Sophie Bennett

Senior Research Ecologist

Sophie is currently working on delivering a programme of seabird tracking in Scotland investigating potential interactions of these species with offshore renewables developments, as well as supporting a range of projects within the Wetland and Marine team.

Interests & Responsibilities

Sophie is primarily a seabird ecologist and her fascination with these birds have taken her to a range of projects including monitoring shearwaters and petrels in New Zealand, as a seabird research assistant on the Farallon Islands in California, and most recently to Antarctica to survey penguin colonies. Sophie is interested in a range of questions related to seabird ecology, not limited to non-breeding behaviour, energetics, population ecology and developing monitoring methods.

Sophie has a particular interest in using emerging technologies to investigate key knowledge gaps in seabird behaviour and population ecology. Most recently Sophie was investigating the use of bioacoustics to improve monitoring coverage of European Storm Petrels in the UK. Further, for her PhD Sophie was using both camera traps and biologgers to investigate previously under-explored winter behaviours and energetics of Common Guillemots. Continuing this theme, Sophie is currently using camera traps to explore the winter behaviour of Northern Fulmars in Scotland.

Sophie is a very experienced field worker and has worked on a diverse range of ornithological field projects including on passerines, waders, wildfowl, raptors and of course seabirds. She is an active trainer with the BTO’s ringing scheme and supports coordination of much of the seabird ringing in the Inner Firth of Forth.

In her free time Sophie is a keen naturalist and enjoys monitoring and recording a range of taxa. Outside of her great fondness of the natural world Sophie enjoys climbing, playing guitar and learning languages.


BSc (Hons) Biology, University of Kent, 2016
MRes, Ecology, Evolution and Conservation, Imperial College London, 2017
PhD, University of Liverpool: ‘ The year-round importance of breeding sites in common guillemots Uria aalge, 2023

Other Publications

Lopez, S.L., Daunt, F., Wilson, J., O'Hanlon, N.J., Searle, K.R., Bennett, S., Newell, M.A., Harris, M.P. and Masden, E., 2023. Quantifying the impacts of predation by Great Black-backed Gulls Larus marinus on an Atlantic Puffin Fratercula arctica population: Implications for conservation management and impact assessments. Marine Environmental Research, 188, p.105994
Bennett, S., Harris, M.P., Wanless, S., Green, J.A., Newell, M.A., Searle, K.R. and Daunt, F., 2022. Earlier and more frequent occupation of breeding sites during the non‐breeding season increases breeding success in a colonial seabird. Ecology and Evolution, 12(9), p.e9213
Buckingham, L., Daunt, F., Bogdanova, M.I., Furness, R.W., Bennett, S., Duckworth, J., Dunn, R.E., Wanless, S., Harris, M.P., Jardine, D.C. and Newell, M.A., 2023. Energetic synchrony throughout the non‐breeding season in common guillemots from four colonies. Journal of Avian Biology, 2023(1-2), p.e03018
Bennett, S., Girndt, A., Sánchez-Tójar, A., Burke, T., Simons, M. and Schroeder, J., 2022. Evidence of paternal effects on telomere length increases in early life. Frontiers in Genetics, 13, p.880455
Bennett, S., Wanless, S., Harris, M.P., Newell, M.A., Searle, K., Green, J.A. and Daunt, F., 2022. Site‐dependent regulation of breeding success: Evidence for the buffer effect in the common guillemot, a colonially breeding seabird. Journal of Animal Ecology, 91(4), pp.752-765
Buckingham, L., Bogdanova, M.I., Green, J.A., Dunn, R.E., Wanless, S., Bennett, S., Bevan, R.M., Call, A., Canham, M., Corse, C.J. and Harris, M.P., 2022. Interspecific variation in non-breeding aggregation: a multi-colony tracking study of two sympatric seabirds. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 684, pp.181-197
O’Connor, R.E., Farré, M., Joseph, S., Damas, J., Kiazim, L., Jennings, R., Bennett, S., Slack, E.A., Allanson, E., Larkin, D.M. and Griffin, D.K., 2018. Chromosome-level assembly reveals extensive rearrangement in saker falcon and budgerigar, but not ostrich, genomes. Genome biology, 19, pp.1-15
Schroeder, J., Winney, I., Bennett, S., SÁNCHEZ-TÓJAR, A.L.F.R.E.D.O. and Girndt, A., 2018. The secret life of the Lundy house sparrows. Journal of the Lundy Field Society, 6, pp.101-104
O'Connor, R., Damas, J., Farré, M., Romanov, M.N., Martell, H., Fonseka, G., Jennings, R., Kiazam, L., Bennett, S., Ward, J. and Mandawala, A., 2016. Upgrading molecular cytogenetics to study reproduction and reproductive isolation in mammals, birds, and dinosaurs. Cytogenetic and Genome Research, 148(2–3), pp.151-152