Piran White



Piran White holds a Personal Chair and is Deputy Head of Department. He has been at York since 1995, when he was first appointed as a Lecturer. He has held visiting research posts at New South Wales Agriculture (Orange, Australia), AgResearch (Lincoln, New Zealand) and the University of Waikato (Hamilton, New Zealand).  

Piran is Deputy Director of the NERC-funded Biodiversity and Ecosystem Service Sustainability Directorate, a £13m research programme on ecosystem services. He was coordinator of the ESRC transdisciplinary seminar series on coastal wetland ecosystem services and he leads the University of York’s involvement in the Australian-based Co-operative Research Centre on Invasive Animals. 

He is Editor of Wildlife Research journal, and was formerly an Associate Editor of Journal of Animal Ecology. He has served on research assessment panels for the ESRC and NERC, and has acted as an external advisor for Defra and Natural England.

Recent funded research includes:

  • NERC Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services Sustainability (BESS) Directorate (2011-2017, NERC, £1.4m)
  • Participatory action learning for the sustainable resource management (2009-2011, RELU, £75K)
  • Strategies for the eradication of bovine tuberculosis (TB-STEP).  (2008-2012, European Union FP7, €2m)
  • Coastal wetland ecosystem services (2007-2010, ESRC, £22K)
  • Open Air Laboratories (OPAL) (2007-2012, Big Lottery Fund, £350K)
  • Marine biodiversity-ecosystem processes under uncertain futures (2007-2010, NERC, £380K)

Please note that Piran's office has moved - he is now in V/X/030 in Grimston House


  • Personal chair and Deputy Head of Department, Environment Department, University of York
  • Reader University of York, Environment Department
  • PhD Bristol
  • BSc East Anglia 



Piran has a wide range of research interests focused on two main areas:

(1) wildlife ecology, management and disease; and

(2) biodiversity, ecosystem functions and ecosystem services.


Current Funded Projects

2011  Raffaelli, D. & White, P.C.L. 2011. NERC Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services Sustainability Directorate. NERC, £1.4m. 
2010  Raffaelli, D. & White, P.C.L. 2010.  An inventory of activities, disturbances and associated risks at the Teesmouth and Cleveland Coast European Marine Site.  Natural England, £18,090. 
2010  Irvine, J., White, P.C.L., van der Wal, R., White, R.M. & Mayle, B. 2010. Building capacity through participatory action learning for the implementation of sustainable natural resource management. UK Research Councils RELU programme, £75,000.
2008  Aranaz, A., White, P.C.L. et al. 2008.  Strategies for the eradication of bovine tuberculosis (TB-STEP).  European Union FP7. €2,894,759.

Current Research Students 

  • Adam Hejnowicz (ESRC/NERC, October 2011) An ecosystem services-based approach to landscape management in the uplands.
  • Katherine Simpson (Natural England, July 2010) An inventory of activities, disturbances and associated risks at the Teesmouth and Cleveland Coast European Marine Site.
  • Laura Carter (EU WildTech, August 2010) Designing efficient surveillance strategies for wildlife disease.
  • Sarah West (OPAL, January 2010). Evaluation of environmental education projects.
  • Joana Cruz (FCT, Portugal, January 2010). Biodiversity conservation in eucalypt plantations in Portugal.
  • Kirsty Hughes (Defra/SAC, September 2009). Transmission of Escherichia coli O157 in cattle.
  • Catherine Lutton (ESRC/NERC studentship, October 2009). An integrative approach to the management of bovine TB in mixed livestock-wildlife host systems in Spain.
  • Naomi Fox (SAC, March 2009). Climate change and disease risk.
  • Jamie Prentice (EU TB-Step project, October 2008). Modelling the perturbation effect in the control of wildlife disease.
  • John Tracey (Invasive Animals CRC, October 2008). Economic impacts of invasive birds in Australia.
  • Joanne Hardstaff (EU TB-Step project, July 2008). Ecology and management of bovine TB in Europe.
  • Sal Hobbs (OPAL project, July 2008). Community participation in biodiversity monitoring.
  • Adriana Ford (Economic and Social Research Council and Invasive Animals CRC, 2007).  Community participation in deer management in Australia. 
  • James Milner (Commonwealth Scholarship, 2005).  The use of wildlife resources for sustainable development in Malawi.


