Dr Nancy Harrison

Nancy Harrison

Principal Lecturer

Animal and Environment Research Group

Nancy is an ornithologist with diverse interests in avian behaviour, ecology and conservation. She has worked with seabirds for many years and has made eight research cruises to the Bering Sea and two to the Antarctic.

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Nancy has worked extensively on seabirds in Scottish waters. She worked in the early 1990s for the RSPB as Marine Policy Officer, campaigning for the protection of marine birds and the marine environment. Her recent research and teaching has focused on garden birds – particularly the consequences of urbanisation, working with undergraduate and postgraduate students in the Cambridge University Botanic Garden.

Research interests

Nancy is a member of the Animal and Environment Research Group in the Department of Life Sciences. Her research is on birds and their conservation, with published work in the following areas:

  • avian behaviour
  • avian conservation
  • habitat restoration
  • seabird ecology and conservation
  • urban biodiversity and conservation


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BSc ZoologyMSc Applied Wildlife Conservation

Population Ecology and Wildlife Management (undergraduate), Landscapes, Ecological Networks and Ecosystem Services (postgraduate), Communication Skills for Conservation (postgraduate), Invasive Species and Other Drivers of Distribution Change (postgraduate)


  • PhD Biology, University of California Irvine
  • BSc Wildlife Biology, University of California Davis

Memberships, editorial boards

  • Member, Working Group on Seabird Ecology of ICES – International Council for Exploration of the Seas

Selected recent publications

Mackenzie, J.A., Hinsley S.A. and Harrison N.M., 2014. Parid foraging choices in urban habitat and their consequences for fitness. Ibis, 156, pp.591-605.

Richards N.L., Hall, S.W., Harrison, N.M., Gautam, L., Scott, K.S., Dowling, G., Zorilla, I. and Fajardo, I., 2014. Merging Wildlife and Environmental Monitoring Approaches with Forensic Principles: Application of Unconventional and Non-Invasive Sampling in Eco-Pharmacovigilance. Journal of Forensic Research, 5, p.3.

Whitehouse, M.J., Harrison, N.M., Mackenzie, J.M. and Hinsley, S.A., 2013. Preferred Habitat of Breeding Birds may be Compromised by Climate Change: Unexpected Effects of an Exceptionally Cold, Wet Spring. PLoS One (doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0075536).

Harrison, N.M., Whitehouse, M.J. and Madureira, L.A.D.P., 2013. Observations of the under-described avifauna of the Mostardas Peninsula, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil. Check List, 9(2), pp.391-399.

Harrison, N.M. and Whitehouse, M.J., 2012. Drivers of songbird productivity at a restored gravel pit: Influence of seasonal flooding and rainfall patterns and implications for habitat management. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment, 162, pp.138-143.

Richards, N.L., Hall, S., Scott, K.S. and Harrison, N.M., 2011. Short communication: First instance of detection of the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug flunixin in sheep's wool. Environmental Pollution, 159 (5), pp.1446-1450.

Richards, N.L., Cooke, G., Simpson, V., Hall, S., Harrison, N.M. and Scott, K.S., 2011. Short communication: Qualitative detection of the NSAIDs diclofenac and ibuprofen in the hair of Eurasian otters (Lutra lutra) occupying UK waterways with GC-MS. European Journal of Wildlife Research.

Harrision, N.M. and Whitehouse, J.M., 2011. Mixed-species flocks: an example of niche construction? Animal Behaviour, 81, pp.675-682.

Gordon, A.I.V. and Harrison, N.M., 2010. Observations of mixed-species bird flocks at Kichwa Tembo Camp, Kenya. Ostrich, 81, pp.259-264.

Ridley, C., Harrison, N.M. and Pugh, P.J.A., 2010. Identifying the origins of fishing gear ingested by seabirds foraging over the Southern Ocean: a novel multivariate approach. Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Systems, 20, pp.621-631.

Phillips, R.A., Ridley, C., Reid, K., Pugh, P.J.A., Tuck, G.N. and Harrison, N., 2010. Ingestion of fishing gear and entanglements of seabirds: monitoring and implications for management. Biological Conservation, 143, pp.501-512.

