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Dr Steven Allain

Lecturer in Animal Science
Faculty of Science and Engineering
Writtle School of Agriculture, Animal and Environmental Sciences
Research Supervision:

Steven is an ecologist, interested in all aspects of the ecology and conservation of amphibians and reptiles. His research has mainly focused on the impact of introduced species and emerging diseases on native species. Steven conducts research abroad as well as within Great Britain, focussing on different research topics regarding herpetofauna.

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Since the beginning of his academic journey at ARU in 2012, Steven has been researching various aspects of the ecology and conservation of native herpetofauna. One of his long-term projects is the monitoring of populations of midwife toads throughout Great Britain, an introduced species that has been present for over a hundred years. Additionally, Steven has conducted research in a number of other countries such as Malaysia and the Netherlands. These projects have helped Steven to gain recognition through his work, but also the opportunity to publish his research in a number of different journals.

Steven recently completed his PhD at the University of Kent, where he won funding from the Natural Environment Research Council to conduct research on the impact of ophidiomycosis in a population of grass snakes in Norfolk. This project helped to strengthen Steven’s approach to collaboration, using a multidisciplinary team in order to help overcome the challenges associated with research. This includes working with other ecologists, wildlife veterinarians, microbiologists and other such specialists.

Research interests
  • Emerging infectious diseases in herpetofauna
  • Introduced species of herpetofauna
  • Survey techniques of herpetofauna
  • Amphibian bioacoustics
  • Population genetics/genomics
Areas of research supervision

Steven welcomes applications from undergraduate and postgraduate students interested in carrying out research projects in those subject areas listed above. Prospective students do not necessarily need a solid research idea or plan – the passion for research and willingness to learn is paramount though.

  • PhD Biodiversity Management, University of Kent
  • MRes Ecology, Evolution and Conservation, Imperial College London
  • BSc (Hons) Zoology, Anglia Ruskin University
Memberships, editorial boards


  • Fellow, the Linnean Society
  • Fellow, Zoological Society of London
  • Trustee, British Herpetological Society
  • Member, British Ecological Society

Editorial boards:

  • Editor, Reptiles and Amphibians
Selected recent publications

Allain, S. J. R., Leech, D. I., Hopkins, K., Seilern-Moy, K., Fernandez, J, R.-R., Griffiths, R. A. and Lawson, B. (2024). Characterisation, prevalence and severity of skin lesions caused by ophidiomycosis in a population of wild snakes. Scientific Reports, 14, 5162.

Robbemont, J., van Veldhuijzen, S., Allain, S. J. R., Ambu, J., Boyle, R., D., Cvijanović, M., Dufresnes., C., Ennis, C., Gandola, R., Jablonski., D., Julian, A., Kranželić, D., Lukanov, S., Martínez-Solano, I., Montgomery, R., Naumov, B., O’Neill, M., North, A., Pabijan, M., Puschendorf., R., Salvi, D., Schmidt, B., Sotiropoulos, K., Stanescu, F., Stanković, D., Stapelton, S., Šunje, E., Szabolcs, M., Vacheva, E., Willis, D., Zimić, A., France, J., Meilink, W. R. M., Stark, T., Struij, R. P. J. H., Theodoropoulos, A., de Visser, M. C. and Wielstra, B. (2023). An extended mtDNA phylogeography for the alpine newt illuminates the provenance of introduced populations. Amphibia-Reptilia, 44(3), 347-361.

Duffus, A. L. J., Hughes, D. F., Kautz, A., Allain, S. J. R. and Meshaka, W. E. (2022). Repeated Sampling Of Wild Individuals Reveals Ophidiomyces ophidiicola Infection Dynamics In A Pennsylvania Snake Assemblage. Journal of Wildlife Diseases, 58(2), 290-297.