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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.


  • Clutton-Brock, T.H.; Grenfell, B.T.; Coulson, T.N.; MacColl, A.D.C.; Illius, A.W.; Forchhammer, M.C.; Wilson, K.; Lindstrom, J.; Crawley, M.J.; Albon, S.D. (2004) Activities for school children in response to COVID-19. Activity sheets on SEFARI Gateway web site: Best pH for your plants Biodiversity Bug detectives Composting fun Cooking together Crossword How to collect soil bugs Make your own edible soil profile Identify creatures of the crofts Make your bottle wormery Learn about soil organisms Spot the difference Where's Heather?, In: Soay Sheep: Dynamics and Selection in an Island Population (eds. T. H. Clutton-Brock and J.M. Pemberton). Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp52-88.
  • Crawley, M.J.; Albon, S.D.; Bazely, D.R.; Milner, J.M.; Pilkington, J.G.; Tuke, A.L. (2004) Vegetation and sheep population dynamics., In: Soay Sheep: Dynamics and Selection in an Island Population (eds. T. H. Clutton-Brock and J.M. Pemberton). Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp89-112.
  • Milner, J.M.; Albon, S.D.; Kruuk, L.E.B.; Pemberton, J.M. (2004) Selection of phenotype., In: Soay Sheep: Dynamics and Selection in an Island Population (eds. T. H. Clutton-Brock and J.M. Pemberton). Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp190-216.
  • Milner, J.M.; Stien, A.; Irvine, R.J.; Albon, S.D.; Langvatn, R.; Ropstad, E. (2003) Body condition in Svalbard reindeer and the use of blood parameters as indicators of condition and fitness., Canadian Journal of Zoology, 81, 1566-1578.
  • Stien, A.; Irvine, R.J.; Ropstad, E.; Halvorsen, O.; Langvatn, R.; Albon, S.D. (2002) The impact of gastrointestinal nematodes on wild reindeer: experimental and cross - sectional studies., Journal of Animal Ecology, 71, 937-945.
  • Stien, A.; Irvine, R.J.; Halvorsen, O.; Langvatn, R.; Albon, S.D. (2002) The population dynamics of Ostertagia gruehneri in reindeer: a model for the seasonal and intensity dependent variation in nematode fecundity., International Journal of Parasitology, 32, 991-996.
  • Dormann, C.F.; Albon, S.D.; Woodin, S.J. (2002) No evidence for adaptation of two Polygonum viviparum morphotypes of different bulbil characteristics to length of growing season: abundance, biomass and germination., Polar Biology, 25, 884-890.
  • Cote, S.D.; Dallas, J.F.; Marshall, F.; Irvine, R.J.; Langvatn, R.; Albon, S.D. (2002) Microsatellite DNA evidence for genetic drift and philopatry in Svalbard reindeer., Molecular Ecology, 11, 1923-1930.
  • Albon, S.D.; Stien, A.; Irvine, R.J.; Langvatn, R.; Ropstad, E.; Halvorsen, O. (2002) The role of parasites in the regulation of a reindeer population., Proceedings of the Royal Society, B, 269, 1625-1632.
  • Schmidt, K.T.; Stien A.; Albon, S.D.; Guinness F.E. (2001) Antler length of yearling red deer is determined by population density, weather and early life-history., Oecologia, 127, 191-197.
  • Irvine, R.J.; Stien, A.; Dallas, J.F.; Halvorsen, O.; Langvatn, R.; Albon, S.D. (2001) Contrasting regulation of fecundity in two abomasal nematodes of Svalbard reindeer (Rangifer tarandus platyrhynchus)., Parasitology, 122, 673-681.
  • Forchammer, M.C.; Clutton-Brock, T.H.; Lindstrom, J.; Albon, S.D. (2001) Climate and population density induce long-term cohort variation in a northern ungulate., Journal of Animal Ecology, 70, 721-729.
