Dr Rachel Williams


Department: H.E. (Animal Behaviour and Welfare)

Email: rachel.williams@kmc.ac.uk

Tel: 01305 215007


Rachel has a broad interest in animal behaviour, ecology and conservation. Her research specialism is citizen science. Her PhD aimed to assess volunteer-collected data on captive otter behaviour, the use of nestboxes by dormice, suitability of habitat for watervoles, and hedgehog preference for particular garden features. During her undergraduate studies, Rachel investigated the human-wolf conflict in Bulgaria, and volunteered as a research assistant in rainforests and on coral reefs in Indonesia. Rachel was recently involved in marine ecology research on rocky shores in Portugal and Spain, and also conducts regular wildlife surveys with the Dorset Mammal Group. She is passionate about getting students involved in research.


BSc (hons) Animal Biology – first class (University of Gloucestershire)

PhD “The importance and effectiveness of volunteer-collected data in ecology and conservation” (University of Gloucestershire)

Research Specialisms / Interests

Citizen science

Animal Behaviour


Wildlife Conservation

Student research



Gargan M., Slater P., Williams R. (2007) Language and ecology: three student perspectives, In: Roberts, C. and Roberts, J. (eds.) Greener by Degrees: Exploring Sustainability through Higher Education Curricula. Geography Discipline Network, Cheltenham, UK. pp 81-89

Journal Articles:

Stafford, R, Williams, R.L., Herbert, R.J.H. (2015) Simple, policy friendly, ecological interaction models from uncertain data and expert opinion, Ocean & Coastal Management, In Press.

Stafford, R., Williams, R.L. (2014) Teaching basic numeracy, predictive models and socioeconomics to marine ecologists through Bayesian belief networks, F1000 Research, Approved.

Williams, R.L., Hart, A.G., Goodenough, A.E., Stafford, R. (2013) Using long-term volunteer records to examine dormouse Muscardinus avellanarius nestbox selection, PLOS One, 8(6): e67986

Williams, R.L., Porter, S.K., Hart, A.G., Goodenough, A.E. (2012) The accuracy of behavioural data collected by visitors in a zoo environment – Can visitors collect meaningful data? International Journal of Zoology, Article ID 724835

Goodenough, A.E., Smith, A.L., Stubbs, H., Williams, R.L., Hart, A.G. (2012) Observer variability in measuring animal biometrics and fluctuating asymmetry when using digital analysis of photographs, Annales Zoologici Fennici, 49: 81-92

Williams R.L., Goodenough A.E., Stafford R. (2012) Statistical precision of diet diversity from scat and pellet analysis, Ecological Informatics, 7: 30-34

Stafford R., Williams R.L. (2011) Open Educational Sources in Ecology, Bulletin of the British Ecological Society, 42 (3): 39

Stafford R., Williams R.L, Kirkhope C.L (2011) Complex systems – what ecology teaches us about the credit crisis and long-term economic recovery, Progress in Economics Research, 20: 307-317

Stafford R., Hart A.G., Collins L., Kirkhope C.L., Williams R.L., Rees S.G., Lloyd J.R., Goodenough A.E. (2010) Eu-Social Science: the Role of Internet Social Networks in the Collection of Bee Biodiversity Data, PLoS ONE, 5: e14381

Kirkhope C.L., Williams R.L., Catlin-Groves C.L., Rees S.G., Montesanti C., Jowers J., Stubbs H., Newberry J., Hart A.G., Goodenough A.E., Stafford R. (2010) Social Networking for Biodiversity: the BeeID Project. In: Shoniregun C.A. (ed) Proceedings of the iSociety 2010 Conference, London. pp. 637-638

Williams R. (2007) On voit grand. Très grand: Language and the construction of nature across cultures, Language and Ecology, 2(1)


Speaker at a symposium entitled “Applying citizen science generated species occurrence data in ecology and conservation research” at the Third European Congress of Conservation Biology (ECCB) in Glasgow

Poster presentation at the Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour (ASAB) Easter Conference at the University of Aberystwyth:

Abstract: Visitors at a wetland centre were asked to record behavioural data for a group of captive otters by means of a short questionnaire. Using a novel analysis technique based on PCA, visitor data were compared to baseline activity budget data collected by a biologist to determine whether visitor data were accurate. Although questionnaire response rate was high, visitors were unable to collect accurate data on the otters’ activity budget. The principal reason was that visitors exceeded the observation time, rather than being unable to record behaviours accurately. I propose that automated recording stations might prevent this.

Presentation of PhD research at the Postgraduate Research Conference at the University of Gloucestershire

Course Tutor / Programme Leader

FdSc Animal Behaviour and Welfare

BSc Animal Behaviour and Welfare

Course / Programme Lecturer

FdSc Animal Behaviour and Welfare

FdSc Marine Ecology and Conservation

BSc Animal Behaviour and Welfare

Unit Lecturer

Introductory Marine Ecology

Study and Research Skills

Companion Animal Behaviour

Applied Conservation of Wildlife

Zoo Conservation Biology

Personal Research Dissertation

Epidemiology, Health and Welfare

Cognition and Behaviour Management