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Steve Albon

Staff picture: Steve Albon
Ecological Sciences
Ecological Sciences
Honorary Fellow
+44 (0)344 928 5428 (*)

The James Hutton Institute
Aberdeen AB15 8QH
Scotland UK


Steve Albon was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, Scotland's National Academy of Sciences and Letters, in 2008. He has held an Honorary Chair at the University of Aberdeen since 1997.

Steve is part of the team developing the Valuing Nature Network – a NERC funded initiative to support inter-disciplinary partnerships to scope, develop and promote research capacity in the valuation (monetary and non-monetary) of biodiversity, ecosystem services and natural resources and facilitate the integration of such approaches in policy and practice in the public and private sectors.

Since March 2009, Steve has worked as Co-Chair, with Professor Robert Watson, Chief Scientist Defra, on the UK National Ecosystem Assessment (NEA). By the summer of 2011 the NEA will 1) a synthesis of the state and trends in broad habitats (ecosystems) and provision of ecosystem services, 2) an evaluation of future plausible scenarios to 2050 and possible policy responses to enhance ecosystem services for human well-being.

Steve is also Deputy Director of the Centre of Excellence in Epidemiology, Population health and Infectious disease Control (EPIC). Funded by the Scottish Government, the EPIC initiative is intended to deliver an evidence base for shaping policy and decision-making, informing industry and business about animal infections, providing practical solutions, and enriching science at all levels. Steve is involved in research on tick-borne diseases in wildlife and liver fluke in domestic livestock.

Between 2006 and 2011 Steve coordinated the Environment - Land Use and Rural Stewardship research programme for the Scottish Government. The programme explored the evidence base needed to achieve a balance between various land uses that shape and sustain multi-functional rural landscapes and communities.

Current research interests

Steve is best known for his involvement in the long-term research on the population ecology of red deer on the Isle of Rum, and Soay sheep on St Kilda. Currently, he is collaborating with Mick Crawley (Imperial College), in supervising a NERC Open CASE student, Ana Bento, on the influence of weather on plant growth over almost 30 years on Rum and 20 years on St Kilda. With colleagues at the Institute he is analysing how the red deer population in Scotland has grown in relation to an ameliorating climate and the likely effects of the recent reduction in sheep grazing in the uplands.

Also, Steve is involved with a long-term, Anglo-Norwegian, project exploring the effects of host-parasite interactions on the population dynamics of reindeer on Svalbard (78°N).  A species of gastro-intestinal parasite, ingested as free-living larvae on the tundra vegetation, regulates the reindeer population by depressing fecundity as burdens in individual reindeer rise following host population increases. Now with Ken Wilson (Lancaster University) and a NERC Open CASE student, Anja Carlsson, he is exploring the role of a second species of gut parasite which, rather amazingly, appears to be transmitted in the winter, and therefore may influence reindeer survival.


  • Irvine, R.J.; Albon, S.D.; Stien, A.; Halvorsen, O.; Carlsson, A.M. (2019) Manipulating parasites in an Arctic herbivore: gastrointestinal nematodes and the population regulation of Svalbard reindeer., In: Wilson, K., Fenton, A. & Tompkins, D. (eds.). Wildlife Disease Ecology: Linking Theory to Data and Application. British Ecological Society / Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp397-426.
  • Mace, G.M.; Bateman, I.; Albon, S.; Balmford, A.; Brown, C.; Church, A.; Haines-Young, R.; Pretty, J.N.; Turner, K.; Vira, B.; Winn, J. (2011) Conceptual framework and methodology., In: UK National Ecosystem Assessment. Understanding Nature's Value to Society. Technical Report. Cambridge, UNEP-WCMC, Chapter 2, pp11-26.
  • Watson, R.; Albon, S.; Aspinall, R.; Austen, M.; Bardgett, R.; Bateman, I.; Berry, P.; Bird, W.; Bradbury, R.; Brown, C.; Bullock, J.; Burgess, J.; Church, A.; Christie, S.; Crute, I.; Davies, L.; Edwards-Jones, G.; Emmett, B.; Firbank, L.; Fitter, A.; Gibson, C.; Hails, R.; Haines-Young, R.; Heathwaite, L.; Hopkins, J.; Jenkins, M.; Jones, L.; Mace, G.; Malcolm, S.; Maltby, E.; Maskell, L.; Norris, K.; Ormerod, S.; Osborne, J.; Pretty, J.; Quine, C.; Russell, S.; Simpson, L.; Smith, P.; Tierney, M. Turner, K.; van der Wal, R.; Vira, B.; Walpole, M.; Watkinson, A.; Weighell, T.; Winn, J.; Winter, M. (2011) The UK National Ecosystem Assessment: Synthesis of the key findings., UNEP-WCMC, Cambridge.
  • Riordan, P.; Hudson, P.J.; Albon, S.D. (2006) Do parasites matter? Infectious diseases and the conservation of host populations., In: Key Topics in Conservation (ed. D.W. Macdonald). Chapter 11, Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp156-172.

Scientific Posters / Conferences

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The James Hutton Research Institute is the result of the merger in April 2011 of MLURI and SCRI. This merger formed a new powerhouse for research into food, land use, and climate change.