  • Coulson, T.N.; Catchpole, E.A.; Albon, S.D.; Morgan, B.J.T.; Pemberton, J.M.; Clutton-Brock, T.H.; Crawley, M.J.; Grenfell, B.T. (2001) Age, sex, density and winter weather, and population crashes in Soay sheep., Science, 292, 1528-1531.
  • Baldi, R.; Albon, S.D.; Elston, D.A. (2001) Guanacos and sheep: evidence for continuing competition in arid Patagonia., Oecologia, 129, 561-570.
  • Dallas, J.F.; Irvine, R.J.; Albon, S.D.; Halvorsen, O. (2000) Identification of females and larvae of Marshallagia marshalli and Ostertagia gruehneri (Nematoda: Ostertaginae) from reindeer on Svalbard by multiplex PCR., International Journal for Parasitology, 30, 863-866.
  • van der Wal, R.; Madan, N.; van Lieshout, S.; Dorman, C.; Langvatn, R.; Albon, S.D. (2000) Trading forage quality for quantity? Plant phenology and patch choice by Svalbard reindeer., Oecologia, 123, 108-115.
  • van der Wal, R.; Irvine, R.J.; Stien, A.; Shepherd, N.; Albon, S.D. (2000) Faecal avoidance and the risk of infection by nematodes in a natural population of reindeer., Oecologia, 124, 19-25.
  • Milner, J.M.; Pemberton, J.M.; Brotherstone, S.; Albon, S.D. (2000) Estimating variance components and heritabilities in the wild: a case study using the `animal model? approach., Journal of Evolutionary Biology, 13, 804-813.
  • Irvine, R.J.; Stien, A.; Halvorsen, O.; Langvatn, R.; Albon, S.D. (2000) Life-history strategies and population dynamics of abomasal nematodes in Svalbard reindeer (Rangifer tarandus platyrhynchus)., Parasitology, 120, 297-311.
  • Dallas, J.F.; Irvine, R.J.; Halvorsen, O.; Albon, S.D. (2000) Identification by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) of Marshallagia marshalli and Ostertagia gruehneri from Svalbard reindeer., International Journal of Parasitology, 30, 863-866.
  • Catchpole, E.A.; Morgan, B.J.T.; Coulson, T.N.; Freeman, S.N.; Albon, S.D. (2000) Factors influencing Soay sheep survival., Applied Statistics, 49, 453-472.
  • Ropstad, E.; Johansen, O.; King, C.; Dahl, E.; Albon, S.D.; Langvatn, R.; Irvine, R.J.; Halvorsen, O.; Sasser, G. (1999) Comparison of plasma progesterone, transrectal ultrasound and pregnancy specific proteins (PSPB) used for pregnancy diagnosis in reindeer., Acta Veterinaria Scandinavia, 40, 151-162.
  • Milner, J.M.; Elston, D.A.; Albon, S.D. (1999) Estimating the contributions of population density and climatic fluctuations to interannual variation in survival of Soay sheep., Journal of Animal Ecology, 68, 1235-1247.
  • Milner, J.M.; Albon, S.D.; Illius, A.W.; Pemberton, J.M.; Clutton-Brock, T.H. (1999) Repeated selection of morphometric traits in the Soay sheep on St Kilda., Journal of Animal Ecology, 68, 472-488.
  • Langvatn, R.; Albon, S.D.; Irvine, R.J.; Halvorsen, O.; Ropstad, E. (1999) Parasitter, kondisjon og reproduksjon hos Svalbardrein in Terrestrisk okologisk forskningsprogram p? Svalbard, Svalbardtundraens Okologi., Parasitter, kondisjon og reproduksjon hos Svalbardrein in Terrestrisk okologisk forskningsprogram p? Svalbard, Svalbardtundraens Okologi (ed. S.A.Bengtson, F. Mehlum and T Severinsen (Redaktorer). Chapter 14, pp139-148.
  • Kruuk, L.E.B.; Clutton-Brock, T.H.; Albon, S.D.; Pemberton, J.M.; Guinness, F.E. (1999) Population density affects sex ratio variation in red deer., Nature, 399, 459-461.
