Dr Becki Lawson
Institute Research Fellow and Wildlife Veterinarian
2012-Present: Institute Research Fellow and Wildlife Veterinarian, Institute of Zoology.
2010-2012: Postdoctoral Research Assistant and Wildlife Veterinarian, Institute of Zoology.
2004-2010: Wildlife Veterinarian and PhD Student, Institute of Zoology.
2010: European Veterinary Specialist in Zoological Medicine (Dip ECZM Wildlife Population Health).
2003-2004: Veterinary Assistant Pathologist; Wildlife Veterinary Investigation Centre.
2002-2003: Seal Strandings Co-ordinator; Institute of Zoology.
2001-2002: Veterinary Editor; Wildlife Information Network.
2000-2001: Veterinarian; Orangutan Care & Quarantine Centre, Orangutan Foundation International, Central Kalimantan, Indonesia.
1999-2000: MSc Wild Animal Health; Institute of Zoology & Royal Veterinary College.
1997-1999: RSPCA Wildlife Internship; RSPCA West Hatch Taunton, Somerset.
1991-1997: MA VetMB; St John’s College Cambridge University.
Member, Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons.
My main area of interest is the study of disease effects on free-ranging wildlife populations, particularly where these pathogens have significant welfare or conservation implications, and assessment of wildlife population health. I am also interested in the epidemiology of disease transmission between free-ranging wildlife, domestic animals and humans, and the role which anthropogenic activity may have on influencing these processes.
My background relates principally to British native species, including clinical management of avian and mammalian wildlife casualties; co-ordination of scientific investigation into a wildlife epizootic (phocine distemper virus in UK seal populations, avian pox in British tit species); study of pathogens associated with population declines (squirrelpox virus in the red squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris), trichomonosis in British finches); and longitudinal pathological studies of native species for assessment of population health and related threats (European otter (Lutra lutra), birds of prey, bats, garden birds).
Garden Wildlife Health (GWH)
Garden Wildlife Health is a collaborative project between the Zoological Society of London (ZSL), the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO), Froglife and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) which aims to monitor the health of, and identify disease threats to, British wildlife. Our particular focus is on garden birds, amphibians, reptiles and hedgehogs. For this we count on the help of the public to submit reports of sick or dead wildlife and to submit samples for analysis.
For further information on the GWH, see here .
Garden Bird Health initiative (GBHi)
I acted as project co-ordinator for the Garden Bird Health initiative from 2005-2012. This was a highly collaborative project to investigate causes of garden bird mortality and disease across Great Britain. Garden bird disease surveillance continues as part of the Garden Wildlife Health project, launched in summer 2013 (see above).
For further information on the GBHi, see link
Addressing a threat to Caribbean amphibians: capacity building in Dominica
I assisted Andrew Cunningham with co-ordination and implementation of a three-year Darwin Initiative-funded project, April 2005 – March 2008.
For further information, see link
Chi, J., Lawson, B., Durrant, C., Beckmann, K., John, S., Fahad, A., Kirkbirde, K., Bell, D., Cunningham, A.A., Tyler, T. (2013) The finch epidemic strain of Trichomonas gallinae is predominant in British non-passerines. Parasitology 140: 1234-1245. doi: 10.1017/S0031182013000930
Blackburn, T.M., Monroe, M.J., Lawson, B., Cassey, P., Ewen, J.G. (2013) Body size changes in passerine birds introduced to New Zealand from the UK. NeoBiota 17: 1–18. doi: 10.3897/neobiota.17.4841.
Horton, D., Lawson, B., Egbetade, A., Jeffries, C., Johnson, N., Cunningham, A.A., Fooks, A.R. (2013) Targeted surveillance for Usutu virus in British birds (2005-2011). Veterinary Record 172: 17.
Lawson, B., Lachish, S., Colvile, K.M., Durrant, C., Peck, K.M., Toms, M.P., Sheldon, B.C., Cunningham, A.A. (2012) Emergence of a novel avian pox disease in British tit species. PLOS ONE 7(11): e40176. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0040176 .
Lachish, S., Lawson, B., Cunningham, A.A., Sheldon, B.C. (2012) Epidemiology of the emergent disease Paridae pox in an intensively studied wild bird population. PLOS ONE 7(11): e38316. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0038316 .
Lachish, S., Bonsall, M.B., Lawson, B., Cunningham, A.A., Sheldon, B.C. (2012) Individual and population-level impacts of an emerging poxvirus disease in a wild population of great tits. PLOS ONE 7(11): e48545. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0048545
Lawson, B., Robinson R.A., Colvile K.M., Peck K.M., Chantrey J., Pennycott T.W., Simpson, V.R., Toms, M.P., Cunningham, A.A. (2012) The emergence and spread of finch trichomonosis in the British Isles. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B 367: 2852-2863 doi:10.1098/rstb.2012.0130.
Colvile, K.M., Lawson, B., Pocknell, A.M., Dagleish, M.P., John, S.K., Cunningham, A.A. (2012) Chlamydiosis in British songbirds. Veterinary Record 171:177 doi: 10.1136/vr.100506.
