Tom Major

Dr Tom Major

  • tmajor at bournemouth dot ac dot uk
  • Post-Doctoral Research Fellow in Animal Biotelemetry
  • Christchurch House room C124
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I am an ecologist and herpetologist interested in the wild behaviour of animals, especially reptiles. For my PhD at Bangor University, I conducted a detailed study into the ecology of Aesculapian snakes, a European species introduced twice to the UK. This study determined habitat preferences and seasonal movement behaviours of Welsh snakes using radio-telemetry. Additionally, we assembled a whole-genome sequence for the Aesculapian snake. Using this genome in conjunction with modern genetic analytical approaches, we determined the origins of introduced populations and the genetic health of both native and introduced populations.

My current research involves investigating the decision making and activities of animals using animal-borne sensors, including GPS transmitters and radio transmitters. I am working on projects investigating various aspects of the ecology of nightjars, eagles, and cattle, as well as native UK snakes. I am also interested in taxonomy, social behaviour of under-studied animal groups, genomics, and non-native species.

Journal Articles

  • Major, T., Bracegirdle, R., Gandini, A., Limia Russel, G., Pozzi, A.V., Morgan, R., Mulley, J.F. and Wüster, W., 2023. Mate today, gone tomorrow: male-on-female cannibalism in Zamenis longissimus (Laurenti, 1768) in North Wales. Herpetology Notes.
  • Major, T., Renk, P., Reissig, J., Paijmans, J.L.A., Morris, E., Hofreiter, M., Barlow, A., Broadley, D.G. and Wüster, W., 2023. Museum DNA reveals a new, potentially extinct species of rinkhals (Serpentes: Elapidae: Hemachatus) from the Eastern Highlands of Zimbabwe. PLoS One, 18 (9), e0291432.
  • Major, T., Alkins, D., Jeffrey, L. and Wüster, W., 2020. Marking the un-markable: visible implant elastomer in wild juvenile snakes. Herpetological Journal, 30 (3), 173-176.
  • Callen, A., Major, T. et al., 2020. Envisioning the future with ‘compassionate conservation’: An ominous projection for native wildlife and biodiversity. Biological Conservation, 241 (108365).
  • Hawyard, M.W., Major, T. et al., 2019. Deconstructing compassionate conservation. Conservation Biology, 33 (4), 760-768.
  • Strine, C., Brown, A., Barnes, C., Major, T., Artchawakom, T., Hill, J. and Suwanwaree, P., 2018. Arboreal mating behaviors of the big-eyed green pit viper (Trimeresurus macrops) in Northeast Thailand (Reptilia: Viperidae). Current Herpetology, 37 (1), 81-87.
  • Major, T., Knierim, T., Barnes, C., Lonsdale, G., Waengsothorn, S. and Strine, C., 2017. Observations of Arboreality in a Burrowing Frog, the Banded Bullfrog, Kaloula pulchra (Amphibia: Anura: Microhylidae). Current herpetology, 36 (2), 148-152.

Public Engagement & Outreach Activities

  • Co-host of the Herpetological Highlights podcast, a science communication podcast about the science of reptiles and amphibians.