  • Halvorsen, O.; Stien, A.; Irvine, R.J.; Langvatn, R.; Albon, S.D. (1999) Evidence for continued transmission of parasitic nematodes in reindeer during the Arctic winter., International Journal for Parasitology, 29, 567-579.
  • Coulson, T.; Albon, S.D.; Pilkington, J.; Clutton-Brock, T.H. (1999) Small-scale spatial dynamics in a fluctuating ungulate population., Journal of Animal Ecology, 68, 658-671.
  • Coulson, T.; Albon, S.D.; Slate, J.; Pemberton, J. (1999) Microsatellite loci reveal sex-dependent responses to inbreeding and outbreeding in red deer calves., Evolution, 53,1951-1960.
  • Grenfell, B.T.; Wilson, K.; Finkenstadt , B.F.; Coulson, T.N.; Murray, S.; Albon, S.D.; Pemberton, J.M.; Clutton-Brock, T.H.; Crawley, M.J. (1998) Noise and determinism in synchronized sheep dynamics., Nature, 394, 674-677.
  • Coulson, T.N.; Pemberton, J.M.; Albon, S.D.; Beaumont, M.; Marshall, T.C.; Slate, J.; Guinness, F.E.; Clutton-Brock, T.H. (1998) Microsatellites reveal heterosis in red deer., Proceedings of the Royal Society, London, B. 265, 489-495.
  • Coulson,T.N.; Albon, S.D.; Pemberton, J.M.; Slate, J.; Guinness, F.E.; Clutton-Brock ,T.H. (1998) Genotype by environment interactions in winter survival in red deer., Journal of Animal Ecology, 67, 434-445
  • Flint, A.P.F.; Albon, S.D.; Jafar, S.I. (1997) Blastocyst development and conceptus sex selection in red deer Cervus elaphus: Studies of a free-living population on the Isle of Rum., General and Comparative Endocrinology, 106, 374-383.
  • Coulson, T.; Albon, S.D.; Guinness, F.E.; Pemberton, J.; Clutton-Brock, T.H. (1997) Population substructure, local density, and calf winter survival in red deer (Cervus elaphus)., Ecology, 78, 852-863.
  • Clutton-Brock, T.H.; Illius, A.W.; Wilson, K.; Grenfell, B.T.; MacColl, A.D.C.; Albon, S.D. (1997) Stability and instability in ungulate populations: An empirical analysis., American Naturalist, 149, 195-219,
  • Pemberton, J.M.; Smith, J.A.; Coulson, T.N.; Marshall, T.C.; Slate, J.; Paterson, S.; Albon, S.D.; Clutton-Brock, T.H. (1996) The maintenance of genetic polymorphism in small island populations: large mammals in the Hebrides., Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B, Biological Sciences, 351, 745-752.
  • Moorcroft, P.R.; Albon, S.D.; Pemberton, J.M.; Stevenson, I.R.; Clutton-Brock, T.H. (1996) Density-dependent selection in a fluctuating ungulate population., Proceedings of the Royal Society, London, B. 263, 31-38.
  • Langvatn, R.; Albon, S.D.; Burkey, T.; Clutton-Brock, T.H. (1996) Climate, plant phenology and variation in age of first reproduction in a temperate herbivore., Journal of Animal Ecology, 65, 653-670.
  • Read, A.F.; Albon, S.D. et al. (1995) Genetics and evolution of infectious diseases in natural populations., In: Ecology of Infectious Diseases in Natural Populations (eds. BT Grenfell and AP Dobson). Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp450-479.
  • Bancroft, D.R.; Pemberton, J.M.; Albon, S.D.; Robertson, A.; MacColl, A.D.C.; Smith, J.A.; Stevenson, I.R.; Clutton-Brock, T.H. (1995) Molecular-genetic variation and individual survival during population crashes of an unmanaged ungulate population., Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B, Biological Sciences, 347, 263-273.