Lawson, B., Robinson, R.A., Neimanis, A., Handeland, K., Isomursu, M., Agren, E.O., Hamnes, I.S., Tyler, K.M., Chantrey, J., Hughes, L.A., Pennycott, T.W., Simpson, V.R., John, S.K., Peck, K.M., Toms, M.P., Bennett, M., Kirkwood, J.K., Cunningham, A.A. (2011) Evidence of spread of the emerging infectious disease finch trichomonosis, by migrating birds. Ecohealth 8(2): 143-153. doi: 10.1007/s10393-011-0696-8.
Lawson, B., Cunningham, A., Chantrey, J., Hughes, L.A., John, S.K., Bunbury, N., Bell, D.J., Tyler, K.M. (2011) A clonal strain of Trichomonas gallinae is the aetiologic agent of an emerging avian epidemic disease. Infection Genetics and Evolution 11: 1638-1645. doi:10.1016/j.meegid.2011.06.007.
Lawson, B., Hughes, L.A., Peters, T., de Pinna, E., John, S.K., Macgregor, S.K. and Cunningham, A.A. (2011) Pulsed-field gel electrophoresis supports the presence of host-adapted Salmonella enterica subsp. enterica Serovar Typhimurium strains in the British garden bird population. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 77(22): 8139-8144.
Simpson, V.R., Tomlinson, A.J., Molenaar, F.M., Lawson, B., Rogers, K.D. (2011) Renal calculi in wild Eurasian otters (Lutra lutra) in England. Veterinary Record 2011:169. doi:10.1136/vr.d1929.
Lawson, B., Malnick, H., Pennycott, T.W., Macgregor, S.K., John, S.K., Duncan, G., Hughes, L.A., Chantrey, J., Cunningham, A.A. (2011) Acute necrotising pneumonitis associated with Suttonella ornithocola infection in tits (Paridae). The Veterinary Journal 188: 96-100. doi:10.1016/j.tvjl.2010.03.010.
Lawson, B., Howard, T., Kirkwood, J.K., Macgregor, S.K., Perkins, M., Robinson, R.A., Ward, L.W., Cunningham, A.A. (2010) The epidemiology of salmonellosis in garden birds in England and Wales, 1993 to 2003. Ecohealth 7(3): 294-306.
Robinson, R.A., Lawson, B., Toms, M.P., Peck, K.M., Kirkwood, J.K., et al. (2010) Emerging Infectious Disease Leads to Rapid Population Declines of Common British Birds. PLOS ONE 5(8): e12215. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0012215 .
Hughes, L.A., Shopland, S., Wigley, P., Bradon, H., Leatherbarrow, A.H., Williams, N.J., Bennett, M., DePinna, E., Lawson, B., Cunningham, A.A. and Chantrey, J. (2008) Characterisation of Salmonella enterica serotype Typhimurium isolates from wild birds in northern England from 2005-2006. BMC Veterinary Research 4. doi: 10.1186/1746-6148-4-4.
Sainsbury, A.W., Deaville, R., Lawson, B., Cooley, W.A., Farelly, S.S.J., Stack, M.J., Duff, D.P., McInnes. C.J., Gurnell, J., Russell, P.H., Rushton, S.P., Pfeiffer, D.U., Nettleton, P., Lurz, P.W.W. (2008) Poxviral disease in red squirrels Sciurus vulgaris in the UK: spatial and temporal trends of an emerging threat. Ecohealth 5(3): 305-316.
Lawson, B., Cunningham, A., Chantry, J., Hughes, L., Kirkwood, J., Pennycott, T. and Simpson, V. (2006) Epidemic finch mortality. Veterinary Record 159: 367.
Lawson, B., Macdonald, S., Howard, T., Macgregor, S.K. and Cunningham, A.A. (2006) Exposure of garden birds to aflatoxins in Britain. Science of the Total Environment 361: 124-131.
Lawson, B., Garriga, R. and Galdikas, B.M.F. (2006) Airsacculitis in fourteen juvenile southern Bornean orangutans (Pongo pymaeus wurmbii). Journal of Medical Primatology 35: 149-154.
Barnett, J., Jepson, P. and Lawson, B. (2006) Letter - Save the whale? Veterinary Record 158(7): 247-248.
Lawson, B. (2005) Book review - The Mycotoxin Blue Book (edited by D Diaz, Nottingham University Press). Animal Welfare 15(1): 80-81.
Pennycott, T., Lawson, B., Cunningham, A., Simpson, V., Chantrey, J. (2005) Necrotic ingluvitis in wild finches. Veterinary Record 157(12): 360.
Cunningham, A.A., Lawson, B., Bennett, M., Chantrey, J., Kirkwood, J.K., Pennycott, T.W. and Simpson, V. (2005) Garden bird health. Veterinary Record 156: 656-656.
Project Reports & Theses:
"Endemic and emerging diseases of British garden birds", PhD thesis.
Lawson, B & Jepson, P. (2003) UK Phocine Distemper Virus Epizootic Investigation Report 2002/2003, conducted for Defra.
Lawson, B. (2000) The geographical distribution, natural history and pathology of parapoxvirus disease in red squirrels (Sciurus vulgaris) in the UK, Institute of Zoology, MSc Thesis.
T: 020 7449 6677 (Direct line)
F: 020 7483 2237
Institute of Zoology
Zoological Society of London
London, United Kingdom
Garden Wildlife Health Reporting Line: 020 7449 6685