Skip to main content

Ecology and Conservation

Dr Nicola Weber

Dr Nicola Weber

Senior Lecturer in Marine Ecology and Conservation

 01326 255256

 Stella Turk Building B046 L05


University of Exeter, Penryn Campus, Penryn, TR10 9FE



BSc (Hons) Marine & Environmental Biology, University of St Andrews (2007)

MSc Conservation & Biodiversity, University of Exeter (2008)

PhD Biological Sciences, Quantifying contact rates and space use in the Eurasian bager (Meles meles): Implications for the transmission of bovine tuberculosis, University of Exeter (2011)

ASPIRE Fellowship/ Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy (2019)


Senior Lecturer, University of Exeter (2022 - present)

Lecturer, University of Exeter (2019 - 2022)

Associate Lecturer, University of Exeter (2017-2019)

Conservation Advisor, UK Overseas Territories Conservation Forum (2017 - 2019)

Head of Conservation, Ascension Island Government (2013-2016)

Darwin Post-Doctoral Researcher (2012-2013) Developing and Implementing a Biodiversity Action Plan for Ascension Island

OTEP Post-Doctoral Researcher (2011-2012): Status Assessment of Marine Turtles on Ascension Island

Research group links

Back to top


Research interests

I am an ecologist with a varied background having studied seals, birds and badgers in the UK, and sea turtles, seabirds, land crabs and invasive species on Ascension Island in the South Atlantic. I enjoy carrying out research that has practical applications, in particular for biodiversity conservation, and have been involved in the drafting and implementation of biodiversity action plans and legislation to underpin change. I have current research interests in marine management and conservation, island ecology, and am involved with projects in the UK’s Overseas Territories, which support over 90% of the UK’s unique biodiversity. I am also interested in the communication of science and the role of citizen science.

Research projects

Grant Funded Research Projects


A Marine Turtle Action Plan for Montserrat (2020 - 2023). Project Leader. Darwin Initiative Funded

Climate Resiliance and Conservation of Ascension's Biodiversity (2020 - 2022). Darwin Initiative Funded


Tracking Marine Megafauna at Ascension Island: towards evidence-based 'blue belts' (2016 - 2018). Project Leader. Darwin Initiative Funded

Mapping Ascension Island's Terrestrial Ecosystem (2015 - 2016). Project Leader. Darwin Initiative Funded

Taxonomic and conservation status of Oceanodroma storm petrels in the South Atlantic (2014 - 2015). Darwin Initiative Funded

Ascension Island Marine Sustainability (AIMS) - a fisheries and marine biodiversity project (2014 - 2016). Project Leader. Darwin Initiative Funded

Operation Land Crab: Supporting the conservation of the land crab on Ascension Island (2013 - 2015). Project Leader. Flora and Fauna International Flagship Species Funded

Implementing a Darwin Initiative Biodiversity Action Plan for Ascension Island (2012 - 2015) Post-Doctoral Researcher. Darwin Initiative Funded 

Status Assessment of Marine Turtles on Ascension Island (2011 - 2012) Post-Doctoral Researcher. OTEP Funded