  • 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. Cambridge: British Ecological Society / Cambridge University Press, 397-426
  • 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.

  • Albon, S.D.; McLeod, J.; Potts, J.; Brewer, M.; Irvine, R.J.; Fraser, D.; Newey, S. (2019) Updating the estimates of natural trends and regional differences in red deer densities on open-hill ground in Scotland., Scottish Natural Heritage Commissioned Research Report, No. 1149, 28pp.
  • Albon, S.D.; Potts, J.M.; Brewer, M.; McLeod, J.; Elston, D.; Irvine, R.J. (2017) Estimating national trends and regional differences in red deer density on open-hill ground in Scotland: identifying the causes of change and consequences for upland habitats., Scottish Natural Heritage Commissioned Report, No. 981, 29pp.
  • Albon, S.; Turner, K.; Watson, R.; Anger, A.; Baker, J.; Bateman, I.; Bentley, S.; Blyth, N.; Bowles-Newark, N.; Brown, C.; Brown, I.; Byrne, J.; Church, A.; Coates, P.; Cowap, C.; Dickie, I.; Elliott, M.; Everard, M.; Gosling, L.; Grayson, N.; Haines-Young, R.; Harrison, P.; Kelly, M.; Kenter, J.; Martin, K.; Maxwell, S.l McCarthy, D.; Mee, L.; Monk, K.; Mortimer, D.; Osborn, D.; Owen, R.; Ranger, S.; Reed, M.; Russel, D.; Scott, A.; Thompson, D.; Tierney, M.; Turner, K.; Waters, R.; Wharfe, J.; Whitbread, T.; Williams, D.; Wilson, B.; Wilson, L. (2014) UK National Ecosystem Assessment Follow-on. Synthesis of the key findings., Report from the UK National Ecosystem Assessment Follow-on Phase.
  • Albon, S.; Balana, B.; Brooker, R.; Eastwood, A. (2014) A systematic evaluation of Scotland's Natural Capital Asset Index., Scottish Natural Heritage Commissioned Report No. 751
  • Eastwood, A.; Nijnik, M.; Brooker, R.; Pakeman, R.J.; Artz, R.R.E.; Norton, L.; Ross, L.; Bullock, J.; Albon, S.; Vellinga, N.; Fielding, D.; Irvine, R.J.; Ramsay, S.; Cooksley, S. (2013) Nature conservation and ecosystem service delivery., Joint Nature Conservancy Council, Contract C12-0170-0635.
  • Brooker, R.; Aalders, I.H.; Ballingall, K.; Begg, G.; Birch, A.N.E.; Elliott, G.; Ellis, C.; Freitag, T.; Hawes, C.; Holland, J.; Holmes, B.; Hough, R.L.; Karley, A.; McCracken, D.; Mitchell, R.; Stockan, J.; Zadoks, R.; Albon, S.A.; Hester, A.J.; Pakeman, R.J. (2013) Biotic and biophysical underpinning of ecosystem services in the Scottish context: a review., Published online as an outputs from WP 1.1 of the Ecosystem Services Theme of the SRP.
  • Albon, S.D.; Armstrong, H.; Ballantyne, S.; Elston, D.; Hooper, R.; Irvine, R.J.; Perez-Barberia, J.; Potts J. (2009) A methodology to describe regional and national deer populations and trends in Scotland., Deer Commission for Scotland RP73.
  • FitzGibbon, C.; Albon, S.D.; Robinson, P. (2005) The effects of a mixed grazing regime on sand dune vegetation communities at Braunton Burrows, Devon., English Nature Research Report, No. 637, 53p.
  • Palmer, S.C.F.; Hester, A.J.; Pakeman, R.J.; Truscott, A-M.; Gordon, I.J.; Albon, S.D. (2003) The development of a moorland scenario model., Scottish Natural Heritage.
  • Coltman, D.W.; Pilkington, J.G.; Albon, S.D.; Amos, W.; Boyd, H.E.G.; Braisher, T.; Clutton-Brock, T.H.; Coulson, T.N.; Crawley, M.J.; Finkenstadt, B.; Gordon, I.J.; Grenfell, B.T.; Illius, A.W.; Milner, I.; Paterson, S.; Pemberton, J.M.; Preston, B.; Tuke. (1999) St Kilda Soay sheep project : annual report 1998., SNH and NTS.

  • Irvine, R.J.; Albon, S.D. (2009) Retreat from the hills: consequences for biodiversity., Forestry Commission and Scottish Natural Heritage, Silvan House Corstorphine, Edinburgh. Drop in poster session.

Scientific Posters / Conferences

Printed from /staff/steve-albon on 25/09/23 06:54:48 AM

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.