiency and impact of conservation science. PeerJ, 9, e12245.  

• Sutherland, W. J., Taylor, N. G., Aldridge, D. C., Martin, P., Rhodes, C., Shackelford, G., ... & Petrovan, S. O. (2021). A solution scan of societal options to reduce transmission and spread of respiratory viruses: SARS-CoV-2 as a case study. Journal of biosafety and biosecurity, 3(2), 84-90.

• Häkkinen, H., Petrovan, S. O., Sutherland, W. J., & Pettorelli, N. (2021). Terrestrial or marine species distribution model: Why not both? A case study with seabirds. Ecology and evolution, 11(23), 16634-16646.

Amano T, Berdejo-Espinola, V.,....Petrovan SO,  ... & Sutherland WJ (2021). Tapping into non-English-language science for the conservation of global biodiversity. PLoS biology, 19(10), e3001296.

• Petrovan SO, Aldridge DC, Bartlett H, Bladon AJ, Booth H, Broad S, ... & Sutherland WJ (2021). Post COVID‐19: a solution scan of options for preventing future zoonotic epidemics. Biological Reviews

• Moore LJ, Petrovan SO, Baker PJ, Bates AJ, Hicks HL, Perkins SE, Yarnell RW. (2020) Impacts and potential mitigation of road mortality for hedgehogs in Europe. Animals 10(9):1523.

• 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 

• 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) 344-352DOI: 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.


Senior Research Associate

Contact Details

Accepting applications for PhD students.