Previous Research Grants

 2010 Raffaelli, D. & White, P.C.L. 2010.  Developing an Ecosystem Approach for the Yorkshire and Humber Integrated Regional Strategy.  Yorkshire Futures. £22,700.
2007 White, P.C.L. 2007. Community participation in deer management: a case study of Rusa deer in Royal National park, Australia. PhD studentship, Invasive Animals Co-operative Research Centre (Australia), £25,000 (AUS$55,000).
2007 White, P.C.L. et al. 2007.  Coastal wetland ecosystem services.  ESRC interdisciplinary seminar series, £22,242.
2007-2010 Solan, M., Raffaelli, D., Paterson, D. & White, P.C.L. 2007-2010. Marine biodiversity-ecosystem processes under uncertain environmental futures.  NERC, £380,663
2007-2009 Huby, M., Cinderby, S. & White, P.C.L.  Social and environmental inequalities in rural areas.  UK Research Councils RELU programme, £278,660.
2006-2007 Raffaelli, D., White, P.C.L., Smart, J.C. & Ashmore, M. England’s terrestrial ecosystem services and the rationale for an ecosystem-based approach.  A joint project between ADAS, University of Nottingham and University of York.  Defra, £17,300.
2006-2009 McLeod, S. White, P.C.L. & Hutchings, M.R.  Causes of local variation in the impact of RHDV.  National Feral Animal Control Program (Australia), £16,132 (AUS$40,000)
2006-2009 White, P.C.L. & McLeod, S. Factors affecting the success of Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease Virus in Australia.  PhD studentship, Invasive Animals Co-operative Research Centre (Australia), £27,828 (AUS$69,000).
2006-2009 Irvine, J., Macmillan, D., Mayle, B., Richards, C., Van der Wal, R. & White, P.C.L. Collaborative frameworks in land management: a case study on integrated deer management. A joint project between the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH), Forest Research, the Macaulay Institute, the University of Aberdeen and the University of York, led by CEH.  UK Research Councils RELU programme, £597,854. (University of York: £62,980).
2005-2008 Irvine, J. et al. Developing methodologies for assessing the diffuse impacts of deer.  SEERAD, £59,763.
2005-2012 Saunders, G. et al. Australasian Invasive Animal Co-operative Research Centre.  University of York is a full member of this CRC.  Australian Government Department of Education, Science and Training, AUS$30m
2004 Ji, W., White, P.C.L., Delahay, R. & Hutchings, M.R.  Measuring interactions between badger individuals and groups using novel proximity data loggers.  British Ecological Society, £1500.
2004-2005 White, P.C.L., McClean, C.J., Raffaelli, D.G., Moran, D., Harris, S. & Gillings, S.  Integrating spatial data on the rural economy, land use and biodiversity.  A Development Activity award between the University of York, Scottish Agricultural College, University of Bristol and British Trust for Ornithology, led by the University of York.  UK Research Councils RELU programme, £18,364.
2004 Raffaelli, D.G., White, P.C.L. & Perrings, C.A.  RELU: the international context.  A Development Activity award within the UK Research Councils RELU programme, £17,234.
2004 White, P.C.L., Smart, J.C.R., Ward, A.I. & Moore, N.  Impacts of deer and deer management on woodland biodiversity in the English lowlands: a literature review and assessment of research needs.  A collaborative project between the University of York and Central Science Laboratory, led by the University of York.  The Woodland Trust, £7,614.
2004-2007 White, P.C.L. & Raffaelli, D.G.  Biodiversity-ecosystem processes in heterogeneous environments, Natural Environment Research Council, £324,928.  A collaborative project between the Universities of York (Piran White & Dave Raffaelli), Aberdeen (Graham Pierce) and St. Andrews (David Paterson), led by the University of York (£171,394). 
2003-2004 Raffaelli, D.G., White, P.C.L. & Perrings, C.A.  The future of healthy ecosystems, A collaborative project with Central Science Laboratory, led by the University of York.  Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, £51,432. 


