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Dr Simon Pooley

Lambert Lecturer in Environment (Applied Herpetology)

MA (University of Cape Town); MA (Birkbeck); D.Phil (University of Oxford)


  • In my research, teaching and conservation practice I focus on the conservation of biodiversity and human wellbeing and cultural diversity. I apply my research to real world challenges.
  • Before taking up the Lambert Lectureship, I was a lecturer and course director in conservation science at Imperial College London. I completed my D.Phil in environmental history (University of Oxford) in 2010, going on to Junior Research Fellowships at St Antony’s College, Oxford (2010-2012) and Imperial College London (2012-2015).
  • My research is interdisciplinary, ranging across the fields of animal geography, historical geography, environmental humanities (history in particular), ethnozoology and conservation science.
  • A current focus is human-wildlife encounters, conflicts and coexistence, and in particular the crocodilians worldwide, with fieldwork in southern Africa and India. I serve on the IUCN Task Force on Human Wildlife Conflict, and the IUCN Crocodile Specialist Group.
  • Data and advice based on my crocodile research in southern Africa can be viewed at: and are distributed in the region as booklets and posters.
  • My other research interests include the challenges of interdisciplinarity, the history of wildlife conservation, environmental histories of wildfire, and biological invasions in Mediterranean-type regions.


  • I hugely enjoy teaching my module Global Nature Conservation. You can see a course outline here.
  • I teach environmental science for environmental management to MSc and undergraduate students at Birkbeck.
  • I have previously tutored and lectured on a wide variety of subjects from Conservation Science (Imperial College London); through Global and Imperial History, South African history, and African environments (at Oxford and Sussex universities).
  • I became a Fellow of The Higher Education Academy in July 2016.


  • I am interested in supervising research on human-predator relations; on collecting, analysing, visualising and communicating data on human-predator interactions; ethnozoology; conceptions on Nature in the Anthropocene; the history of wildlife conservation and conservation science; the uses and abuses of history and historical data in ecology and conservation science; critical thinking on biological invasions and restoration ecology; and wildfire.
  • I am currently co-supervising PhD theses as follows:
    • Antonia Scarr: Is ecology considered in the management of English estuaries? Co-supervisor: Prof. Mike Elliott, at Hull University.
    • Josh Taylor: Co-existence with predators and motivations for adapting conflict mitigation strategies in North-west Patagonia, Argentina. Co-supervisor: Dr Valeria Fernandez-Arhex, at the National University of Cordoba, Argentina.
  • I have supervised MSc and BSc theses at Imperial College London and at Birkbeck, and examined PhD students at the universities of Oxford and Edinburgh.

Selected Publications

  • Books:
    • Queiroz and S. Pooley (eds), 2018, Histories of Bioinvasions in the Mediterranean (Springer).
    • S. Pooley, 2014, Burning Table Mountain: An environmental history of fire on the Cape Peninsula (Palgrave Macmillan).
    • W. Beinart, K. Middleton, S. Pooley (ed.s). 2013. Wild Things: Nature and the Social Imagination (White Horse Press, Cambridge).
  • Book chapters:
    • S. Pooley, 2014, ‘Invasion of the Crocodiles,’ in Iain McCalman, Jodi Frawley (eds.) Rethinking Invasion Ecologies from the Environmental Humanities (Routledge Environmental Humanities)
    • Introductions and chapters in Histories of Bioinvasions and Wild Things (see above).
  • Journal articles (2016-present only):
    • 2020. Pooley, S., Bhatia, S. and Vasava, A. Rethinking the study of Human-Wildlife Coexistence. Conservation Biology (in press).
    • 2020. Von Essen, M., Leung, W.T.M., Bosch, J., Pooley, S., Ayres, C. and Price, S.J. High pathogen prevalence in an amphibian and reptile assemblage at a site with risk factors for dispersal in Galicia, Spain. PloS ONE 15(7): e0236803
    • 2020. Powell, G., Versluys, T., Williams, J.J., Tiedt, S., Pooley, S. Using environmental niche modelling to investigate abiotic predictors of crocodilian attacks on people. Oryx (First View).
    • 2019. S. Pooley, H. Botha, X. Combrink and G. Powell. Synthesising Nile crocodile attack data and historical context to inform mitigation efforts in South Africa and eSwatini (Swaziland). Oryx (First View)
    • 2019. S. Pooley. Bioinvasions and the idea of the Mediterranean. Geography, 104(2): 106-108.
    • 2018, S. Pooley, ‘Descent with modification: critical use of historical evidence for conservation,’ Conservation Letters. Early View: DOI: 10.1111/conl.12437
    • 2018, S. Pooley, ‘Fire, smoke and expertise in South Africa’s grasslands’, Environmental History, 23:1, 28-55.
    • 2017, S. Pooley, M. Barua, W. Beinart, et al. ‘An interdisciplinary review of current and future approaches to improving human-predator relations’, Conservation Biology 31(3), 513-523.
    • 2017, S. Redpath, J. Linnell, M. Festa-Bianchet, ... S. Pooley, et al., ‘Don’t forget to look down – collaborative approaches to predator conservation,’ Biological Reviews.
    • 2016, S. Pooley, ‘A Cultural herpetology of Nile crocodiles in Africa’, Conservation & Society, 14: 4, 391-405.
    • 2016, S. Pooley, ‘The entangled relations of humans and Nile crocodiles in Africa, c.1840-1992’, Environment and History, 33:2, 421-454.


Professional Membership

  • I am an Associate Editor of the new journal Frontiers in Conservation Science.
  • I am a member of the Society for Conservation Biology, IUCN Crocodile Specialist Group and IUCN Task Force on Human-Wildlife Conflict.

Contact details:

Room 405

Department of Geography

32 Tavistock Sq.

London, WC1H 9EZ


Tel: 020 3073 8440


Twitter: @s_pooley