Back to top


Journal articles

Silk M, Weber NL, Steward LC, Hodgson D, Boots M, Croft DP, Delahay RJ, McDonald R (In Press). Contact networks structured by sex underpin sex-specific epidemiology of infection. Ecology Letters
Weber SB, Richardson AJ, Brown J, Bolton M, Clark B, Godley B, Leat EHK, Oppel S, Soetaert KER, Weber N, et al (In Press). Direct evidence of a prey depletion ‘halo’ surrounding a pelagic predator colony. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of USA
Stevens M, Broderick AC, Godley BJ, Lown AE, Troscianko J, Weber N, Weber SB (In Press). Phenotype-Environment Matching in Sand Fleas. Biology Letters
Silk MJ, Drewe JA, Delahay RJ, Weber N, Steward LC, Wilson-Aggarwal J, Boots M, Hodgson DJ, Croft DP, McDonald RA, et al (In Press). Quantifying direct and indirect contacts for the potential transmission of infection between species using a multilayer contact network. Behaviour
Silk MJ, Webber N, Steward LC, Delahay RJ, Croft DP, Hodgson, Hodgson DJ, Boots M, McDonald RA (In Press). Seasonal variation in daily patterns of social contacts in the European badger Meles meles. Ecology and Evolution
Silk MJ, Croft DP, Delahay RJ, Hodgson DJ, Boots M, Weber N, McDonald RA (In Press). Using social network metrics in wildlife disease ecology, epidemiology and management. Bioscience
Wiggins J, Baum D, Broderick AC, Capel T, Colman LP, Hunt T, Simmons DL, McGurk J, Mortlock L, Nightingale R, et al (2023). Efficacy of artificial nest shading as a climate change adaptation measure for marine turtles at Ascension Island. Wildlife Society Bulletin, 47(4). Abstract.
Reynolds SJ, Wearn CP, Hughes BJ, Dickey RC, Garrett LJH, Walls S, Hughes FT, Weber N, Weber SB, Leat EHK, et al (2021). Year-Round Movements of Sooty Terns (Onychoprion fuscatus) Nesting Within One of the Atlantic’s Largest Marine Protected Areas. Frontiers in Marine Science, 8 Abstract.
Mallon JM, Tucker MA, Beard A, Bierregaard RO, Bildstein KL, Böhning‐Gaese K, Brzorad JN, Buechley ER, Bustamante J, Carrapato C, et al (2020). Diurnal timing of nonmigratory movement by birds: the importance of foraging spatial scales. Journal of Avian Biology, 51(12). Abstract.
Weber N, Weber SB (2019). Important Bird Areas: Ascension Island. British Birds, 112, 661-682.
Reynolds SJ, Hughes BJ, Wearn CP, Dickey RC, Brown J, Weber NL, Weber SB, Paiva VH, Ramos JA (2019). Long-term dietary shift and population decline of a pelagic seabird-A health check on the tropical Atlantic?. Glob Chang Biol, 25(4), 1383-1394. Abstract.  Author URL.
Tilley D, Ball S, Ellick J, Godley BJ, Weber N, Weber SB, Broderick AC (2019). No evidence of fine scale thermal adaptation in green turtles. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, 514-515, 110-117. Abstract.
Richardson AJ, Downes KJ, Nolan ET, Brickle P, Brown J, Weber N, Weber SB (2018). Residency and reproductive status of yellowfin tuna in a proposed large-scale pelagic marine protected area. Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems, 28(6), 1308-1316. Abstract.
Rozins C, Silk MJ, Croft DP, Delahay RJ, Hodgson DJ, McDonald RA, Weber N, Boots M (2018). Social structure contains epidemics and regulates individual roles in disease transmission in a group-living mammal. Ecology and Evolution, 8(23), 12044-12055. Abstract.
Oppel S, Bolton M, Carneiro APB, Dias MP, Green JA, Masello JF, Phillips RA, Owen E, Quillfeldt P, Beard A, et al (2018). Spatial scales of marine conservation management for breeding seabirds. Marine Policy, 98, 37-46. Abstract.
Weber SB, Weber N, Godley BJ, Pelembe T, Stroud S, Williams N, Broderick AC (2017). Ascension Island as a mid-Atlantic developmental habitat for juvenile hawksbill turtles. Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom, 97(4), 813-820. Abstract.
Nolan ET, Barnes DKA, Brown J, Downes K, Enderlein P, Gowland E, Hogg OT, Laptikhovsky V, Morley SA, Mrowicki RJ, et al (2017). Biological and physical characterization of the seabed surrounding Ascension Island from 100-1000 m. Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom, 97(4), 647-659. Abstract.