Previous Research Students

  • Tsuyuko Yamanaka (self-funded, 2007).  Estuarine biodiversity and climate change.
  • Jessica Wiegand (Economic and Social Research Council, 2006).  Ecosystem health, ecosystem services and sustainability indicators.
  • Maija Marsh (Australian Invasive Animals Co-operative Research Centre and University of York, 2006).  Social organisation of rabbits and the impact of Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease Virus.
  • Irene di Vittorio (International Program in Economics, 2005).  The management of wild ungulates in San Rossore National Park, Tuscany. PhD awarded 2009.
  • Zoë Austin (Natural Environment Research Council, 2005).  The impact of deer on woodland biodiversity. PhD awarded 2009.
  • Helen Laycock (Natural Environment Research Council/Economic and Social Research Council, 2004).  Valuing biodiversity gains. PhD awarded 2008.
  • Lesley Smith (Scottish Agricultural College, 2004). Effects of farming system on the disease risks to grazing animals. PhD awarded 2007.
  • Emily Goodman (Natural Environment Research Council/Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, 2003). Contact patterns and processes in territorial mammals. PhD awarded 2007.
  • Monika Böhm (University of York/Scottish Agricultural College, 2003, PhD awarded 2007). Multiple reservoirs of wildlife disease and the risks to livestock.
  • Andrew Marshall (Natural Environment Research Council, 2003, PhD awarded 2007). Effects of habitat degradation on interspecific aggregations in forest monkeys.
  • Kate Palphramand (University of York, 2001, PhD awarded 2005). Scent-marking in a moderate density badger population: neighbour recognition patterns across landscapes.
  • Jo Judge (Scottish Executive Environment and Rural Affairs, 2002, PhD awarded 2005). Modelling paratuberculosis in rabbits and cattle.
  • Jim Smart (Economic and Social Research Council/Natural Environment Research Council, 1999, PhD awarded 2004).  Conflicts of interest surrounding the management of red deer in Scotland.
  • Amy Hall (States of Jersey Education, 1998, PhD awarded 2004).  Animal movement patterns and landscape change.
  • Geraldine Newton-Cross (Various, 2000, PhD awarded 2003).  Environmental influences on badger distribution and ecology at different scales.
  • Nicola Dennis (Central Science Laboratory, 1999, part-time, withdrawn 2005).  Control of rabbit damage on agricultural crops.
  • Melinda Acutt (University of Lancaster, 1995, part-time, PhD awarded 2003).  Biodiversity in agriculture.
  • Michael Pocock (Humberside Wastewise, 1997, DPhil awarded 2001).  Agricultural wildlife and disease transmission.
  • Rebecca Moberly (Royal Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, 1999, PhD awarded 2002). The fox in Britain: an economic analysis of costs and benefits.
  • Alastair Ward (University or York/Forest Enterprise, 1997, DPhil awarded 2001).  Impacts of roe deer on forestry in the North York Moors.
  • Alex Lewis (University of York, 1996, DPhil awarded 1999).  Habitat fragmentation and genetic structure of small mammal populations.
  • Deborah Kirby (Natural Environment Research Council, 1996, DPhil awarded 2000).  Biodiversity, stability and resilience in upland agro-ecosystems.
  • Mark Cox (Natural Environment Research Council, 1996, DPhil awarded 1999).  Ecological economics of wildlife disease control.
  • Adrian Seymour (IFAW, 1995, registered at University of Bristol, PhD awarded 1999).  The impact of fox predation on ground-nesting birds.
White, Piran 

Contact details

Prof. Piran White
Environment Department
University of York
YO10 5DD

Tel: 01904 324062
Fax: 01904 322998




  • Environmental Policy: from global to local (ENV00008C)
  • Wildlife Conservation and Management (2530024)


  • Wildlife Management (2580043)
  • Environment, law and policy (2580052)

External activities


  • Member, ESRC Peer Review College 2010-2012
  • Member, ESPA review panel, 2010
  • Member, NERC Peer Review College, 2007-2009
  • Member of ESRC/NERC/BBSRC Rural Economy and Land Use (RELU) Scoping Studies and Capacity Building Awards Assessment Panel, 2004
  • Reviewer for NERC Centre of Hydrology and Ecology Core Strategic Programme 2005-2010
  • Council Member, The Mammal Society, 2003-2008

Editorial duties

  • Editor, Wildlife Research, 2009 on
  • Associate Editor, Journal of Animal Ecology, 2006-2008
  • Member, International Editorial Board for Australian-based Wildlife Research journal, 2006 on
  • Editor, Theme Section of Marine Ecology Progress Series on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Function, 2006
  • Editor, Special issue of Wildlife Research on Invasive Species, 2007
  • Editor, Special issue of Mammal Review on Wild Mammals and the Human Food Chain, 2008

Visiting Research Posts

  • Department of Agriculture and Food, Ireland. September 2005.
  • University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. October-November 2001.
  • AgResearch, New Zealand. April-May 1999.
  • NSW Agriculture, Australia.  May-July 1999.

Invited talks and conferences

  • Defra workshop on Securing Regional Growth within Environmental Limits, London, March 2010.
  • Invited to participate in Natural England Expert Panel workshop on the Character and Quality of England’s Landscapes, March 2010
  • Invited participant in Natural England Ecosystem Service Pilots Science Advisory Workshop, Peterborough, January 2010.
  • RELU seminar series on human-animal interactions, Bristol, December 2009.
  • Mammal Society symposium on human-wildlife conflicts, London, November 2009.
  • RELU conference on data management, London, November 2009.
  • ESRC Framing Ecosystem Services and Health conference, London, September 2009.
  • Rural Commissioners - invited special presentation on inequalities, London, April 2009.
  • EU FP7 workshop on bovine tuberculosis in Europe (TB-STEOP programme). Madrid, March 2008.