Stephanie Brittain



My career so far spans the academic, the third sector, advocacy and policy sectors. 

My interest in the relationship between people and the natural environment led me to study Geography as an undergraduate, then work for several years in an environmental sustainability NGO that supported the work of grassroots projects across London. I also ran an environmental and skills based training programme for vulnerable 16-25 year olds.

My field experience has focused on the use of social science methods to gather data on natural resource consumption patterns in South-East Asia and Central Africa. My MSc research project in Cameroon that sought to combine Local Ecological Knowledge with occupancy analysis to monitor the distribution and threats to forest elephants. Read my paper in Oryx here

Following my MSc, I worked for an advocacy group that sought to promote sustainable agricultural practices in sub-Saharan Africa, before return to academia for my PhD with ICCS. I’m so proud to be part of diverse group such as ICCS and help tackle some of the major issues affecting conservation and biodiversity.


I am interested in the relationship between people and the environment and the need for accurate and cost effective monitoring methods. I am particularly interested in the use of social science for conservation as I believe the resource needs and ecological knowledge of local people should be understood and incorporated into conservation research if subsequent interventions are to be effective and sustainable. 


This research aims to gain a better understanding of the role and implications of different sources and types of uncertainty when using local ecological knowledge for wildlife population monitoring, using interview-based occupancy analysis of bushmeat species and threats in a protected area (the Dja Faunal Reserve) in Cameroon as a case study. 

I will: 1) investigate how interview-based occupancy analysis is affected by different types of uncertainty/bias within the case study; 2) Explore the trade-offs between cost, precision and accuracy when using interview-based occupancy analysis; 3) Quantify the status of, and threats to, hunted species in the Dja region, using interview-based occupancy analysis as a method and 4) Identify barriers to and the potential for the successful implementation of interview-based occupancy analysis for population monitoring in the Dja region and more broadly.

Learn about my Postdoctoral research here

Visit my PhD project page here


This PhD is supervised by Professor EJ Milner-Gulland (University of Oxford), Marcus Rowcliffe (Institute of Zoology), Nathalie Pettorelli (Institute of Zoology), Paul De Ornellas (Zoological Society London).

Project is funded by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC CASE).


  • 2015-present: PhD Student, University of Oxford
  • 2014- 2015: Project & Communications Officer, Agriculture for Impact. Centre for Environmental Policy, Imperial College London
  • 2013: Independent Research, Imperial College London and Zoological Society London. “Rapid assessment of the status and distribution of the Forest Elephant (Loxodonta cyclotis) in South East Cameroon”
  • 2013- Present: Freelance Ecology Fieldwork Assistant (Various across the UK)
  • 2012-2013: Conservation Science MSc, Imperial College London. With Distinction and awarded the Gerald Durrell Prize.
  • 2012: Research Assistant, Frontier Cambodia. “Livelihoods and sustainable resource use in Kulen Promtep Wildlife Sanctuary”.
  • 2009- 2012: Project Executive, London Community Resource Network
  • 2006- 2009: Geography BSc, Queen Mary University of London. Awarded 2.1 (Hons)


  • 2015: WildCRU “Robust Wildlife Population Monitoring under Challenging Conditions”
  • 2015: Institute of Zoology (IoZ) student conference “Robust Wildlife Population Monitoring under Challenging Conditions”
  • 2014: Zoological Society London (ZSL) “Rapid assessment of the status and distribution of the Forest Elephant” 


  • 2015: NERC CASE Studentship 
  • 2013: Gerald Durrell Prize – Prize awarded for the quality of my thesis research during my Conservation Science MSc
  • 2012: Rectors Scholarship– Studentship awarded based on previous experience, achievements and dedication to conservation


Royal Geographical Society 

Rufford Small Grant 

Jana Robust Trust Fund 


  • 2015: 27th International Congress for Conservation Biology, Montpellier France. “Noticing the Elephant in the Forest” Poster presentation.
  • 2014: Student Conference for Conservation Science, Cambridge England. “Noticing the Elephant in the Forest” Poster presentation.


Member of the British Ecological Society
Member of the Royal Geographical Society

Ibbett H, & Brittain S, 2019. Conservation publications and their provisions to protect research participants. Conservation Biology.