Nolan ET, Downes KJ, Richardson A, Arkhipkin A, Brickle P, Brown J, Mrowicki RJ, Shcherbich Z, Weber N, Weber SB, et al (2017). Life-history strategies of the rock hind grouper Epinephelus adscensionis at Ascension Island. Journal of Fish Biology, 91(6), 1549-1568. Abstract.
Williams SM, Weber SB, Oppel S, Leat EHK, Sommerfeld J, Godley BJ, Weber N, Broderick AC (2017). Satellite Telemetry Reveals the First Record of the Ascension Frigatebird (Fregata aquila) for the Americas. Wilson Journal of Ornithology, 129(3), 600-604. Abstract.
Oppel S, Weber S, Weber N, Fox D, Leat E, Sim J, Sommerfeld J, Bolton M, Broderick AC, Godley BJ, et al (2017). Seasonal shifts in foraging distribution due to individual flexibility in a tropical pelagic forager, the Ascension frigatebird. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 585, 199-212. Abstract.
Silk MJ, Croft DP, Delahay RJ, Hodgson DJ, Weber N, Boots M, Mcdonald RA (2017). The application of statistical network models in disease research. Methods in Ecology and Evolution Abstract.
Oppel S, Beard A, Fox D, Mackley E, Leat E, Henry L, Clingham E, Fowler N, Sim J, Sommerfeld J, et al (2015). Foraging distribution of a tropical seabird supports Ashmole’s hypothesis of population regulation. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 69(6), 915-926.
Fletcher KIG, Sim J, Williams N, Weber N, Küpper FC, van West P (2015). Novel lineage of a green alga and <i>Acremonium stroudii</i> (Ascomycota) sp. nov. reported from Ascension Island. Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom, 97(4), 669-679. Abstract.
Hartnoll RG, Regnier-McKellar C, Weber N, Weber SB (2014). RETURN TO THE LAND; THE STAGES OF TERRESTRIAL RECRUITMENT IN LAND CRABS. CRUSTACEANA, 87(5), 531-539.  Author URL.
Weber SB, Weber N, Ellick J, Avery A, Frauenstein R, Godley BJ, Sim J, Williams N, Broderick AC (2014). Recovery of the South Atlantic's largest green turtle nesting population. BIODIVERSITY AND CONSERVATION, 23(12), 3005-3018.  Author URL.
Weber NL, Carter SP, Dall SRX, Delahay RJ, McDonald JL, Bearhop S, McDonald RA (2013). Badger social networks correlate with tuberculosis infection. Current Biology, 23(20), R915-R916. Abstract.
Weber N, Bearhop S, Dall SRX, Delahay RJ, McDonald RA, Carter SP (2013). Denning behaviour of the European badger (Meles meles) correlates with bovine tuberculosis infection status. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 67, 471-479. Abstract.
Drewe JA, O'Connor HM, Weber N, McDonald RA, Delahay RJ (2013). Patterns of direct and indirect contact between cattle and badgers naturally infected with tuberculosis. Epidemiology and Infection, 141(7), 1467-1475. Abstract.
Weber N, Weber SB, Godley BJ, Ellick J, Witt M, Broderick AC (2013). Telemetry as a tool for improving estimates of marine turtle abundance. Biological Conservation, 167, 90-96. Abstract.
Drewe JA, Weber N, Carter SP, Bearhop S, Harrison XA, Dall SRX, McDonald RA, Delahay RJ (2012). Performance of proximity loggers in recording intra- and inter-species interactions: a laboratory and field-based validation study. PLoS One, 7(6). Abstract.
Rutz CR, Bluff LA, Reed N, Troscianko J, Newton J, Inger R, Kacelnik A, Bearhop S (2010). The Ecological Significance of Tool Use in New Caledonian Crows. Science, 329, 1523-1525. Abstract.


Weber N, Weber S (2020). Impacts and Management of Invasive Species in the UK Overseas Territories. In  (Ed) Land Cover and Land Use Change on Islands Social & Ecological Threats to Sustainability, Springer, 277-298. Abstract.

Back to top

External Engagement and Impact

Senior Research Fellow: South Atlantic Environmental Research Institute

Back to top


Biodiversity and conservation, spanning the marine realm through to terrestrial island ecology, including the effects and management of invasive species.

Programme Director for Professional Placement degree in Biosciences, Penryn. 

Module lead for:



Back to top

Supervision / Group

Postgraduate researchers

  • Catherine Wensink
  • Jack Wiggins

Back to top

Office Hours:

Monday, Thursday, Friday 10am - 11am. 

I am happy meet at other times on days when available.

**Please note that I have moved and am now in the Stella Turk Building and not DDM**

Back to top

Edit Profile