Hinsley, S., Hill, R., Bellamy, P., Broughton, R.K., Harrison, N., Mackenzie, J.A., Speakman, and Ferns, P., 2009. Do highly modified landscapes favour generalists at the expense of specialists? An example using woodland birds. Landscape Research, 34, pp.509-26.

Hinsley, S., Hill, R., Bellamy, P., Harrison, N., Speakman, J., Wilson, A., and Ferns, P., 2008. Effects of structural and functional gaps on breeding birds: working harder for less. Landscape Ecology, 23, pp.615-626.

Miles, W., Freeman, S.N., Harrison, N.M. and Balmer, D.E., 2007. Measuring passerine productivity using constant effort sites: the effect of missed visits. Ringing and Migration, 23, pp.231-237.

Richards, N.L., Scott, K.S., Hall, S. and Harrison, N.M., 2006. Detection of NSAISs in livestock animals and scavenging birds of prey with emphasis on vultures and condors. Vulture News, 54, pp.68-71.

Bellamy, P.E., Hinsley, S.A., Taylor, A. and Harrison, N.M., 2005. The Birds of Brampton Wood: the Results from 12 Years of Study. In: Collins, T., Dickerson, B., Walker, P.E.G. and Wells, T.C.E. (eds), Brampton Wood – A Natural History. Hunstanton: Witley Press Ltd.

Harrison, N.M., Whitehouse, M.J., Prince, P.A. and Huin, N., 2000. What problems do local habitat change represent for the Constant Effort Site ringing scheme?Ringing and Migration, 20, pp.1-8.

Russell, R.W., Harrison, N.M. and Hunt, G.L. Jr, 1999. Foraging at a front: hydrography, zooplankton and arian planktivory in the northern Bering Sea. Marine Ecology – Progress Series, 182, pp.77-93.

Durazo, R., Harrison, N.M., Hill, A.E., 1998. Seabird observations at a tidal mixing front in the Irish Sea. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, 47, pp.53-164.

Harrison, N.M., Webb, A. and Leaper, G., 1994. Patterns in seabird distribution west of Scotland. Aquatic Conservation, 4, pp.21-30.

Harrison, N.M., 1994. Fisheries review: with emphasis on nature conservation- fisheries interactions. Marine Environmental Management – review of events in 1993 and future trends, 1, pp.49-52.

Hunt, G.L. Jr, Harrison, N.M. and Piatt, J.F., 1993. Foraging ecology as related to the distribution of planktivorous auklets in the Bering Sea. In: Vermeer, K., Briggs K.T., Morgan, K.H. and Siegel-Causey, D. (eds), The status, ecology and conservation of marine birds of the North Pacific. Ottawa: Canadian Wildlife Service Special Publication.

Grebmeier, J.M. and Harrison, N.M., 1992. Seabird feeding on benthic amphipods facilitated by gray whale activity in the northern Bering Sea. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 80, pp.125-133.

Harrison, N.M., Whitehouse, M.J., Heinemann, D., Prince, P.A., Hunt Jr, G.L. and Veit, R.R., 1991. Observations of multispecies seabird flocks around South Georgia. Auk, 108, pp.801-810.

Harrison, N.M., Hunt  G.L. Jr and Cooney, R.T., 1990. Front affecting the distribution of seabirds in the northern Bering Sea. Polar Res, 8, pp.29-31.

Hunt, G.L. Jr and Harrison, N.M., 1990. Foraging habitat and prey taken by least auklets at King Island, Alaska. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 65, pp.141-150.

Harrison, N.M., 1990. Gelatinous zooplankton in the diet of the Parakeet Auklet:Comparisons with other auklets. Studies in Avian Biology, 14, pp.114-124.

Schneider, D.C., Harrison, N.M. and Hunt, G.L. Jr, 1990. Seabird diet at a front near the Pribilif Islands, Alaska. Studies in Avian Biology, 14, pp.61-66.